Hero-worship. I love that phrase. Properly speaking, hero-worship is: 1) a profound reverence for great people or their memory; 2) extravagant or excessive admiration for a personal hero.
I have developed a profound admiration for several individuals in particular – Ayn Rand, Aristotle, and the Founding Fathers, to name a few. These great individuals provide me with an infinite source of inspiration, reminding me to remain dedicated to my own vision and to focus on realizing my potential. I have therefore become very familiar with the first notion of hero-worship. The second, however, is somewhat foreign to me. While I know of great people who embody real-life heroes, I don’t personally know any. I pride myself on being my own hero, but that doesn’t satisfy the one thing that is still missing in my life – I still dream of the day when I meet my very own John Galt.
A few months ago I recalled a quote from Atlas Shrugged which conveyed this exact sense of an unfulfilled longing, and it has remained in the back of my mind ever since. After hours of searching, I finally found it. My memory held true, and sure enough, this quote epitomizes my desire perfectly. It pertains to Dagny and her own yearning for a personal hero:
“This was a longing she had never permitted herself to acknowledge. She faced it now. She thought: If emotion is one’s response to the things the world has to offer, if she loved the rails, the building, and more: if she loved her love for them — there was still one response, the greatest, that she had missed. She thought: To find a feeling that would hold, as their sum, as their final expression, the purpose of all the things she loved on earth . . . To find a consciousness like her own, who would be the meaning of her world, as she would be of his . . . No, not Francisco d’Anconia, not Hank Rearden, not any man she had ever met or admired . . . A man who existed only in her knowledge of her capacity for an emotion she had never felt, but would have given her life to experience.” Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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