Phlebotomic is a blog experiment that seeks to gather multiple perspectives around a common prompt, which is provided weekly.

Last week's prompt was "Beauty"...

This week's prompt is "Path"...

14 February 2009

Idol: Noun or Verb

Idol (noun) - an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship
Idolize (verb) - admire, revere, love greatly or excessively 

To worship an idol is a dangerous thing. Whether it is something, somebody, or yourself, sooner or later you will realize that nothing and no one is without flaws. When we lift someone up on a pedestal, but then are faced with evidence that conflicts with the perfect image - it creates cognitive dissonance. From that point, we either re-frame our image and acknowledge imperfections, or we twist the evidence to continue our rosy image of that person. "My father is perfect, but he behaved inappropriately - well, ummm....that person really made him behave's not my father's fault at all - still perfect." As humans, it is way too time consuming to try to represent others as they really are - complex beings with strengths and weaknesses. This heuristic bias is even stronger for those we despise. "The president is stupid, but he just approved a policy I agree with - well, he probably just gave in to my political party - still an idiot." This kind of thinking is easy - it helps us get through the day and make sense of things quickly. Ask A-Rod - he quickly went from the greatest ever to a cheat - from hero to villain.

I would suggest that we should not create heroes and villains, but to idolize aspects of people. This may be easy for our role models and loved ones - but I dare you to try this with your enemies.  You can admire and love without categorizing - it's tough, but it's definitely worth it. Pick the verb over the noun.

1 comment:

  1. to actually acknowledge the faults and failings of those we love? could it be? and could we still love them?

    i think you've nailed something you didn't even think to nail. or at least you led me to begin thinking again about "unconditional love".

    if we can love through the rough patches and love our enemies all the same...

    maybe there is hope after all.