So you worship Kanye West?
Once upon a time, Christianity was the default way of life. The ideal narrative to being a good person; to being part of a community.
Now in our post-modernist Western world, many young millennials do not identify with religion.
Furthermore, the capitalist era we live in has triggered severe symptoms detrimental to our mental health. Severe loneliness can trigger depression; stress can trigger anxiety.
So what is the link between the decrease in religion and the increase of mental health problems?
A theory: the absence of a uniform ideal.
Human beings naturally resort to a higher being. Perhaps to reduce fear and uncertainty, or to provide comfort in knowing that they are safe in the hands of someone else, or to aspire to an ideal figure. The vulnerable self adores being looked after, providing us a way to accept questions beyond our understanding and out of our control.
However, now, Christianity is dying out. Sunday is no longer our day of rest. Rationalists speak more of truth and human progress, giving us more answers to the ‘unknown’.
So who is our higher being now?
Well, in this day, it could be anyone in the public eye.
People can worship more than one public figure and/or religious god if they choose to. This could be a pop artist, an actor, a philanthropist, a TV personality, a sportsman. The list goes on.
What has this got to do with why more people feel disconnected and lonely?
There is no such thing as a uniform ethic. This leads us to lack meaning and sense of direction within our lives. Should we become more altruistic? Or more family-oriented? Richer? More famous? More fashionable? More intellectual? What is our higher purpose and who do we look up to in order to achieve this?
For many young people today, celebrity worship is a likely avenue. But is this the way forward: a superstar spirituality?!
The issue imposed is that many celebrities are the pinnacle of fame and fortune, which is a difficult standard to achieve. Let’s, for example, assess the difference between Kanye West and Jesus. Jesus was a man with good morals and values. Any human can achieve this standard of morality. However, Kanye has sold over 21 million albums. You can see the difficulty in achieving such a standard: instead of achievement and progress, there is envy, a spiralling of hopelessness, and obsession.
This fragmented ethic also cause incoherence within a community. If we do not share the same values towards a morally guided life, the foundation to a strengthened populace is crippled. One is more likely to feel lonely or hopeless because there are too many directions to take, causing chaos in the self and distance from others.
Furthermore, the absence of this uniform ideal may not necessarily lead to celebrity worship; some may not have an ideal they aspire to at all. This can put a lot of pressure on the self, naturally placing the self at the centre of his or her universe.
That is not to say we should all identify with a religion or we have the same ethic to be happy. But perhaps a good philosophy needs to be established in your life to enhance your perspective. The spiritual guidance our archetype craves for has stretched out to so many public avenues, that the likelihood of feeling less lonely or less stressed is slim. This analogy may be more prevalent today than we realise.