Just avoiding false pride, and an "addiction to image-making".
It is true that it is less fracturing of the psyche to keep your opinions to yourself notwithstanding you think highly of them. However, a truth kept to yourself is not of much value to others, and if you have essentially no public image because few have heard of you, it makes it difficult to gain an audience for your opinions. The way to avoid shame and pride is not to hide.
The same way someone may be controlled and kept in line with shame (artificial lack of self-esteem) they may be controlled by pride (false excessive self-esteem). Two sides of the same coin, and I'd like to simply drop the coin from my life. It doesn't buy anything for me.
I would agree with this as regards ordinary matters, but I do think, as I mentioned in my previous post, that shame and pride can play a role in helping one deal effectively with (chemical) addiction. If an emotion had no purpose, we would not have evolved the capacity to feel it. There is a place under the sun for every emotion.
Perhaps shame-driven people over-compensate a bit by struggling to acheive Greatness? Just a notion.
Yes, I suppose there are people like that. But then, there are other people who after having faced the sting of defeat become defeatist and have no faith in themselves to do anything even the least bit difficult. For instance, students who fail a test will sometimes go numb and stupid, and give up on trying to learn that subject any longer. So shame in the human psyche can encourage both excess and lack of self-esteem, depending on circumstances. But to do great things also typically requires you to do nonstandard things that haven't been done the same way before, and the psyche is easily manipulated into excessively fearing such oddness. So I think that on balance psychological manipulation is more likely to discourage greatness than encourage it.
Of course, there are deceptive forces that don't particularly have anything to do with psychological manipulation. For instance, the most successful people have an inordinately influential voice simply because their power and money allows them to be heard more often, and it is in their self-interest to encourage the world to view their own greatness (and by extension, greatness in general) as, well, great. But personally, I am too rationally skilled and selective in what I accept to be much deceived thus by these deceptions not relying on manipulation so much as (more frequent) argument. Actually, though, worthless people with no redeeming qualities try to make people think that greatness is a non-existent quality (because they don't have any such greatness), and actually the males of this sort tend to be more effective than one might think in pushing this error because they tend to be sodomizer sorts, and the sodomy kind of makes the female think the guy must be sexy for some reason, namely that the great people she might have been expected to find most appealing really aren't nearly as great as they appear, and in fact because they think themselves great, are really worse. J.D. Salinger (an author that makes me feel like vomiting) would appear to be the person most prominent in pushing for this viewpoint. But the people who are effective at degrading greatness by disgusting behaviors are not people that have much influence on those people at all careful about their associations, because disgusting people tend to not make their debauched opinions too public lest they disgust others to their own detriment, so these types don't tend to be out in the open much. So I would agree with you that so far as the rational argument you hear from the media is concerned, greatness is overrated. But mostly we don't have to go to leadership training seminars, etc., if we don't want to.
IT'S A MYTH -- Greatness to me is a complete, blatant and outright lie. It is false image-making used to control those who are starving for self-esteem. I refuse to participate in it. I would much rather live a balanced, wholesome life, doing this and that, whatever strikes my fancy and gives me satisfaction in my community.
There are people who have done great things. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Jane Austen, the abolitionists, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Martin Luther King--these are just a few people who fairly recently did great things, presumably in large measure because they actually were great. And some things are almost as easy to do greatly as to do mildly. I think personally of my anti-sodomy crusade. People wondering whether they are screwed-up tend to be unusually influenced by the standard opinion of what constitutes being screwed-up. Sometimes I think the easiest way of changing where a stubborn screwed-up female sits in regards to addiction is not to try directly to move where she is sitting (she won't let you do that), but to move the whole blasted earth she is sitting on (especially if like me you are better at composing well-crafted logical arguments than at composing plaintive bluegrass songs in which you need to be emotionally compelling at portraying your loss, akin to a howling wronged hound dog or a howling lonely coyote--screwed-up people tend to be emotional types). An exaggeration, I suppose, but still, it is not that much more difficult to change standard opinion as regards depravity than it is to change the particular opinion held by a screwed-up person, so Why not go for broke? And interestingly, the second-most important idea I have, namely that it is important that girls should be able to mate at a young age because girls are more pleased by goodness in males than adult females are, is also something that it won't be too much harder to convince the masses of than a few people. Indeed, girls are going to be the ones most likely to appreciate that they should have stronger rights, and girls tend to conform to one another (especially as regards relationships with males) to an unusual degree. And much of the stigma against early female sexuality is a result of confusion as to what constitutes screwed-uppedness, which as I mentioned is something many are unusually conservative and conformist about. So I feel that, personally, I might as well try to be great.
IT'S NUMBING -- Image-making also numbs a person to their own feelings. If a person follows a script to produce Greatness, they often put their own experiences and judgement aside, trying to have the script tell them how they're supposed to feel now.
