Ep. 13: False Idols & True Heroes


In this podcast, Amadon DellErba looks at celebrity worship; the false idols that are looked up to in American 'culture.' He also looks at what constitutes a true hero, a selfless servant. 

Western society is addicted to social media like Twitter and TikTok. We idolize rock stars, movie stars, and sports stars... from the Kardashians to Paris Hilton. Fame and celebrity have become marks of material success. Not that we can't admire people's talents and abilities,but we should delineate between admiration and idolization.  

True heroes often go unnoticed. They are souls of service; people who inspire you to do better and be more fulfilled in your potential. True heroes rarely become well-know, with a handful of exceptions like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Gandhi. Most heroes are everyday people who are willing to serve selflessly. Nurses. Teachers. The guy who mows your lawn. People living humble lives. We should be most grateful for the heroic individuals that hold us to higher-standards and share their wisdom and truth. They are the ones who tell us what we don’t want to hear, who may even piss us off. Who provoke us to action when we are lazy. It is a spiritual principle of finding your spiritual elders; your mentors, teachers, gurus. 

Amadon also calls out the Instagram influencer culture of van-life, life coaches, and celebrities whose inspirational posts don’t really inspire, but rather perpetuate feelings of inadequacy.  He also shares about his own experience with celebrities and their hypocrisy.



Quit staring at your little phones. I'm talking to myself too... these little windows, these little boxes of prisons that deliver information to us at a constant rate. And most of that information is garbage. You got to seek out, meaning. Seek out value. Seek out people who piss you off, frankly, they piss you off because they tell you what you don't want to hear.

“Nothing You Do Matters Unless What You Do Matters”
I’m Amadon DellErba and this is “Get Real or Die Trying”

Good afternoon tribe, Amadon DellErba here. Welcome to my podcast: “Get Real or Die Trying” and I'm talking about False Idols and True Heroes.

You know, I don't take a lot of time making notes before my show, sometimes, and I don't do a ton of research and I don't memorize things. Sometimes I do a little bit. Sometimes I just come in here and speak from my heart. And so I hope that's good enough for you listeners out there and viewers, but from my heart, I've been contemplating the concept of false idols and heroes. And what are true heroes? What are false heroes? What are idols, false idols, all of that.

In American culture and really all over the world because Western civilization is like a dust storm that is just blown across this country and coated (I mean this world) and just coated everything with this dust of greed and corruption and American culture, (lack of, I always say) of really idolizing the wrong things; idolizing the wrong people.

Americans, we have so many false idols. And so I wanted to spend a little time talking about that, sharing my thoughts. And I'm interested to hear your guys' thoughts after you listen, so be sure to write in the comments, send an email, leave a voicemail on Anchor, do whatever you want. There's about 85 platforms that this podcast goes on so you can find a way to leave a message and I'll respond personally.

But false idols… You know, we spend a lot of time scrolling our social media feeds, following people who aren't necessarily delivering content to us that is enlightening. We grow up following sports stars, movie stars, rock stars. They're all ‘stars.’ And what are they actually doing for humanity? What are they doing for you in your life? Why are they your hero? Now, a lot of us may grow out of that childish teenager, idolization of certain characters. Some of us carry it into our adulthood and we still idolize the wrong characters, the wrong people. And we may not idolize them, but we pay too much attention. Why is it that millions of Americans follow the Kardashians? or why is it that millions of Americans follow, whoever, Paris Hilton? What is it that these individuals are doing to enlighten you, to inspire you, to make you think differently about your choices in life? I don't know that they are. What are they helping you to do in your life? 

And so we have a real problem. It's an addiction in America, to paying attention to the wrong people on social media… Hey, look, I'm guilty of it too. I follow certain people. (I don't follow any of those people I just mentioned.) I certainly follow people and I may, you know, spend too much time reading their posts, looking at their photos, watching their videos. And it's just filling my mind of things that are not aiding me, things that are not helping me to be a better man. They may not be completely destructive. They may not even be evil. They may not be horrible. But it's useless banter. 

