Messianic figures across centuries and cultures have varied, the way a king amasses his following by doing good deeds (or pillaging and plundering, all the same), a prophet garners his clique by foretelling visions of doom, and offering a path to salvation. History tells us of men (and women) who have stood out against the background noise, offering a voice of reliability (bonus points for becoming rich while doing so).
The modern, 21st century version of this (besides any fascistic politician), is the Tech-Overlord – a godlike figure in the eyes of a legion, which he/she carries in tow; and while their sudden rise to success is one thing, a cult-like following they have accumulated, is a different phenomenon altogether.
The Geek Will Inherit The Land
Fans of teen-oriented dramas will know the lopsided rivalry of the jock and the nerd (and the nerd would eventually best the jock in vengeance). The human tendency has always made us root for the underdog – in this case, the lowly intellectual. Historically, we’ve been witnesses to meat-head jocks becoming unrestrained conquerors – from Genghis Khan to Ivan The Terrible. It is easy to become opposed to boisterous machismo in favour of calculated lily-livery. Extremity, either way is disastrous.
The wealthiest people alive today are overwhelmingly IT entrepreneurs. These are the handful few, who rule the world, meanwhile forcing everyone to bow down to their opulence of wealth and fame. The meek geek sees representation in this and tries to make up for his social failings, by accruing wealth.
In figures like the magnanimously robotic Mark Zuckerberg and the pin-up hero Steve Jobs, they end up seeing themselves.
Cult Of Success
Purveyors of the idea that success through brains and hard work, forget to mention how drenched in riches their families were, to begin with. Warren Buffet, who’s been one of the richest men since close to three decades now, was the son of a wealthy politician, and not the rags-to-riches story he frequently gets painted as.
Even Bill Gates often hailed as a dropout who made it big, did so in the first place due to how gilded in gold his family was in the first place (William Gates Sr. was a prominent lawyer, while Mary Gates, his mother, was on the board of directors of two well-known companies). Fanatics of the multibillionaire have peddled the myth of him starting from the bottom.
The people, who are drawn to such lies, in the end, are bookworms, hailing from humble backgrounds, with nothing much in terms of ancestral wealth. They forgo social progress in favour of career growth (and the only way they see this happening, is by studying to the top). These gullible lot, are being had – they’re being conned, the way religious nuts are by godsmen, and sycophants by politicians.
A New Era
History is a cruel seamstress – she weaves and tailors narratives, showing little to no restraint for irony. There was a time when mindless rulers gathered a following of like-minded folks, and we thought that times might change.
When doomsday preachers riled up blinded followers to jump off a cliff, we thought that never again would affect our judgement.
Now that susceptible, self-professed intellectuals are raising a select few individuals to a status of incomprehensible wealth, along with unwavering success, we’re forced to reconsider just how hollow of a shell a human can be, to be mesmerised by the faintest glimmer of accomplishment.
In the wake of their rise to success, the nerds have proven that they’re no different than the jocks they swore revenge against. Oh! How the tables have turned!