Friday, November 17, 2006
Fictional role models
Fictional role models are important. I think possibly even more so than "real people" as role models. H.P. Lovecraft is quoted as saying, "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents." As real people, we are motivated by so many darn things. Our actions are not always following our motivations. We have so many small chaotic things driving us, and similar minute flaws and external elements guiding us off course.
Now, I am not saying that learning from/emulating real people, isn't important. Not at all. It is quite essential. Most of my heroes are real people, alive and past. But for me, the term "role model" is more about the quintessential. Boiling down to that purest sample. This is a complicated activity with actual people, we are motivated and controlled by so many things. However, fictional characters tend to be more of an embodiment of certain characteristics. I think we can look to them for understanding our priorities and needs. (yes, I understand the irony that every fictional character is created by an actual person.)
Furthermore, fictional characters are not without flaws. Usually their flaws are just as important to understand as those heroic qualities which you want to emulate. For instance, I just picked and listed the first five fictional characters who I "respect. " They all have major, noticeable flaws. They also all are living lives I won't ever live, not even close. Their struggles revolve around saving people's lives and murder and such. However, I decided to take a look at what are the qualities they embody that I would like to bring more into my life. What will make me a better father, husband, brother, son, friend, account planner, writer, provider, explorer, appreciator, thinker, blogger, etc...
1. Han Solo - (Star Wars) Adventurous and unpredictable
2. Cool Hand Luke - (Movie of same name) Non-conformist, always smiling
3. Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic - (Fantastic Four/Marvel) Use experience to improve your brain, build upon past occurrence
4. Man with no name - (The "Dollar" trilogy of Sergio Leone) Self-reliant and unwavering
5. Philip Marlowe - (Raymond Chandler Detective) Quick-thinking, Perceptive and Deductive
See there. A space adventurer, a convict, a super-powered scientist, a cowboy and a noir detective ... this is not me. But there are traits that I can appreciate and learn from. I can use them to understand consequences, albeit all fictional.
And looking to these types of people for their personalities is much safer than copying their actions, like these geniuses. (Inspired by Darwin Awards.)
Flickr Role Model appreciation. Because indeed sometimes REAL role models are not easy to find.