The well-known phenomenon of “name dropping,” the casual mention of who you know, is part of the ego’s strategy of gaining a superior identity in the eyes of others and therefore in its own eyes through association with someone “important.” The bane of being famous in this world is that who you are becomes totally obscured by a collective mental image.
Most people you meet want to enhance their identity – the mental image of who they are – through association with you. They themselves may not know that they are not interested in you at all, but only in strengthening their ultimately fictitious sense of self. They believe that through you they can be more.
They are looking to complete themselves through you, or rather through to complete themselves through you, or rather through the mental image they have of you as a famous person, a larger-than-life collective conceptual identity.
The absurd overvaluation of fame is just one of the many manifestations of egoic madness in our world. Some famous people fall into the same error and identify with the collective fiction, the image people and the media have created of them, and they being to actually see themselves as superior to ordinary mortals.
As a result, they become and more alienated from themselves and others, more and more unhappy, more and more dependent on their continuing popularity. Surrounded only by people who feed their inflated self-image, they become incapable of genuine relationships.
Albert Einstein, who was admired as almost superhuman and whose fate it was to become one of the most famous people on the planet, never identified with the image the collective mind had created of him. He remained humble, egoless. In fact, he spoke of “a grotesque contradiction between what people consider to be my achievements and abilities and the reality of who I am and what I am capable of.”
This is why it is hard for a famous person to be in a genuine relationship with others. A genuine relationship is one that is not dominated by the ego with its image-making and self-seeking. In a genuine relationship, there is an outward flow of open, alert attention toward the other person in which there is no wanting whatsoever. That alert attention is Presence. It is the prerequisite for any authentic relationship.
The ego always either wants something, or if it believes there is nothing to get from the other, it is in a state of utter indifference: It doesn’t care about you. And so, the three predominant states of egoic relationships are: wanting, thwarted wanting (anger, resentment, blaming, complaining), and indifference.
Article by Ken Lauher