The Fascination With Celebrity - A Spiritual View


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Our daily lives are filled with multiple choices that determine what we do.

We could choose to spend our time learning about the advances that science has made in discerning what is happening with our oceans and glaciers as a result of global warming; or in the prediction of weather patterns; or in the discovery of genetic coding for a variety of diseases; or in the expanding view of space that lies beyond our own galaxy.

We could learn another language, since most Americans, as compared to Europeans and others, know only one language, not two.

We could become absorbed in our own creative pursuits – we could write a play, learn to sing, or extend ourselves in whatever directions our creative capacities take us.

Most importantly, we could, from the time we are little, recognize that our inner life is as important as our outer life, for we are spiritual beings with a calling to be such upon the earth, and we need to pay attention to the inner world which shapes everything that happens outside ourselves.

Instead, we, as a society, pay attention to the latest scandal. To the latest marriage or break-up of Hollywood's media stars. We pay attention to those whose lives we imagine without knowing, because we want to imagine and because we need to imagine. We study everything about them – who they associate with, where they vacation, what they eat, what they wear, what they say they believe in. We live their lives within our own, often instead of living our own life more deeply.

To think that this happens as a current of popular interest because extensive media coverage has made such a perspective available to us is only part of the truth. America is fascinated with her ‘stars’ because there is something indigenous to American culture that is driving this fascination, as it also does in other parts of the world that have become ‘westernized’ or who follow America's suit.

What drives this pattern is something deeper than a popular current of interest, deeper than something that makes us seek hobbies or pastimes as areas of distraction or even of play. It is a hunger for a different reality than the one we live in. It is a desire to live in the reflected glory of others – to live a life that is larger than ourselves when our own seems small by comparison. It is a desire to live, and play, and think, and dream, in an imaginary world that takes us away from the everyday concerns that plague us that create a sense of limitation and helplessness. In a word, it is a spiritual hunger, a seeking of nourishment for our desire for freedom – the freedom of infinite possibilities in a life we imagine others to live that we cannot attain. It is also, paradoxically, a way of valuing our own lives more, since we realize, in a deeper part of ourselves, that the glamour that becomes the basis for fame, also becomes the basis for heartache, the basis for false pride, and the basis for false or limiting relationships with others.

The desire for freedom to live a glorious life, a life filled with possibility and adventure, of beauty and of joy, is a wish that is part of our humanity. It is a wish that comes from the inner drive to express ourselves, built into our fundamental experience of life. This is not a peripheral motivation. It is central. And when we cannot satisfy it in our own lives, we satisfy it through living the lives of others.

In addition, the sense of the falseness of glamour, of fame, of wealth, and of self-importance, comes to us when we view the breakups, scandals, downfalls, or other misfortunes that occur to others. We find excitement in these things because we are learning to value what is true and to discard what is not true, and we presently do this in the more childish way of feeling superior to others as we witness their undoing, rather than in a way that is more self-reflective and more concerned with correcting our own errors than the errors of others. This is the result of spiritual immaturity, and it is only increased consciousness that will change it.

Both of these trends – the desire to live the life of others as an externalized expression of our own desire for freedom, adventure, and glory – and the involvement and excitement that we feel in relation to scandals concerning the rich and famous – come from a life that is not fully lived, a life that has not yet come to know its own spiritual roots and the richness of living creatively, freely, and with the capacity to bring joy, color, and adventure into it, rather than to experience these things vicariously.

We are, as we become absorbed with the images of the lives of others - whether in their glamour or in their heartbreak - trying to give to ourselves the richness and possibility that we seek in our own lives. We are trying to live a larger life when our own lives seem smaller and more confined, to live a life of brilliance, when our own lives seem pale.

This fascination with celebrity will end when we come to recognize individually, that the life we seek is possible for us, and that it is based on the unfoldment of our own creative potential and the perception of the great depth that lies within us. When we realize the truth of this, we will become stars in our own world, filled with the brightness of our own Divine self expressing upon the earth in ways that are uniquely our own. Then, there will no longer be a need to live life through witnessing others in their greatness or in their misfortune, for we will not have to live a life based on comparison or identification. We will be able to live our own lives with the sense of possibility that has been given to us as children of Spirit, and in these lives will be all the richness of experience that we currently seek elsewhere.

For other writings by Julie Redstone see Pathways of Light . For more about spiritual growth and deepening, see the Calendar of 100 Days and other Calendars by Light Omega.


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