Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Power Of Public Figures...

The iconic powers of a public figure are vast to say the least. They can result in great good or result in pressures that no normal human being could ever hope to cope with and have the ability to help bring attention to things that very much need the light of day.

Recent examples are like this one with a (currently) viral video making the rounds of what a superhero like Robert Downey Jr. and Albert Manero, a Collective Project student who founded Limbitless, both of whom presented Alex Pring, a seven year old boy with a prosthetic limb:

Ambassadors for the workings of projects like the Collective Project, which need public attention and support. Remember that one of the most influential persons in the world of physics is Stephen Hawking, and without the technologies that helped him to communicate with the rest of the world, none of us would have benefited from his insights into the nature of the universe and its many mysteries. Understanding what Stephen has to do just to be able to communicate is just one facet of the extra hurdles that some people go through to take part in this world like the rest of us.

The importance and the beginnings of projects like the Collective Project are imagined in the minds of people like Stan Lee, Gene Roddenberry, Mary Shelley, George Lucas, William Gibson, Arthur C. Clark, HG Wells, Jules Verne who are read (or watched as the case may be) by many different people who have gone on to start projects that make such things possible. The stories and characters become inspirations for people and can sometimes spawn the dreams that make them possible in reality.

[Author's note: When I wrote this post, I hadn't actually read this excellent article by Janice Kay of which talks about some of the direct influence of science fiction writing that has manifested technologies in the real world.]

Over time, the nature of how we consume stories changes and as it does, the stories that drove us in the first place make their way into the next form of media. Often bringing these stories to these new media forms is a challenge and art form in itself. Radio broadcast production plays of books most certainly were in the 1930s and 1940s radio serials. Eventually they made their way to film and in each incarnation of a new form of storytelling, a new kind of artist was born to each to bring those stories to life. Live perform and acting has to be one of them because the interpretation and then personification of a character that everyone has read and has their own understanding of is a difficult task. Everyone has their own preconceptions. When an artist "gets it" exactly as everyone imagined is great. When they bring it to life though, that is when something magical happens. That is the power of the performer and actor (I am referring to box sexes when I say actor). To iconify and bring to life someone that we've known through our stories. Don't forget though that there is a person inside that performer too. Ultimately it is their heart and being that enters into the responsibilities that go along with being an icon or hero and those responsibilities are not small and as I said at the top, they are a pressure sometimes that no ordinary human being could handle. Much like the Stephen Hawking and Alex Pring are no ordinary human beings to be able to overcome their extra hurdles to become heroes of their own.

Sometimes the pressures on our icons and heroes becomes a weight that nobody could bare alone. Sometimes some bad people purposely make that weight a little too hefty and those people burst, perhaps saying something they did not mean or said in the heat of the moment, that might become news worthy. I think that the important thing to remember is that under those heroes and public figures, are people trying to cope with the enormous responsibilities that go along with that life. There are also sometimes some people who want to see them break and there are people who help that process along. When someone does, remember that is a human being who can likely handle more pressure than most people who are capable of dishing it out would ever be able to cope with and live. So next time we read about someone who broke down publicly in some way, why not think about the pressures that go along with their responsibilities in public life, and those that are just the result of those wanting to break them.

Then think about the fact that those same people have the ability to bring light and inspiration to projects conducted by brilliant people, seeking to help people who have extra hurdles that few of us have, that give voices to geniuses like Stephen Hawking or prosthetic limbs to people like Alex Pring.

So for the positive inspiring stories we saw and read today, remember for stories of the ones who stumbled and fell, that they are humans dealing with super human responsibilities sometimes and there are those that want to make them stumble or fall. Remember that they'll get up and brush themselves off. We all fall. Even the fallen have their day too though and when they do, they'll shine their light on something good that needs it.

Don't go too hard on those that get filled up a little too much and then burst. We all have our limits.

Thanks to people make those dreams into reality.

Stay Safe And Be Well
Brian Joseph Johns
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