Enthusiasm can be numbing and in ordinary situations is better avoided, and it is unusually difficult to try to do great things without being excessively enthusiastic. However, before you decide upon a great thing, the same "I cannot fail" attitude that enthusiasm engenders is likely to make you excessively fear starting to try to accomplish something great. It is wrong in ordinary matters to so excessively idolize something that you ignore other matters and become unbalanced, and people do have that tendency, because, for instance if you're female and if have affection for some guy and anticipate having sex with him, it is important to ignore emotionally what other guys will try to stick in your digestive system to get you to change your opinion as to whom should be the object of that affection. But it is just as wrong to so fear failure that you never try anything great. If you take every challenge as though in some sense you are fighting a sexually abusive monster, sure, you won't likely give up easy on your goals once you've decided to go for them, but by the same token, you'll too much chicken out on challenges you've got a good chance of failing, even if failure in itself is nothing worse than wasted time and success is glorious victory. At any rate, there is evil to be grappled with, and to not grapple with it because doing so might make you forget to take time to smell the roses is to excessively fear your own insane tendencies. Argue, be scrappy, wrestle the monsters in the mud--you'll after a while get a practice that enables you to do these things without getting too obsessive about them (desirable unless the monster might sodomize you).
IT'S OVERWHELMING -- Chanting "We're number one!" or "We're saving the world!" or "We are the Greatest" is simply another way to over-ride someone's healthy judgement -- with something spectacular, overwhelming, sensational. Similar to the buzz from alcohol. One loses themself in it.
Well, OK, I might have said my motto is "Make the world much better or bust." But that's rather unwieldy for a motto, and I don't know, I wouldn't be surprised if sodomy in particular won't destroy the world. If you think you've got a shot at saving the world, Why lie about it? Why is false humility worse than false pride? William Lloyd Garrison did a great thing, doing very much to encourage anti-slavery sentiment in the north before the Civil War, and look what he wrote in 1828 to an opponent, early in his career before he became famous:... "I have only to repeat without vanity, what I declared publicly to another opponent--a political one--(and I think he will never forget me,) that, if my life be spared, my name shall one day be known so extensively as to render private enquiry unnecessary; and known, too, in a praiseworthy manner. I speak in the spirit of prophecy, not of vainglory,--with a strong pulse, a flashing eye, and a glow of the heart. The task may be yours to write my biography". It's not megalomania when you're right. Moreover, it's only after you become famous that people tend to try to manipulate you by encouraging your megalomaniac tendencies. Before that, competitors, on the contrary, to reduce their competition, try to make you think you are too worthless to compete with them in their sphere.
A curious observation is that I think that P.T. Barnum's attitude of step-right-up-be-amazed is an artistic one that is vastly underrated nowadays. If you've ever got the chance to go to the Barnum museum in Bridgeport, CT, I recommend it. They had (and presumably still have) a (modest and non-spectactular) model of a circus on the highest floor that gives you a good flavor of what a circus was like in the old days. My dad says circuses just aren't the same nowadays, and somehow that feels right. Speaking off the cuff (I've no carefull thought out theory) girls in particular seem to like sensational stuff, or at least an atmosphere allowing consideration of such, and in the old days I suppose men could appeal to that quality of females without being viewed seriously as lying seducers or whatever. As for that museum, I'd bet the fadedness of the costumes itherein makes it more appealing today than formerly. Fun in girls if it somehow harkens back to fun of past generations is more fun. So the museum probably gets more fun with every year. But I go astray, it seems, nothing new.
IT'S CRIPPLING -- Greatness also dictates how they *should* behave if they were *proper* people. I reject all image-making and properness, because it enslaves people with their own runaway shame/pride.
This is what I most disagree with. Everything you do effects everything else. If you care how the world turns out, there is nothing to do but try to understand the (usually non-obvious) effects of your actions on the future. You can accept at face value what society says is the consequence on the world of your actions, or you can try using your own sense and sensibility to understand these consequences yourself. People pretend that morality is worthless because it is subjective and has no definition. I don't agree with them, but that is not really the question you should ask in determining the worth of morality. A moral philosophy is not mainly the definition or whatever that it adopts to judge how ideal a world is given any complete description of what the world is like, no that's the easy part. The most important part of a moral philosophy is mainly the thought and understanding that it uses to determine the consequences of any particular behavior on the world. As regards sodomy, for instance, the question of whether sodomy is evil or not is unlikely to depend so much on whatever your first moral principles are, as on what you perceive the effects of sodomy on the world to be. If you believe as I do that sodomy is extremely addictive in the chemical sense and sodomy makes the sodomized more susceptible to pain and the terror of physical abuse, then it is obvious that by viewing sodomy as innocuous you are contributing to a rapacious, more recklessly violent world in which women's sexual feelings are mostly meaningless constructs of whatever chemical brew be poured in their body openings. I daresay few if any people with anything that resembles what people could call a moral system would consider such consequences as improving the world. And whether sodomy is addictive or not is an objective question that can be answered and investigated scientifically. The extent to which sodomy is addictive does not depend on "image-making and properness", but on cold verifiable facts. And as with sodomy, so with other moral matters. Differences in moral opinions as regards the morality of a particular behavior don't so much vary because people have different ideas about what the world should be like, but because people have different opinions about what the consequences of the particular behavior really are on the world present and future. (Not that I deny there are people who are mainly selfish or who lie about their morals.) I daresay it goes without saying that refusing to accept at face value the standard explanation of the consequences on the world of a particular behavior is definitely not something that pride or shame motivates people to do, no quite the contrary.
Also, the world is actually fine just the way it is.
All this said, I appreciate the thought and relevance of your post. You seem pretty wise to me, my main advice would be to realize that chemical addiction is a special case (that especially must be handled separately in generalities about emotions) and to not fear so much situations that might cause in you irrational emotions (a certain amount of practice in dealing with such emotions can actually help you develop and refine your emotions by encouraging these emotions to become more rational).