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Gurus and Pedestals

· 2 min read
Ron Amosa
Geek/Hacker/Engineer

This saying came to mind as I thought about todays daily blog post:

"I am not your guru."

In a twitter space today, another leader in a specific tech space said to Kelsey Hightower that his position on a thing "made him sad".

To which Kelsey said, "..don't be. It's an opinion and position, you don't need to be sad about it, we need to discuss it."

And therein lies, in my opinion, the dangers of creating guru's and putting them on pedestals.

Why do you think you need a guru? Why did you need to make it personally sensitive to you?

And why are you conflating the person with the purpose?

I'm not against recognising standards of excellence, and acknowledge expertise and skill level.

These are objectively real and help guide, navigate, inform and inspire us towards landmarks of ability and competencies we want to exist either for our causes, or for ourselves.

But those are the skills, knowledge, wisdom and information possessed by the person that we would do well to learn from them if that's what we're after.

The trouble is when our recognition and respect for skills and competencies gets conflated with our admiration and adoration of the person possessing these things. We deify and propel these people into spaces in our psyche that seeks to worship, idolise and "follow" these people.

Now we're not seeking to obtain an objective, intangible skill or competency, but a subjective relationship with this person based on what they now mean to us as a God/deity.

It's the cult of personality, celebrity by many other names, but the system is the same.

We build people up to be more than human; assign this claim to them; investigate them for the validity of these claims, and then point out how disappointingly human they turned out to be.

It's equally unfair on the person foisted to heights they didn't consent to, and the people who hitch their expectations to the guru delusion they created themselves.

Guru's are a mental construct of a person. A figment of your imagination if you will.

People are people. Skilled, brilliant, awful, useless and flawed.

But always, people.