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  • "To live in the presence of great truths and eternal laws, to be led by permanent ideals – that is what keeps a man patient when the world ignores him, and calm and unspoiled when the world praises him. "
  • ~ Honore de Balzac, French novelist, 1799 – 1850
  • "One’s true happiness depends more upon one’s own judgment of one’s self, on a consciousness of rectitude in action and intention, and in the approbation of those few who judge impartially, than upon the applause of the unthinking undiscerning multitude, who are apt to cry ‘Hosanna’ today, and tomorrow, ‘crucify him. "
  • ~ Benjamin Franklin, American statesman, 1706 – 1790
  • "The work an unknown good man has done is like a vein of water flowing hidden underground, secretly making the ground green. "
  • ~ Thomas Carlyle, Scottish writer, 1795 – 1881

Insane World

People doing important work in science, technology, business, and many other fields live in obscurity while the most trivial but visible work leads to fame. Actors become more famous than the people they portray while television “personalities” become more famous than the people they interview. The element most likely to lead to fame is not accomplishment, talent, or merit, but simply visibility through the media.

The public avidly follows the lives of celebrities, no matter how banal or senseless those lives might be. The distinction between fame and infamy has been lost as visibility, rather than moral worth, becomes the criteria for determining who is “celebrated.” The most visible people, such as athletes and entertainers, tend to have the least long-term impact, while people toiling in obscurity in laboratories or on college campuses are the driving forces behind profound changes in society.

Living Sanely

The real world is a much more positive place than the world portrayed in the media. When evaluating the state of the world, one question to ask is, “How often do the events portrayed on the news happen to me or people that I know?”

Visibility and fame do not equal importance. Having portrayed a person of merit in a drama is not the same as being a person of merit. And, conversely, obscurity has no relationship to unimportance.

Pay attention to those who are worthy of your attention, regardless of whether those people are celebrities or unknown. Who is worthy of your attention, and perhaps, emulation or admiration? Those who are creating value.


On the difference between fame and worth.

Read Our Forum for Living Sanely In An Insane World

Chapter 25 of 35