Next to wealth, the most desirable thing is fame for most people.
What is fame? The word-bible gives one of the definitions, and the more concise of them, as 'popular acclaim'. Now, how popular is popular? Even President Bush wouldn't be known to half of my country. So can I say Bush is popular? More importantly, can Bush say he is popular? I'm sure Bush wanted both fame and money when he started his political career. There's no doubt he's got the money. But has he got the fame? What would his honest reply to himself be? Perhaps he'd say yes because it really does not matter to him whether the village population of India knows him or not. But then, should it really matter to him whether the educated population of Lithuania knows him? Where and how does Bush draw the line? For fear of appearing to think too much on behalf of one of the more notorious persons on the planet i shall pose these same questions for the more common homosapien, the average man in the street, my next door neighbour, me. Where does man draw the line on how famous he wants to become? Since it is so difficult to draw a line, let me just address the issue of being known to people for now, irrespective of the numbers.
First of all, does man want to be famous or notorious? Or will either do? It seems to me he prefers fame but would just as well be content with notoriety over oblivion. Now, why does man want to be famous. One of the incentives of course is money. The more famous or notorious one is, the more the money one has in general. Another incentive perhaps is greed for what he enjoys. Once man sees that praise from other people gratifies his ego, he yearns for more. This greed for increase in numbers will continue until his ego wallows in what seems like a pool, but is really a quick sand, of praise What i mean is that beyond a certain point, that person is reduced to nothing but a trump card of some political, commercial or social gambler. The praise he gets is insincere and is really just a means to ulterior gains. But this greed for fame is anyways a desire of the lowlier of mankind and he is little expected to realise that he has entangled himself in such a mess. The greater man shall only value the respect of those whom he respects and will not go panting after every stranger's pat on the back. A third incentive, and this one perhaps is not just applicable to the lowlier of mankind but to all human beings in general, is immortality. Fame or notoriety is the only way for man to escape from the limitations of his bodily existence. That is the only way for him to transcend the barrier of time and linger around for an eternity. One may ask, why does a man choose to live for an eternity? Why does he seek to continue his existence? Particularly, why would a human being who believes there is no consciousness in any form after death, seek immortality? The only plausible answer i dare provide to such a thoroughly pertinent question is that the yearning for immortality may not be an act of volition but one of impulse. That right from the paramecium to the man, all living creatures have an instinct that makes them desire immortality is an argument that is indeed supported by the phenomenon of child birth, which serves no greater purpose than the propagation of the self through another body. If some one were to ask me now why a child should be considered a propagation of the self, i only ask in return, why is it that you, as you are today, should be considered the same you, as what you were yesterday? Isn’t it only a propagation of your former self with some traits missing and some other traits added?
These are the only incentives i have found to man's desire for fame. Why i have bothered to write all this is because i am still curious. I wish to know if there are any more reasons why man desires fame. Besides, i also wish that fallacies in my argument be corrected. For suddenly, i have become a student of Socrates, a proponent of truth!