I’ve been thinking a lot about why so often the works of people don’t become recognized until after they’re dead.
Like painters, writers, and the like. I think I’ve got a pretty good idea as to why this occurs so frequently, and my explanation might be a bit outside the currently accepted paradigm. So if you’re offended easily, don’t read on.
Or more specifically, competition. Humans, by nature, are competitive. Its written in our DNA. Therefore, for some god-only-knows reason, we don’t like to see other people succeed to levels above us. Many times, this causes us to overlook and undermine great works because the creator of said work might seemingly eclipse our own creativity. When an individual is dead, however, we no longer have this sense of competition because….well, they’re no longer alive. So we can actually consider their work with an unbiased lens, shedding the jealousy and possibility that someone else might be “better than me”.
Examples of this?
Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickinson, Vincent Van Gogh, Franz Kafka, Henry David Thoreau, Galileo Galilei…need I go on?
All of these people (save perhaps Dickinson, who wanted to keep her writing to herself), wanted to change the world with their points of view, but were never truly accepted until they were long gone. Why?
Because humans have egos. No one wanted to give credit to these people while they were alive. Its that simple. For some reason, our biological makeup has a switch where we are supposed to be dominant, and to recognize the accomplishments of another means we have to grit our teeth and pretend that we’re happy when someone other than ourselves scales the ladder of success.
This, in my humble opinion, is one of the greatest fallacies of the human condition. People should be more supportive of one another. They should be happy when someone else succeeds or accomplishes something. This kind of positive culture would foster a much more energetic, utilitarian environment anyhow! Building people up rather than tearing them down should always be the status quo.
I don’t know. Perhaps I’ve been exposed to the wrong points of view, but it seems to me that the aforementioned individuals didn’t get the recognition they deserved because human nature dictates a jealous and competitive environment. Which strengthens the age-old argument that “haters are, in fact, going to hate.”
Perhaps that’s the obstacle we all need to overcome to achieve recognition. The unrelenting force of haters who don’t want to see anyone eclipse them on the ladder of success.
If you can get past that, you’re good.
I just hope I don’t have to die to get recognized.