There Are No Great Men

In these times we always focus on the actions of individuals, in some cases as a culture we even idolize them, but this seems to be severely misguided.

That isn’t to say that people are irrelevant, but that individuals are irrelevant. The way that things are is a result of the times and the aggregate of all the people.

If it wasn’t Zuckerberg, Jobs or Gates it would have been someone else around the same time.

These people acted in their times, which is to say they were a product of their times, they are the result not the ’cause’ of what they do. We always seem to focus on the actions of ‘one man’, but the reality is that that ‘one man’ was nothing without the times and the people who did what he asked.

Maybe in order to understand why things happen we need to create some kind of focus, some point of worship, some great mover. The reality is that ‘we’ are all the great mover and all the product of our times. If it wasn’t us or them it would have been someone else.

“You can rise above yourself, But never the times that you live in.”
– Sam Roberts

Ready my short story: Korean Affair

2 thoughts on “There Are No Great Men”

  1. It seems that you’re equating “being a great man” with having the ability to be so despite your environment/surroundings/influences/whateveryoumomlistendtowhileyouwereinthewomb… But since your argument is largely deterministic, there can never be “great men”, ever.

    “It would have been someone else.” How do you know that? Indeed, there may have been many Steve Jobs that never fully blossomed, but of course, we’ll never know.

    I guess that I just find the whole point moot if you take a deterministic stance on things.

    1. The point is that there are NO great men, all men/women/children are who they are because of their environment and times. Greatness is more a consequence of the times than any particular action any particular person takes. Greatness is luck and timing when a person has the necessary effort, passion and determination.

      It would have been someone else because the times and the needs for such a thing existed, it was time for a smart looking personal computer, so the will of a generation brought it into existence, someone else would have filled the need if not for Steve Jobs.

      To be clear, this is not an original idea, see:

      I’d agree it would be moot if one was a determinist without a doubt, and all potential readers of said argument were also determinists, but as most people attribute success to individuals, it is a counter-argument to the prevailing belief.

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