April 3, 2021
I notice when I scroll through the online news headlines how much space is devoted to the latest activities of the rich and famous. The coverage devoted to Prince Harry’s and Meghan’s Oprah interview- before the anticipated show, the show, after the show, even weeks after the show- still more reports and more details appeared multiple times of day. And they were only one of other celebrities jostling for the spotlight and prime time. Why is so much coverage devoted to this type of journalism? Why do we care? One would think there has to be a demand or interest. “Here’s everything you need to know about the latest...” is quite an enticing opening sentence.
Perhaps it is our human need to compare and justify. Following a celebrity’s life serves to divert attention away from our own. Temporarily, issues with money, relationships, and career fade into the background when we can so easily escape into someone else’s life. Wondering what it would be like to live a more carefree existence, this sense of envy might be tinged with admiration or disdain. Subconsciously we might feel that person is not deserving of the advantages they have. One could also argue that the wealthy have more ability to take action and therefore are more likely to be engaged in business or politics that affects our everyday lives, even if they lack the qualifications. Surrounded by their posh mansions, their copious amount of money, their fame and popularity, they appear to be happy, successful and to some degree, invincible. The special privileges handed to them due to their high-profile embody a life so privileged, exciting and different while many of ours may feel so routine and humdrum. According to most money experts, it has a lot to do with a flawed correlation between more money/lavish lifestyles and increased happiness.
But are their lives really that rosy? And why are we attuned more to their negative news than their positive? When we hear about the challenges that confront individuals who appear to have it all, it helps us to justify that our less worldly existence is somehow not so bad after all. Not having to deal with the paparazzi, the haters that criticize our weight, our hair, our fashion choices offers its own reward- a sense of relief and peace gained by living in obscurity.
It’s a natural instinct to look up to the successful, not the unsuccessful, as a model to copy and follow. However, the bond that unites is that we all want to feel that everything is going to be fine. Anxious to be heard, recognized and admired- we all just want to be cool, secure and free. Our higher personal truth, independent of the perception of another's prosperity, appreciates our own unique identity. When recognized, we can develop a level of prosperity that provides well beyond our needs and is the nourishment that expands the quality of our existence.