Our culture often confuses greatness with “greater than”

The Will to be Onesself

Morrie Schwartz, the subject of the book Tuesdays with Morrie, asked an important question when a group of college students began to chant, “We’re number one!” Morrie simply asked, “What’s wrong with second place?” He went on to state, “…the culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves…you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it.”

Defining greatness is a challenge and our culture has some interesting and disturbing takes on it. We admire or despise those who go beyond us in some area or another. But the oddity of it all is that we tend to elevate and perhaps even worship those things that people really have no control over. I think of intelligence and athletic ability, both of which are characteristics a person is born with. George Carlin used to do a bit where he questioned ethnic pride…

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