Sam (Emma Stone) in Birdman (2014).
In one scene in Birdman (2014) Sam (Emma Stone; pictured) berates her dad, a fading cinema superhero, for thinking he is above everyone else. We all want to be relevant in the world somehow, she says; we all want to be recognised. He should stop feeling so sorry for himself: he’s not that special nor is he uniquely different.
But making a difference, like Sam’s dad seeks, doesn’t have to be seen as a bad thing. To the contrary, holding an aspiration and actuating it in your life is usually deemed praiseworthy.
However, there is ambiguity to be reckoned with when it comes to chasing personal success and fulfilling our egos, for it’s easy enough to be led into embracing and revelling in one’s self-importance narcissistically. This, in turn, will make the pursuit about the individual and not the individual’s positive influence on their environment. Yet, if we choose not to embrace our egos at all, we may be led into living hollow and legalised lives, where nothing is achieved.
Maybe this is a noble aim, though: to live humbly with total respect of our external surroundings.
Is it realistic?
Can we even choose to remove our senses of self and destroy ego and everything good and evil it leads to? For take the Dalai Lama and his noble pursuits: are we really meant to believe that he, in his role as a powerful public figure, holds no notion of self-importance in his head?