No Fame Life-Changer

In relation to life-changing events, Neil Remington Abramson commented as follows (reproduced with permission):

When some people say “life changing” it seems to mean receiving public recognition – public approval that allows you to continue the path further, with some success. In philosophy, the term “inauthentic” describes someone willing to surrender control for the direction of his/her activities to others deemed more authoritative. “Authentic” describes the person who sets his/her own path without the need for social and authoritative approval. The “inauthentic” requires approval or s/he may quit to find something more approvable. The “authentic” is not discouraged that his/her work remains unrecognized. He/she is self-motivated. He/she does not change course, just because the work is not ratified by others’ approval.

Kierkegaard says that his book, Philosophical Fragments, written under the pseudonym Johannes Climacus, achieved the blessing that it was entirely ignored by reviewers and the public. He felt no obligation to satisfy the public since he had none, and could continue his course unabated. 150 years later, however, these books are well known and much admired.

Van Gogh committed suicide when he found his brother had lied and none of his paintings had never sold. Now each one is worth millions.

And we all know what happened to Jesus. He persevered despite the disapprobation of most of Israelite society. They killed him but he rose again with God’s approval. That was life-changing, I suppose.

And Kafka published little in his lifetime. His instructions to his executor were to burn all the manuscripts. “The rest is history,” as they say,

How many soldier on without “life changing” social approval? Perhaps their lives were changed before the question of social approval arose, and was individually motivated, despite approval or disapproval? Many who soldier do so futilely and in despair. Others are “rehabilitated” after their deaths. I wonder if they know? My respect for these is higher than for the more popular ones.

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