Do you remember your 5th grade Greek Mythology lessons? The Greeks always had a mythical moral tale to explain what offends the gods. I was always intrigued by the story of Icarus and his wax wings, defying his father and flying too close to the sun, and falling into death and ruin. So yesterday, when it was revealed that Pete Rose bet on baseball as both player AND manager, I couldn't help but think of the long line of people who have fallen into ruin through their own hubris. Franklin Roosevelt was never as successful in passing legislation after he tried to pack the Supreme Court. George Patton should have been revered as our greatest 20th century general, but he believed he was immune from bad behavior. Richard Nixon crushed George McGovern in the '72 Presidential election but he wanted more...to destroy...and he needed Watergate to make that happen. Slick Willie Clinton believed his great good fortune that capital gains profits from the internet boom allowed him to balance the budget, also believed that he could get blow jobs in the Oval Office without consequences nearly did him in. He was saved only by the fact that American morals had declined so precipitously that too few Americans cared about the sanctity of the White House anymore. And now we have an ineffective and bumbling community organizer as President who is the poster child for hubris. Funk and Wagnalls dictionary will no doubt post his pic next to the word on their next publication date.
And, it seems no matter how many times notables and celebrities are brought down, no one seems to have learned a lesson from it. In sports we had arrogant and vicious Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemmons and Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa, all great players, resort to cheating in order to rise even higher. We see it in rap artists....multimillionaires....whose millions never seem to make them content. Instead they resort to wallowing in violence and the demeaning of the soul.
What we, as mere mortals, need to take from this is that money and fame do not guarantee happiness. Nor does living a life totally free of moral values does not bring happiness. The only sure thing to guarantee a life of contentment is to find your "moral center" and abide by it. One does not even have to adhere to a religious code. Thank goodness our God instilled in us the ability to know what is right and wrong...all we need do is listen to our own hearts and try our best to do what we know is right...and avoid as much as possible doing what we clearly know is wrong.
We see an Icarus nearly every day....from an internet story, or from reading the headlines of our local newspaper. Why is it so damn hard for us to learn from all these celebrity failures...these wild rides on wax wings? If we ever hope to be happy we've got to dampen down all the "white noise"...from celebrities, from politicians...and pay a little more attention to what our hearts are telling us.