So even for the purpose of optimizing our intelligence and optimizing our mind-time and using our brain and our time efficiently to achieve whatever it is that we want to achieve in our life… for that reason alone. Why fill our minds (which is like a shelf) full of People magazine, and garbage, and newspaper tabloids, and junk, and empty soda bottles and just fill our shelf full of this garbage? Instead of books with wisdom and truth? Why fill our mind-shelf?

You know, heroes. What is the difference between an idol and a hero? An idol is someone you may idolize and a hero is someone you look up to who may personify the ideals and has shown heroic nobility and has shown these higher values that you appreciate and that you want in your life, maybe. An idol, maybe it could be someone that, you worship because they've achieved something that you think you want to achieve.

But what is achieving fame? What does achieving 20 million followers on Instagram? What is it that they're achieving? We must all begin to take a step back and ask ourselves that and reevaluate what's meaningful.  Our heroes need to be people who are servants of others. Our heroes need to be people who've actually helped humanity. Our heroes need to be people who've transformed culture. Who've transformed individuals and inspired them to make proactive changes in their lives. And that have actually literally made changes in their towns and their cities in their countries. Yes, I can name a few real heroes that I personally consider real heroes, American heroes, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X.

You know, these are people who've inspired millions of people and have been catalysts for change, have been catalysts for conversations…  Gandhi, a global figure, a catalyst for change, a catalyst for contemplating higher spiritual realities and virtues. 

But, you know, there's not a lot that we spend our time reading. We spend our time reading the little tidbits and the 140 characters from Twitter with a little write up on Facebook or Instagram, or the little Tik Tok video of the movie star, of the celebrities, and the information that we're constantly receiving, it's not helping us to be better people. It's not helping your children to grow up and be better children in the moment and to grow into something beautiful and to follow and to want lives of responsibility and meaning, and service to others. No, they're being taught to be selfish, to be celebrities, to make a lot of money, to value material things instead of spiritual things. Our culture puts so much emphasis on the value of material accomplishments.

What is successful? I can tell you what, successful is not the amount of money in your bank. It's not the amount of material possessions you've accrued. It's not your house. It's not your car. It's not the amount of followers you have on your social media platforms. That is not success. That is noise. And so we have to be willing to redefine what success is. And we as fathers, if you're a father, you're the leader of your family. You need to lead your family in the right direction. You need to lead your children in the right direction. I guarantee you there's so many young teenage kids following the wrong people on social media, which is then creating the wrong value system, the wrong ideas of what they want in their life, where they should be going, what they should be doing, and what's important to them. 

Spiritual heroes are often unsung. The people who've really made a difference on this planet, some of them, they're not chronicled in time. They're not known. Their actions are not always respected at the time that they are alive, actually. They’re usually the outcasts, the rebels, the misunderstood. Only is it a hundred or so years later that they are revered. Happens all the time if you study history. We start reading the wise words of spiritual sages from two-, three-hundred years ago. But when they were alive, they were persecuted, they were misunderstood. That happens today. And so when I look at some of these celebrities pages and they have 10 million followers, I'm shocked. 

Well no I’m not shocked at all actually, I'm more saddened, because it shows... I'm shocked in one way, but I'm very saddened that the mass collective consciousness is so trite, so pitiful in their consciousness, so shallow. So someone who actually has meaningful things to say that will actually convict you to change, to get off your couch, to do something differently, to make you think twice about what you're doing, someone who's speaking like that. They don't have nearly as many followers, but that is the person you need to be following. You need to be following the people on social media who inspire you and challenge you to be better; that confront your weakness; that confront your mediocrity; that confront your laziness; that confront your smallness; that confront your fears… You telling yourself all the time that you're not good enough that you can't do it. There's a lot of inspirational people in the world and you have to find them. Sometimes they're mowing your lawn. Sometimes they’re in your backyard. Sometimes they're the mailman. Sometimes you have to take a minute to not be a respect of persons because they've reached some type of an illusion of accomplishment and actually get to know somebody else that is unseen, unsung, unheard, undervalued... because they're out in the street, mopping up the trash from the ignorant people who are throwing it out, their car windows, listening to Kardashian on the radio. They’re cleaning up the trash off the street. Maybe that person has more spiritual consciousness and wisdom and value to give to you. 

