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Trying to cope with the fact that he has done quite well for himself, having accumulated massive amounts of wealth, respect, Twitter followers — whatever measurement you want. You could subject yourself and your beliefs to a harsh cross-examination. if you’ve done well in life, because then you feel like the world has validated you, and so your whole self-image is thoroughly and inextricably entangled in your success.And all of a sudden people are coming out of the woodwork to criticise him. You end up believing that the world is meritocratic and that you succeeded because of something immanently great about you.To kill your heroes means killing the idea that they are heroes.
I don’t think I’m alone in saying that Paul Graham used to be one of my heroes.
My memories of my first steps into the world of software development are no longer crisp.
They were the gateway to a more vibrant and meaningful world that I, trapped in a high school I hated and feeling alienated from my peers, could only dream of.
They appealed to me on a level that I can’t really put into words and frankly feel embarrassed thinking about, even now.
You’re left believing you’re a kind of hero, making the world a better place by unleashing the wealth creation power of startups.
Anyone who challenges this narrative is challenging your very conception of who you are.A status quo which, right now, is riddled with injustice.This isn’t just an overreaction to a single, harmless tweet.But I think that on some level, deep down, he’s afraid that the criticism is right.I think that part of him looks around from his rarefied heights at what he’s accumulated and accomplished, and suspects that , not the other way around.Convenient for you, harmful for anyone who has a reason to be emotional about something.You know, anyone who might be facing any sort of threat or oppression or injustice, who is unable to detach from their pain enough to speak about it calmly. And so the result of this line of thinking is to justify the status quo.Most of all, Paul Graham’s essays, because he had managed to translate software competency into real-world success.I remember two Paul Graham essays that particularly resonated with me — Hackers and Painters, and Why Nerds Are Unpopular.So you should take that into consideration when listening to them.And look, it’s It’s obviously not true axiomatically, and it’s not hard to think of counterexamples.