Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Vainglory, The Fab Five and Our Skewed Sense of Perspective


Vainglory is alive and well. Not many people know the word, but it has seemingly become the obsession of choice in the culture today. It used to be one of the eight sinful motivations before they became the seven deadly sins. It is closely related to pride, into which it was absorbed when the list was shrunk. It is basically a desire for fame, a wish to make one’s name great. It is what drives people to do absolutely anything for fifteen minutes of fame.

The recent documentary about the early nineties Michigan basketball players known as the “Fab Five” is a perfect illustration of the predominance of this attitude in the current generation. A team that made it to the Final Four two years in a row but never won, they are—in their own eyes—the best team that has ever existed. They are a textbook case of people who value fame over any accomplishment.

This is an attitude that is pervasive throughout the culture today. Accomplishments and successes are secondary to recognition or even notoriety. Who cares if you can do? What is more important is to be able to talk, present a well polished image, message or brand, and be as widely recognized as possible. It is not even important to be able to back your message up with experience or results—a good power-point presentation or a flashy video is much better.

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