So quit staring at your little phones. I'm talking to myself too... these little windows, these little boxes of prisons that deliver information to us at a constant rate and most of that information is garbage. You gotta seek out meaning. Seek out value. Seek out people who piss you off, frankly, they piss you off because they tell you what you don't want to hear. If you want to be lazy and you want to sit on your couch, you want to eat Cheetos and you want to watch a reality TV show, and there's someone saying, “Get off your couch. Go outside. Go volunteer for a nonprofit organization down the street and feed the homeless or do something that's outside of yourself and be a service. Go read a book or educate your mind. Get off the couch, go learn something new. Get off the couch, go march in the street. Get off the couch, go have a conversation with someone who's completely different from you, grew up somewhere else, different colored skin, different religion, different everything. Go ask them about themselves. Learn about them.” If someone's telling you to do that, and you want to sit on your couch and keep watching reality TV, stay in your little comfort zone… Yeah, you're going to be pissed. You're gonna be pissed at me right now for telling you it. You're going to be completely pissed. 

It's easy to follow someone on social media, who isn't telling you to do anything. They're just saying, look at me, look at this. Look at this yacht I'm on. That's what it is. That's what we all follow. I mean who are we joking here? It's easy to follow those type of people. I mean the over idolization of celebrities is a real thing. And I'll tell you a little story personally, when I did that. 

When I was about 19, I got the opportunity to meet a musician who was world-famous. He was a... he was a rock star. I'm not going to say his name, protect his identity in case he sees this and sends a hitman after me. Just kidding. But anyways, I idolized this guy a little bit, you know? I was young. (I'm still young, but I was younger.) And, you know, he wrote a lot of good songs; he wrote songs with spiritual meaning. He even wrote songs that inspired people, millions of people. And I thought that he was more spiritually conscious than he was based upon his songwriting. Through a connection of mine, a friend, I get a backstage pass to meet this person. Long story short, he turns out to be a small-minded, very, very fundamental person and because of that, it completely prevented his ability to connect with me or anybody around him because they didn't have the same viewpoints as him. And so he was actually a separator of people, not a connector. He wasn't inspiring people. He wasn't walking the talk, like his songs and the lyrics in his songs. Because when it came down to it, and it came down to midnight after his concert and backstage, because of his religious mindset, because of his small-minded, dogmatic thinking, he didn't want to connect in a certain way with people who did not view life, the same way that he did. Now, that may be a common thing, but for me in that moment, I was actually surprised because what he put out to the world was contradictory to his actual actions. And so right then my false-admiration (overadmiration) of him went out the window. I lost respect for him. 

This happens all the time. I've met a lot of people who are considered celebrities and when you get to know them, you lose respect for them because they don't walk the talk. Not all, but some. But the thing is, when you over idolize somebody, you create a separation from yourself and them and your ability to connect with them. It actually sends a message that you're not good enough, and that they're better than you. They're not better than you. They may be more talented than you in a certain area that you want to have talent. So if you're a musician, you're a great guitar player. You idolize an incredible guitar player. You idolize, you know, Stevie Ray Vaughn, you know? Yeah. He technically is incredibly talented. He is a master at his actual craft of playing the guitar. You idolize that talent, you respect as a talent and ability, but do you idolize him? as a being? as a personality? 

You see, we have to have these separations. We  have to be clear. You can respect a man's talents and abilities; doesn't mean he, as a personality, is an idol, is an example of a good man, is an example. And so that's what we do as celebrities and rock stars.

