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Vicarious: Words I need to really understand the meaning of

In this media saturated world and in this time that social networking online dominates most of our lives. I have come to realise that there are some key concepts you need to be aware of to navigate through the maze. I have decided to blog about the following terms that stand out to me.


If you are not familiar with these terms you need to be because they operate in your life whether you know it or not especially in these times we live in.
So I’ll start with vicarious. In this celebrity saturated world, this is something that powers the whole thing and keeps it moving. So what does it mean?

According to the dictionary, vicarious means: “Experienced in the imagination through the feelings or actions of another person” So from this definition it is immediately clear how this ties in with the world of celebrity. Celebrities represent an ideal that fuels aspiration and because of that can drive commerce. They are held up as living the ideal lifestyle you should be living, they are held up as what to aspire to be like and since most of us have no hope of ever being as famous, rich and celebrated as they are, the next best thing is to identify so close with them mentally and emotionally that you almost feel like you are taking part in that ideal by intently following their exploits. This is why they can drive commerce because your money follows your aspirations and desires.

It is pretty interesting the word vicarious and vicar come from the same latin root word “vicarius” which means substitute. A vicar is the representative of the Church of England, basically the leader of a church parish and is supposed to represent God on earth. Since the Church of England is pretty much emptying and people vicariously live through celebrities then maybe it can be said that in a way celebrities have taken the place of vicars. Would that be taking it too far?

The funny thing is that in some churches the equivalent celebrity culture is pretty much mirrored and we have cults of personality that develop around certain preachers and also the movement of money is mirrored too, the only difference is the preachers say it is Divinely sanctioned and withholding money from them is withholding money from God (the whole tithing teaching) They tell us that we are advancing the Kingdom of God when we “sow” money into their ministries which could be possibly going towards their next luxurious car or private jet purchase. (Of course I am being a bit facetious but this does happen)

I could go deeper with this religious aspect because since vicarious is from the root Latin word that means substitute then ultimately Christ is that substitute we should be living through and aspiring to be like and who is actually THE substitute but I would pretty much stating the obvious wouldn't I? Well if you are of the Christian faith, that is the very heart of what you believe.

There’s nothing wrong with aspiration, it is one the most basic things that makes us human, we NEED aspirations. The problem is when we are just mentally and emotionally living through other people and not living ourselves. We end up merely watching, discussing, criticizing, idolising those who are making things happen and not making much happen ourselves. Instead of going out and living out your own moments, you are just living through the moments of others and not just that, these people you vicariously live through are mainly there to drive commerce, so basically you become just a consumer, a prospective customer. You potentially become part of the people that well known quote attributed to Will Smith says, “…… spends money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like”

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