Whatever Happened to Greatness?

They say being in the presence of greatness is something palpable. You can feel it in your bones and in every fiber of your being. Now I’m not sure who “they” are but I can’t help but feel like they’re onto something.

Me? I’ve never been great. I’m not even claiming to be great now. Hell, I can’t even imagine trying for greatness, but I don’t want to go too far and say something I can’t take back. It’d be a nice thing to be great or to do something great or even to think something great and put it to paper.

That’s how desperate we are for great ideas, that I’d be content to even think one. The trouble is, they’re harder to think than they seem to be achieve. I’m not saying it’s easy to achieve greatness, but it’s probably a lot simpler AFTER you’ve come up with a plan for world peace or alternative energy.

But like I said, I’m not great. It’s something I’ve lived with everyday so after 22 years, it’s something that I’ve come to terms with. No, this isn’t a plea for self-pity, because as I write this, I think about the people that I’m putting this out to and how most of us are in the same boat. Greatness isn’t an easy thing to come by (even though our parents and teachers also tell us that we’re “special”)… that’s probably what makes it so “great”.

Still, I can’t help but wonder, is this notion, this idea of greatness even alive in us anymore? Sure we all want it (but the very point of it is that we can’t ALL have it) but what are we doing about it? Is anyone even actively seeking it? You don’t hear a whole lot of stories on the news or from friends that seem to suggest that it’s something most of us even try for anymore.

The fact is, we live in the day and age of mediocrity. Being able to get by, nothing more and nothing less, is our claim to fame these days. I can’t sound accusatory though, because I suffer this affliction just like everybody else. Even our products for mass consumption, the movies we see, the books we read, etc. are far from special. I mean, look at some of the best selling books recently. The Twilight Saga (no, I’m not just picking on Twilight fans because I dislike the series) is mediocre at best. The story has been done before and the writing itself is atrocious (picture a middle-aged woman writing fan fic and you’ve got the basic grammatical structure of one of these books).

Our society has given way to pop culture over true talent. It’s hard to believe that any of the Twilight books would’ve made such a huge splash had we not lived in society where pop culture was revered (especially as the vampire craze took hold). The sad truth of the matter is we cashed in on the idea of greatness in exchange for something far less.

Once again, I can’t make it clear enough that I’m not exempt. Maybe it isn’t Twilight, but I have plenty of vices that render me a victim of our pop-culture driven society. Still, I’d like to think that someone out there (and hopefully not just me) is questioning tjis concept of greatness. maybe they can offer some answers on when we sold out and where we go from here.


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