No idols

“Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.” – Albert Einstein

If I asked all of you to make a list of the ten people who should be idolized due to their tremendous accomplishments and impact on the human race, I’m willing to bet many of you would put Einstein on your list.  Yet he emphasizes that no man should be idolized.  Your list of idols should not have him (or anyone else) on it.

Einstein’s quote really resonated with me when I first read it several years ago, and it remains fresh in my mind today.  Read over it a few times and accept all of its implications.  Idolizing anyone, to any degree, makes it impossible for you to treat them as a person.  It makes it impossible to be a humanist.

There are people in this world that I have profound respect for; people who consistently leave me in a state of awe when I read their books, hear them speak, or look upon their art.  But my hand wouldn’t tremble if I met any of them in-person.  I’m not interested in our differences (at first); I’m more interested in seeing if they’re genuinely good people or not.

When you’re only exposed to someone’s positive attributes, it’s very easy to build them up in your head.  But your imagination is reckless.  Extremely talented individuals, no matter how incredible they are in their particular field, are always deficient in others.

In other words: everyone’s human. Develop the ability to appreciate every person you meet — just don’t ever put any of them on a pedestal.

4 comments on “No idols

  1. See, I told you I bookmarked your site!

    I just read this article and have to agree with you. That is a great quote from Albert Einstein. If we respect others, rather than idolizing them, we can learn a great deal more from them. I have a huge list of people that I greatly respect for their accomplishments, and I have learned so much from what they have done.

    I’m not sure where I was going with this… Maybe I’m just jealous because I don’t have a bunch of groupies running around telling me how awesome the theory of relativity is…

  2. I agree, by putting somebody on a pedestal you’re not only attributing unrealistic qualities to that person, but your also diminishing your sense of self at the same time. Everyone is human, and by remembering that I think people would gain a lot more knowledge because they would be open to more ideas from more people.

  3. Good point. You unknowingly cut yourself down whenever you mentally put someone else up at an unrealistic level. Granted, there are a lot of phenomenally talented people out there, but they’re just that — people. And all of the good ones will appreciate you more when you treat them as such.

    This applies to everyone: geniuses, beautiful women, celebrities, etc.

  4. Pingback: What I’ve been doing « Hoehn’s Musings

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