Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


Celebrity

Muir Beach, California, USA

October 13, 2012



"Here is where it is. Now is when it is. You are what it is. Celebrate!"  ... 
This essay, Celebrity, is the companion piece to The Only Worthwhile Fame.

I am indebted to Victoria Hamilton-Rivers and to Kyu Self who inspired this conversation.




For the most part we live in a world in which celebrity  is an index based on how often a face appears on supermarket checkout tabloid covers - the more appearances, the greater the celebrity. Seriously. Ours is a world in which people become famous simply for being famous, a world in which people become well known simply for being well known. In other words, people are photographed to appear on supermarket checkout tabloid covers simply because they appear on supermarket checkout tabloid covers.

The dictionary almost  verifies this.

From the Cambridge International Dictionary:

<quote>
Definition
celebrity


noun
someone who is famous especially in the entertainment business
<unquote>

I say "almost" because its definition of celebrity in my opinion doesn't go far enough. One, it doesn't, for example, allow for or include the notion of being famous simply for being famous. Two, it only mentions the common  noun "celebrity" ie "a  celebrity", not the abstract  noun "celebrity" ie what I'll refer to as "celebrity-ness". It's the abstract noun "celebrity" ie "celebrity-ness" which is the subject of this essay. Three, it doesn't connect the language roots  of the noun "celebrity" with the verb "celebrate".

Some time long ago I suspect we called a person a celebrity if their life was celebrated  by others because the person embodying celebrity-ness  had accomplished or done something worth celebrating, something awesome, something worthwhile, something which makes a difference. This is the connection between the language roots of the noun "celebrity" and the verb "celebrate".

Also from the Cambridge International Dictionary:

<quote>
Definition
celebrate


verb
to recognize an important occasion by taking part in an activity that makes it special
<unquote>

In calling our entire culture of supermarket checkout tabloid cover celebrity into question, I take two essential issues. One, rather than draw our attention to who they  are, I suggest an essential quality of authentic celebrity-ness is this: when it's present in another, it draws our attention to who we  are. Two, rather than provide an outlet for us to lose ourselves in the celebrity-ness of others, I submit the celebrity-ness really worth celebrating is our own. I suggest celebrity-ness, when we celebrate our own lives, when we celebrate being alive, when we celebrate Life itself, is closer to what the language root of the word "celebrity" (ie "celebrity-ness") distinguishes and points to, than the way it's currently deployed.

In this way, when the dictionary defines "celebrate" as "to recognize

 1)  an important occasion

by taking part in

 2)  an activity that makes it special",

I say

 1)  an "important occasion" is being alive ie it's Life itself,

and

 2)  an "activity that makes it special" is simply living fully.

In other words, true  celebration is nothing more (and nothing less) than living Life fully, or living Life as if your life depends on it  (as Werner Erhard may have said). Anyone who lives this way ie anyone who celebrates  Life this way I say  has authentic celebrity-ness. Authentic celebrity-ness may be or may not be  embodied in some of the faces on supermarket checkout tabloid covers. In fact authentic celebrity-ness can't be measured by an index based on how often a face appears on supermarket checkout tabloid covers. Authentic celebrity-ness is measured by whether or not a person living a life of celebration, draws our attention simply by how they're  being, to who we  really are.

The next time you're at the supermarket, while you're waiting in the checkout line and you're looking at a tabloid on display, if who's on the cover doesn't inspire you to realize your own  celebrity‑ness, then don't buy it - spoken with rigor, don't buy into  it.



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