The Disconnect

There’s a common misconception about who can become a successful entrepreneur and what successful even means. I think that misconception has been constructed and propagated by the very form and function of media. We see a news story about someone succeeding and our first thought is “lucky them.” That person has done something we may envy, or detest, or even be ambivalent about, but we can’t imagine ourselves in their place.

We can’t imagine being that person the news is talking about. The person the movie was made about. Or even the person the song sings about. Those people are special. Different. They are unlike us. They have become an icon that we no longer relate to in the same way as we would if we met them on the street.

We are surrounded by moving and still images of people we can’t directly relate to because we don’t know them in person. Of course this existed long before film and television exploded onto the scene, but it’s even more potent now.

What makes us different from these people in the media? If you’ve ever seen yourself or someone you know on TV or in a newspaper you’ve probably noticed that it’s not the same as seeing someone you don’t know. The person you know sparks something in you – pride, envy, a memory of when you were last together. The person you don’t know only exists in that photo or video or newspaper article. They have no backstory, no life outside that media. They’re a bit like the moving portraits from Harry Potter – they don’t exist outside of the information that’s been captured on film or paper.

Of course you know they’re real people and alive just like you. But there’s a disconnect. They’re both more than human and less than human. If you’ve ever met or seen someone famous in person you may have had the sensation of being Star Struck. It’s what happens when your mind tries to bridge that disconnect between a person that only exists on film or paper and the real, physical person in front of you.

But they are people and they do have lives. And they’re not so different from you or I.

… tbc

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