We love the music. They sing a great song. They're a great singer. Does that mean the actions in their lives are something we want to role model? Does it mean the actions in their lives, we want our kids to be following suite in? Drinking. Drugging. You know, living immoral lives, going around, not caring about our actions, hurting other people, being presumptuous. I've known these rock stars too. So, you know, this is just a message to remember to delineate and have a perspective on respecting the talent of somebody and their personality. Stop idolizing them. Stop having the false idols. 

To go to the big time, the true idol, and the true hero really should be the person and the people in your lives who hold you accountable. Think about that. If you don't have someone in your life who's holding you accountable, to be better, to grow, to change…  Then you need to find someone. That's your mentor. That's your spiritual elder. That's your teacher. It's your guru. It's whatever you want to call it wherever you are in the world. But it's okay to have someone who knows more than you. It's okay to have someone who guides you - and it's actually better than okay, it's needed. 

But again, we live in a society where no one can tell you anything. You know, you're 25 years old and you're an entrepreneur. You're an influencer. You're a life coach, 25 years old, you're a life coach teaching other people. You know, I may be here sharing my heart. I am certainly never going to tell someone I'm a life coach. I'm still trying to figure out life. Life has backhanded me. Life has picked me up and dropped me off a cliff. Life is, you know, done a lot to me. Life has also blessed me. All I can talk about is my personal experiences, the wisdom that I have attained through what I've gone through, how it worked for me. Maybe it'll work for you and translate. 

It's hilarious going on Instagram and seeing the life coach pages. I mean these kids, I mean, they've never been married, not that married... But they'd never even, you know, they haven't done things in life. They've never had a business. They’re living out of their van. And, they’ve glorified the whole van life. They're so cool ‘cause they're living out of their Sprinter van with their laptop and they're a life coach and they travel around and teach people how to live life. I mean, it's great. It's cool that they want to inspire, but don't be fooled by them either. Don’t be fooled by your little Instagram influencer crowd. You know find, again, the real people. That guy who is mowing your lawn probably has more to teach you about life than the 25 year old who's living out of his van, in a lot of ways. 

Not that the 25 year old can't teach you something, but really... What's his life experience? What’s his wisdom? Has he suffered enough? Suffering brings wisdom. It really does. And we live in a society where people run from discomfort. They run from suffering. They just run from anything that doesn't feel good. They want instant gratification. The materialism is off the hook. They want to just live in a nice, comfortable little bubble.

People who've had to struggle and suffer and face adversity and overcome challenges have more wisdom to offer you than the 25 year old with a million followers on Instagram because they take a nice selfie on every summit around the world, and then write a nice little 27 letter inspirational quote with their photo about never giving up on your life dreams. Seriously. It's all nice and lovely, but is it really inspiring you? Or is it just making you want to be them? There's a difference. Are you inspired by them or do you want to be on that cliff and New Zealand overlooking the ocean, just like they are? There's a difference between wanting what they have and being inspired. Because it doesn't inspire me. What inspires me is a servant. What inspires me is the teacher down the street or the nurse down the street. The people who are actually more selfless, who were actually imparting something upon another human being and changing their lives. That photo of that gorgeous couple on the cliff in New Zealand?

It didn't change my heart. Didn't change my soul. It actually made me feel like I was missing out on something glorious. And that's not good because that doesn't create a feeling of inspiration. It makes you feel like, when you're sitting on the subway in New York city and you're scrolling on Instagram and you see that photo, it makes you feel like you're failing because you're not on that cliff. You're not with the pretty girl on the cliff, looking out over New Zealand. You're getting off your nine-hour shift. You're on the subway and you're going home, back to your apartment in the projects, and you're tired, and you must be failing at life because you don't have what they have. Let's get real, man. That's what it makes you feel like. 

But that's not actually how you should feel because you are trying and that's not how you should feel because you don't have what they have. And so if you actually followed people who were encouraging you and helping you to grow and change your environment, you wouldn't feel that way. You'd feel inspired. You'd be proud of your job. You'd be proud that you were a man or woman who is doing what you need to do to survive and take care of your family and go to work, and actually be something in your life and not just desire, you know, whatever these illusions of what accomplishment is.

