Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mediocrity For Inspiration

Aim for the stars and you will atleast reach the moon.


A saying so true and so meaningful, and yet so simply put. I had first come across this when I was in primary school, and somehow the saying has always stayed with me since then. I really believe that we should set our goals at thplise highest possible points and work towards it sincerely, so that even if we reach halfway there, its a worthy accomplishment. The aim, the goal, the ideals, should never be small, easy or substandard, if a person wishes to be more than ordinary I believe. And that is why I am surprised how each day the ordinary, the regular and often even the lame is being portrayed as acceptable, and good in the world today. We no longer set ourselves goals worth achieving is what I believe. It has become more a case of whatever one does is right and good. It is human nature I believe to find excuses for our actions, but the sad bit is, that is portrayed to us as good, even great in our world today.

My thoughts here are probably in complete contrast to that of everyone else, but that is what it is, and I believe in them with all my heart and soul. There was a time, not long ago, when the personalities in books and movies, were people with great morals, tremendous strength of character, characters, who inspired us, made us want to be better people. But just look at what we have for inspiration in the current productions of literature and cinema. A protagonist who is a crook, achieves things by conning and cheating others, falls prey to the weaknesses of his mind, has no strength of character is what we get in most of what cinema or literature has to offer today. And it is not just that such things are dished out, but the fact that this is praised and admired, and appreciated by people, that I don't quite get.

I loved the old movies, where every character is what one ideally should be. The widowed mother, who works hard to earn the pennies to educate her child, the man who would go without food and water, rather than bend his principles, the woman who would marry a widowed man with a child, to be the mother to the child, and forgo her own love for that, these things inspire me. They inspire me to be a better person, to be able to sacrifice my happiness for that of others, to place the needs of others ahead of my own. In Hindi cinema of the previous era, the women, people say, were portrayed as props, or in regressive roles. I completely and totally disagree. I think the women then were stronger better characters, than the ones we have today.

Is it regressive for a woman to love her children, and take care of her family? Is it regressive if a woman is virtuous, or is it regressive if she is strong enough to sacrifice her own happiness for those of others or if she choses her principles over material success? Those are women who inspire me to be a better person. In a world where instant gratification is all that matters, cinema has taken a turn along the same route. It shows us what our society is, sometimes worse, and portraying it in a way, which glorifies, all that needn't be. It makes everything look good, everything that is infact not so good. A con artist becomes a hero, a rich spoilt brat becomes a protagonist, a mean man can form the crux of an entire story. And what I think, really bothers me in this, is that I am surrounded by mediocrity or worse, and have nothing better even in the world of fiction to inspire me.

No, it is not for the elite to get inspired by cinema or idolise what cinema shows, but for an average Jane like me, it matters. It matters because I see it, and it does leave an imprint on my mind. It shows me that an eve-teaser can be a hero, and not a villain. I am no longer shown greatness to idolise, but things that would possibly downgrade me as a person from being what I currently am. Why do we not realise that reality is all around us, weakness, failings of others, what we need to see is what is special, a show of strength, true human spirit, something that will make us want to be better persons. Why do people praise the 'realism' in cinema, when all it is showing us is how we as people succumb to our petty wants and desires, instead of overcoming them, and being better people.

Not just cinema, it shows even in society. I see it everywhere, in people I meet, in the news I read, infact even in the blogs, and that is because these are real people with real failings and problems. So how does reading a book , or watching a movie show me any better? Mediocrity of thought and action, is praised, appreciated, and taken to be the way to be. No one sets the standards high any more, for things that really count. And I just don't get why. Why do we not want to set higher standards for ourselves, why is everything we do right or acceptable, or just fine? It is real, I agree, failings, and faults are but human, but if we make it that acceptable, do we even try to be better or improve? Anything that we are not, is shunned as unrealistic or regressive, the fact is that some of those things are not regressive, they are ideal. Shunning them, or criticising them, just means that we are closing our mind to even the possibility of being better, stronger people. Why don't we have Howard Roarks and Satyakams in our literature and cinema any longer? Why don't we see Mother India or Jane Eyre more often in what we read and watch? Why does our current lot of literature and cinema have so little to inspire. I rue not being surrounded, by characters who are strong, good people, characters who would inspire me to be better, would provide a good role model, and people that I would aim to be, and would hopefully reach half way.

It is not easy to find ideal people in the real world, fiction atleast could provide us with such people, and inspiration. People who make us want to be them, or atleast try.

