Sunday, January 27, 2013

Moral of the Armstrong story.

The scandals of Tiger woods (who had squeaky clean image) Bill Clinton and even more recently and closely the spectacular fall of Rajat Gupta make one wonder whether the proverb "you can fool some of the people all  the time,you can fool all the people some of the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time", is really true at all.These were people who had everything most people think or dream of, they were the epitomes of  a public image and what we come to know in the end is that they were just fooling all the people all the time.

We need heroes.There is no denying it.there is almost a natural tendency in humans to look up to someone,to pull you up in tough times and Lance Armstrong was born for it.The great American hero, the cancer survivor ,seven time Tour de France winner, philanthropist, a larger than life image, a fairytale  too good to be true, a living legend.

That is why his fall from grace hits even harder.

I remember we used to have a moral science chapter about real life heroes and Armstrong was it looks odd (for lack of a better word) that we used to study his heroics as apart of our syllabus.I don't know if the book is still on but consider a boy who has just read about him and learns of his doping....

The fact that he could fool so many people for such a long period of time is really awe inspiring.Armstrong never accepted that he doped even when people wrote books about it or when his team mates alleged it,he even sued people for alleging doping on him.One can not help but feel  hatred for someone who harassed other people for speaking the truth,who used to visit children and deliver inspiring speeches when he himself was the God of sleaze.The amount of goodwill,trust and hope that people invested in him, in his image was tremendous and his fall has affected many not in the least the patients funded by his Livestrong foundation.Now that he has been caught he emerges a mere mortal, the deconstruction of his image shows a fallible human who did whatever he could to save himself.Even now; going to Oprah and making a show out of his confession does not improve his credentials,because thats what trust is about ,when you break it and at this level ;even the Queen of confessions can't save you.

The moral of the story in our moral science book was that hard work and strong will conquers all but the way things are this appears to be very far from truth.The moral seems to be that deceit and treachery wins all,that in this world you can get away with any thing you do,and that even a 7 time cycle champ cant be trusted to be honest and real,that this world has come to such a point that when we look for inspiration what we see as role models  are just carefully cultivated charades of people with money and a good PR agent.

Or that moral can be that while looking for inspiration we should not look up to someone but to our own self,to the innate belief in one,that we should not judge other people simply because its an impossible act to perform,that when we decide our morals we should not need the help of someone else.Whatever Armstrong might have done in the races the fact remains that he did beat cancer fair and square,that what he achieved still remains something most people fail to do, that his will and determination did indeed succeed at something,that he did raise $500 million for cancer patients.

May be the true moral is somewhere in between, somewhere between the extremes, somewhere between black and white, somewhere between the pessimism and the optimism....... like everything else in life.