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Eróstrato syndrome: doing crazy things to become famous

Eróstrato syndrome: doing crazy things to become famous

July 14, 2024

It is known that social relationships change the deepest aspects of our way of being. Thanks to the existence of others, for example, we learn the ability to use language, thanks to which we are able to think and even to develop an identity, a concept of "I".

However, sometimes, the existence of a civilization in which standing out from the crowd is considered a feat can lead to behaviors that are at best outlandishly bizarre and, in the worst case, criminal. This phenomenon by which some people decide to do anything, however extreme, to become famous, it can be called Eróstrato syndrome .


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Who was Eróstrato?

Eróstrato was a Greek shepherd originally from the city of Ephesus. But unlike other great historical figures of Ancient Greece, he was neither a renowned intellectual, like Plato or Aristotle, nor a politician and military man like Pericles, nor a reputed merchant.

If today we know that during the Hellenic world of the fourth century BC. C. there was a specific man called Eróstrato is because he wanted to be remembered for millennia. To go down in history, the Greek Eróstrato decided to burn one of the most beautiful monuments of the Mediterranean: the temple of Artemis of Ephesus, one of the seven wonders of the world .


Although knowing the motivations of this humble pastor was forbidden the mention or registration of his name to prevent future generations from knowing of its existence, the result jumps at sight: Eróstrato wanted fame at any price, and not even the more terrifying threats prevented him from achieving his goal; far from stopping his popularity, the prohibitions fed his legend.

A case of Streisand effect

The phenomenon by which a prohibited information is disseminated precisely because of the prohibition imposed on it is called the Streisand effect. The case of Eróstrato fits perfectly into what centuries after his life and death was known by the singer's surname, but that is not what draws the attention of Greek history.

What is fascinating is that, on the one hand, someone can get to guide all their life towards the attainment of fame, on the one hand, and that this can come in a way as tragic as, in reality, easy: the only price to pay is life itself.


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The Eróstrato syndrome reaches today

Unfortunately, there are currently two conditions that make the story of Eróstrato can be repeated many times, thus giving the Eróstrato syndrome.

On the one hand, globalization makes the distance between anonymous citizens and celebrities is immense : it is impressive to think about the number of people who know about references such as Shakespeare or, in recent years, Lady Gaga and the like. On the other hand, there are a large number of people who live in apathy or in a degree of alienation that can promote the perception of social recognition as the maximum objective that can be aspired to.

Actually, the society of the spectacle, in which it is easy to obtain fame by means of fast acts, relatively free of effort and impacting, makes the Eróstrato syndrome easily targeted: fame arrives, if one wants.

It is possible to create viral phenomena, acts that occupy the covers of many web pages and newspapers, and all this simply moved by the fact that they wanted to be there. Other people see it, observe how the one who has sought popularity has achieved it, and take note of it. This, on the other hand, is a mechanism that serves both for more or less innocuous acts, such as creating a funny video, as for those who cause pain, such as certain types of attacks .

The same society that teaches that taking care of others is desirable, gives the tools so that everyone knows that personal story (or a distorted version of it, but a story of its own, after all). Social networks burn, newspapers spread all kinds of related information, and there are even ways to make the legend pass from word of mouth through the use of mobile phones or even live transmission.

It is clear that you can not control what others think of you, but to a certain extent you can get sneak into the torrent of thoughts of others , to break into the consciences of others even though those others have not sought it. That's why Eróstrato's story is still relevant today.

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