A nation of protagonists

by Valentin Jordanov

There is nothing authentic in the world of the egotistical person. He lives inside a movie, where he plays the main character. Just like in the movies and TV shows, he strolls through life as the main hero – from scene to scene and from episode to episode. The whole world is just a stage to him – a backdrop for his magnificent life story, and the other people are there only to be extras in his script.

He knows very well that he`s a person among others just like him, but deep down inside he doesn’t really believe in that. Those other people, somehow they don`t seem to be quite like him, they don`t have their own identity, their true feelings, rights or some intrinsic value – they`re just a part of the scenery. When he doesn’t see them, they seize to exist.

There is nothing original or sacred in the world of the egotistical person. Everything came to exist when he himself did, and everything will seize to exist once (if) he`s gone. The trash which he`ll thoughtlessly throw out of the window of his moving car vanishes from existence, because the scene of him driving has ended and we`re all now watching the scene of him entering his house.

And as with all main heroes from the movies, the egotistical person knows, that he deserves a happy end. The world owes it to him. And it owes him all other pleasures along the way, regardless of the cost, which the extras will have to pay.

And just as the garbage disappears from reality, so will the pain and suffering of the people he exploits. Because like in the action movies, he doesn’t concern himself with collateral damage – the destruction he causes or the death of the extras and the supporting cast is of no real importance to him. He may be concerned to a certain extent about the suffering of others, but if he wins in the end, then it doesn’t really matter all that much. And whether he ruins a whole community, like the mafia and big businesses do, or whether he ruins the seats of the new public bus – this person will leave an unmistakable trail as he goes through life. Because in his world there is nothing sacred – it`s all a stage, which exists for him, and anything in it can be sacrificed for his personal gain.

Maybe you think that there aren’t that many people like the one described above? You may very well be correct, such “statistics” are only in our heads. But it is becoming quite obvious that in the world around us there is more destruction than there is creation and at least one of the reasons for this is also obvious.

At some point during my life it came to be widely believed that children should not be educated (i`m referring to upbringing, not academics). Many parents refuse to impose any restrictions on the desires and wants of their children, and they feel proud for managing to program their entire lives around the satisfaction of their young ones and every last one of their most insignificant caprices. You’ve seen these little children – raised to a cult status and put on a pedestal in their homes; their every wish – a command for everyone else. Well then is it that difficult to believe that a child who`s literally idolized in the world that is his family, will one day expect and demand the same from the world of adults?

The devastating mantra of the liberal pseudo education, is that a child should not be refused anything, should not have anything imposed onto him, and this will guarantee that he`ll grow up to preserve his purity and kind nature. However, real life practice shows us again and again, that once such a person grows up, he`ll never really be able to let go of this terrible fiction, that he`s the center of the world, just as he was before in the family. All his life, he`ll manage to somehow safeguard this illusion from the arbitrariness of real life. Somewhere deep inside, this myth will burn forever and the unforgiving harshness of reality will be helpless to extinguish it.

Even if this child doesn’t grow up to be like the extreme case described in the beginning, chances are that he`ll still spend his days in a movie, much similar to the first one. He`ll expect again and again the happiness, which is owed to him, and dread the hardships of life. Every pain will be a bitter injustice, every gain – “too little too late”. With an ever thirsty gaze, he`ll stare in the mirror of other people`s eyes, thinking that everyone else judges and evaluates him just as carefully as he himself does. The gaze of the others will be the camera of his movie and he`ll concern himself much more with his image in the lens than with reality, which he`ll conceal from himself with great care.

Just as Narcissus, from the ancient Greek myth, this adult child will live obsessed with images. He`ll fade year after year and decade after decade investing all of his life energy into supporting fictions. Immersed in the care of his image in this great lifelong movie, he`ll never be able to invest himself in an idea, or consciously sacrifice his desires in the name of something.

It may sound trivial, but in the end, it all comes down to the culture and the upbringing in the first years of life. Because to educate a child is not simply to teach him not to talk with food in his mouth, nor is it a guide on how to be polite. To educate is to drink the bitter cup of your child`s discontents, hardship and even his anger, while teaching him how to accept boundaries and to accept the rules and responsibilities of a society as his own. To educate is to gradually set a person free from the destructive illusion that he`s the center of the world, by handling his pain with wisdom and patience. This is the only way to prepare someone for a world, which doesn’t owe anything to anyone, and where nothing is free. A world of people and nature which we must all honor and protect.

All of this is necessary not simply so that we have order in a society, but also so that there is order in our inner world. Because a child, which was never told “No”, will not be able to tell himself “No” when he grows up and will end up being a slave of his own chaotic wishes and impulses. Trapped in the pitfall of narcissism, he`ll be doomed to a life consumed by fictitious images and petty passions, and will never be able devote himself to ideas and ideals.

But to say “No” is not popular with parents today, it somehow doesn’t fit the absurd ideal of “childhood happiness by all means necessary”. On the pages of mommy-magazines you won`t find pictures of angry children, who begin to understand the inconvenient and harsh truths about the world and the life that awaits them. No… the cult of the self must be supported at all costs. Children must be assured again and again that their wishes and demands are laws to everyone else, that rules don`t apply to them, that they`re the most beautiful, the most special, that they`re the center of the universe and that they deserve everything by default.

But when they grow up, let someone else teach them how to live among equals. Let someone else suffer the destructive force of their anger.

by Valentin Jordanov