Saturday, May 8, 2010

Thinking about Role Models

Adult morality is basically the ability to choose ones group and abide by the moral standards it sets up. Particularly the standards for role modeling. As we are seeing daily: If your group is sport you expect your sport heroes to be good role models and woe be to the used-to-be hero that falls short in role model behavior. They might redeem their hero status by their talent, but it will always have the asterisk hesh is a great athlete* *but hesh is an asshole.

In politics and religion the role model issues are even more important.

I learned the importance of role modeling early, as one of my favorite musicians was an asshole, and people in my group would judge his music by his behavior. The implicit message was that my society expected every member to be an exemplary role model, and achievements would be judged as much by the role modeling as by the achievement itself. This drastically changes the importance of moral behavior, at least in my society which is self selected to be intelligent, rational, well educated, and achievement oriented. And damn few of us get our moral behavior from God.

If you have interacted with another human favorably in the course of your life, that is made that person's life on this earth a little more comfortable or pleasant, and that person 'Pays it Forward' in Heinlein's words, the ripple is potentially infinite. I would rather bet on that infinity than some God rescuing some part of me to endure in some wonderful place somewhen if I have said the right prayers and chosen the right God.

Jesus while he was human said 'Love your neighbor [the Samaritan] as yourself.' His disciples and perhaps even the scribe that asked the question paid it forward and today one could argue that it makes Jesus immortal whether or not you believe the God myth.

Not all of us can have that big an impact, but if we can make the world just a little better for those around us, I think we have paid our dues for being alive and our importance and value will survive.

No comments:

Post a Comment