Have you ever felt more desrving of something than someone else? Why would there ever be an exception to any rules because of your, personal extenuating circumstances? There wouldn’t be, UNLESS you can make yourself seen as elite and apart from the average, which (let’s face it) is probably just a matter of how financially well-endowed or publicly well-known you are. The exceptions to the average are either wealth or celebrity (or a combination of the two).

If there are requirements to be met, then you can be sure you must meet them – no if’s, and’s or but’s – except: You can buy your way around it or allow fame to smooth the road. Ah, what a life, eh? The path to oligarchy, plutocracy and kakistocracy, as well as the takeover of media, is paved with the exceptions to being average in the sense of fortune and fame. It seems to be much easier today than at any previous time to reach a pinnacle for no particularly good reason because those deserving the attention just don’t get it anymore.

Nowadays, people who are exceptions to the average because they earned it are the dark horses of the spotlight. Does anyone remember who the socialites of Caesar’s day were? Or who the rich folks were in the Dark Ages? No. Why not? Because they did nothing for the advancement of civilisation on any level. Who do we remember? The scientists, artists, authors and philosophers who invented, contemplated and strove for better understanding of their world are the ones history remembers.

How will history preserve our time? Will our era be recalled for the low-bar set to achieve influence in society, where it is enough to pay to get your way and shape the world without a thought for the consequences? We have these people called influencers now, who exercise power over a following simply due to the development of the cult-of-personality platforms that have sprung up over the past decade. A YouTuber must simply be charasmatic to accumulate subscribers, not intelligent nor otherwise exceptional.

How about returning to a standard of merit-based elite? I would like to see active, contributing members of society receiving laurels rather than odious, greedy billionaires and empty-headed celebs. The rich shape society to their will because they can afford it and the celebrities capture our attention to distract us from what is really happening. And yet, these are the people who are omnipresent in the media. Unfortunately, the hard-working smart people just get discredited and smeared in current climate. Scientists face-off against flat-earthers and such; artists get their platforms taken away; authors are censored or blacklisted; and philosophers get caught up in wars of words with trolls.

The truth is that it is exceedingly difficult to do something remarkable. We should reserve our respect for the exceptions deserving of our engagement and not settle for the empty vessels of what many exalt as worthy. The millions of people filling previously non-existent voids the myriad media platforms have opened up don’t necessarily merit their place. Our careful judgement is required to evaluate their worth to ourselves and society as a whole.