9 comments:

liveonimpulse said...

Oh GM !! You've reminded me of Howard Roark, my ideal man...they don't make any like him any more...Idealism has sadly given way to realism and I don't understand why but anything that is dark is inevitably labeled as real !!..

While I would love to hitch my wagon the stars but at the same time I wouldn't like to judge those who can't or don't choose to. Not too sure whether I make sense !! I'd like to share something I wrote a while ago..It was my take on idealism..[link: http://liveonimpulse.wordpress.com/2008/11/19/this-was-written-3-years-back-that-was-when-i-still-looked-at-life-with-rose-tinted-glasses/ Idealism]

liveonimpulse said...

Oh GM !! You've reminded me of Howard Roark, my ideal man...they don't make any like him any more...Idealism has sadly given way to realism and I don't understand why but anything that is dark is inevitably labeled as real !!..

While I would love to hitch my wagon the stars but at the same time I wouldn't like to judge those who can't or don't choose to. Not too sure whether I make sense !! I'd like to share something I wrote a while ago..It was my take on idealism..[link: http://liveonimpulse.wordpress.com/2008/11/19/this-was-written-3-years-back-that-was-when-i-still-looked-at-life-with-rose-tinted-glasses/ Idealism]

2 B's mommy said...

whoa! You said everything that I believe in too but I couldn't have articualted it so well. Very well written !

Reflections said...

Very thought-provoking post GM....honestly speaking I dont ever remember aiming for the stars and always was very laid-back but in the back of my mind I always thought with a bit of effort I cd have attained so much in life.
Now there is so much I want to do but am bound by constraints....but I havent given up...yet;-)
"Is it regressive for a woman to love her children, and take care of her family?"
It takes a very strong woman to accept it for what it is and be happy with what she has and find endless possibilities within her small world.
Echoing 2B's mommy words...very well articulated!!!!
[ummm....I may have rambled on;-/]

Pixie said...

I couldn't have put across my thoughts as clearly as you have! :)

Aiming to be the best is a good thing, I agree with the saying - when you aim for the stars, you will at least reach the moon.

We need to set the standards high and achieve them or atleast try!
But, this doesn't mean one has to be unhappy or neglect family and friends and such things...
I guess you understood what I'm trying to say?! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi GM,

I second pixie. I couldn't have put my thoughts as clearly as you have because I don't think deeply like you do : ).

I've never set big goals in my life. I’ve always aspired to do some stuff. I've learnt early on in my life we go thru what we are supposed to go thru no matter what we plan for life. I'd give my 100% effort and focus in what ever I do along with love and truthfulness. I take aspirations from simple people around me who lead a life with minimal resources.

I’d keep day to today goals or monthly ones like the things for family, friends and others. I'm very happy to say that I feel fulfilled in every aspect of my life. My achievements may be minor or nothing compared to others but I feel satisfied looking back at my life. May be, not comparing my life with others might be the reason I feel satisfied. ; ).

CS

Passionate Goof said...


liveonimpulse - I don't get it either. Life has so many bright happy things happening all around too, and they are quite real. I am not judging anyone, but I do regret not having better ideals to look up to.

2B's mommy - Thanks. :)

Reflections - I am not talking about being great in a professional field alone, but being a good person too, and I think you are a great person already. I think if a woman can really dedicate herself to taking care of her home and family there is nothing quite like it.

Pixie - No way not at all. I am not talking about careerwise great or professionally, what I am talking about here, is being a good person, a good human in whatever capacity it works.

CS - Thanks. And I am not talking about making things happen teh way you want to in life, but more about being a good person, a great human being, you know,having ideals of principled, strong, selfless people to, look upto, to get there.

The Soul of Alec Smart said...

I thought long and hard about this, but you know what - it all depends on what movies and literature are to you: your eyes to the world, or a new world to your eyes? I prefer that films and books tell us as it is, and actually exaggerate it. Because a third person account usually hits the hardest, and you actually DON'T want to be anything like the protagonist.

There are still ideal characters if you look around though - MNIK's Rizwan Khan is one I can remember off the top of my head. Not in the same way maybe like a Mother India, but they do exist. All's not lost. Yet :)

Passionate Goof said...


Soul Of Alec Smart - I do agree when you say, its teh choice of things we decide to view or read, but the general spew of cinema, and literature today, has very few really inspiring characters to offer. I loved a few from recent cinema, like Aamir Khan's in TZP, SRK's in Chak De to name a few, but these characters come few and far between.