Let's bring it back to the spiritual principles here, spiritual principles. Respecting and following people who bring us closer to an understanding of what we want. What's our Destiny Purpose? Where are we going, you know? Follow people who inspire you to find meaning in your life and pursue something outside yourself; spiritual elders, teachers. I'm blessed to have them. Every show I talk about it. That’s because I wouldn't be who I am (not that I'm somebody amazing) but I wouldn't be who I am right now, and I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing right now if I didn't have spiritual teachers; starting, as always, with my parents, Gabriel of Urantia and Niann Emerson Chase. Really simple, my father has been my teacher, he’s been my drill sergeant, he's been my general, he's been my everything. Same with my mother. And so, you may not have that father, but find that teacher, start reading, start following people who are talking a little more consciousness. They're not just showing photos of drinking their margaritas on the yacht, because that's not going to help you be a better person. It's not going to help you accomplish your dreams. It's not inspiring. Let's just all get real about that. Following all of these accounts with the people live in the supposedly life of bliss doesn't really inspire. It makes you jealous. It makes you feel inadequate and it makes you feel like you're missing out on their glorious lifestyle. Meanwhile, most of them are trustafarians, never had to work a day in their life. So think about that. Do you respect that? I don't know.

Anyways guys… False idols. True heroes. The heroes are the servants of others. They’re the people who do things for humanity outside themselves. They're the people who are, you know, not trying to seek fame, basically. They live humble lives and there's millions of them. They live humble, quiet lives of service to others and they're good, honest people. 

You know, I've often said the true heroes are the nurses, the teachers, the social workers, the people who spend their lives in service to others. Honestly, I've unfortunately had quite a few hospital stays. That's another story; a lot of injuries in life. Livin’ life large. But those nurses are people who are caring outside of themselves. You know we lose sight of the simplicity of a giving heart and the beauty of it. We lose sight of someone who is capable of truly caring about a perfect stranger in front of them, more than themselves. That is a virtue. That is an asset that I appreciate and value more, much more than somebody's acting abilities, than somebody's musical abilities, and somebody's talk show host abilities. You know, all of these celebrities that we follow for whatever supposed abilities they have. Think about it. The teachers who are underpaid, underappreciated, they're the ones teaching your children, right now, about life. They're the ones who are giving energy and time. My mom was a teacher for years and years and years. The amount of effort and energy that she would have to put into classrooms with 30 kids to truly teach them and care about them, care about their wellbeing, is tremendous. Did she go home and have 20,000 people like her Instagram posts at the end of the day?  No.  You know what I'm saying?

So, think about it, I mean, what am I asking you to do? I'm asking you to, after you see this, maybe call up your old teacher, thank them for what they did for you; for inspiring you. Maybe call up a nurse. Maybe call up somebody who's not on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook with hundreds of thousands of followers, and why don't you go in real life ‘Like’ somebody else? Like them in the moment by appreciating them and telling them what they did for you, how they help you, how they helped your family member. Show the appreciation in a tangible, real way. Not the little ‘heart.’ Not the little ‘thumbs up,’ but in a real way. Those are the people who need to be getting attention and recognition and respect from you. Not the Kardashians of the world. That's the message. The message is find someone, most importantly, who brings you to a higher spiritual consciousness, a higher spiritual place. Follow them and their teachings, their writings. Whatever they're doing or saying… you know, it may not always be a hundred percent, nobody's perfect, but it's going to be better than, “Hey guys! I'm on the yacht in The Bahamas, drinking a margarita and life is so amazing! And you can have this too if you just follow my six step program” or whatever they're trying to sell you. 

Go outside, talk to the guy mowing your lawn. Ask him about his life. You'll be surprised how blessed you are. I’m Amadon DellErba. This is Get Real or Die Trying, episode 13.

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