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Old 2010-07-15, 12:53   Link #1
Ricky Controversy
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People Who Inspire

This thread is for talking about figures of historical or current prominence whose lives or works have had special meaning for you: figures that inspire or incite somehow. Fictional characters are acceptable.

For the sake of focus, let's refrain from discussing family members or friends. I'm sure many of you have had family and friends that have had inspirational roles in your lives, but my intent with this thread is to promote discussion of iconic figures as an inroad to discussing the ideas, places and times they were/are iconic of.

Let's also avoid posting anything inflammatory. Remember that the lessons you have drawn from a great or prominent person are not absolute, nor are they the only lessons anyone can draw from them. Discuss the facts of their lives as facts, but if someone disagrees with you in discussion of the interpretations or vice-versa, treat them with respect.

Finally, let's keep this limited to people you find inspirational--be it inspiring you to be like them, inspiring you to be unlike them, inspiring you to pursue some dream, etc.--instead of just 'this person is interesting.'

That being said, I will kick things off with an example.

Charles Dickens has been a very inspirational figure in my life. A prolific and tremendously accomplished writer, his works entered my life for the first time when I was eight years old. I completed my first read through of his semi-autobiographical novel David Copperfield in three days because I could not put that book down.

I was struck by how powerfully moral the story was, and I appreciated the distinction between moral and merely 'moralizing'. He conveyed many lessons through a very humble exploration of human interactions, forgoing the heavy-handedness of most writers with something to say. Everything was believable, and everything was incredibly alive to me for it. What's more, despite the huge risk involved in drawing so directly from the self for one's art--which most writers will offset by lionizing themselves in various ways--he was content to have the tale stand for itself.

I had always been writing before that. According to my family, I wrote my first original stories when I was three, and was verbally telling lengthy stories at the age of two. But it wasn't until I read that book that I realized it was in my heart to write my own novels some day.
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Last edited by Ricky Controversy; 2010-07-15 at 13:12.
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Old 2010-07-15, 14:41   Link #2
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Oh-ho, Congratulations on this thread. I'll go on and do mine, then.



Oda Nobunaga, Sengoku Period - He was a revolutionist, he was a progressive mind (...with an albeit 'unsound' mind for his era). He influences the world even today - What they called him was Owari No Outsuke; The Fool of Owari.

He showed that tradition isn't everything, and traditions needed to change with time. His battle tactics were implemented on strategy - and what more, he created a system that based a person on skill, not because of their bloodline. I find him inspirational because during his era, he was revolutionary and intelligent.
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Old 2010-07-16, 10:34   Link #3
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There's plenty. Shoko Nakagawa and Richard Feymann are at the top of my list.
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Old 2010-07-16, 12:07   Link #4
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Dr. Ron Paul.
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Old 2010-07-16, 12:16   Link #5
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I've always admired Amelia Earhart, even when I was young. The fact that she was willing to do things many other people found impossible, and that she opened up pathways that others hadn't even thought of before, is something that's always inspired me. That and she knew of her own limitations and still strived to do better.
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Old 2010-07-16, 19:06   Link #6
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Charlie Chaplin.
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Old 2011-04-15, 23:55   Link #7
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Lightbulb People Who Inspire You? Lookup too or is your Hero?

I've had alot of people inspire me! It used to be in Athletics and famous Athletes in football that really motivated me to do things, also I was pretty inspired from characters in a few Animes I've watched, then for some reason a chapter in my life changed and I went back to my childhood roots of Music which once again became my true inspiration, especially The Beatles and Paul McCartney. They really inspire, and motivate me too make music like them, and somehow just somehow be big just like them. Thus me practicing and studying music everyday . They really do inspire me, and I lookup to them as Heroes. They've got me through some lonely times in my life through there music. Kinda changed who I am

Last edited by Afternoon Tea; 2011-04-16 at 15:15.
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Old 2011-04-16, 00:24   Link #8
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A major inspirational character for me would be John "Big Boss" Doe. Always fight for what you believe in, no matter what it costs you or how long it takes.
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Old 2011-04-16, 00:40   Link #9
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The major players (who helped mold me into who I am today):

Athletes:

Sergio Oliva (I'm not gay, but he is one sexy man!):

Spoiler for I mean Dahmn!:


Lee Haney:

Spoiler for Eat your heart out Ahnold!:


Lou Farrigno:
Spoiler for Hulk Smash!!!:


Frank Zane:
Spoiler for Mr. Body sculpture.:


Okay, enough of the guy pics.

Spiritually (The Top 3): Aryeh Kaplan, Moses Maimonides, Aleister Crowley.

Philosophically: Mortimer J. Adler, William James, John Locke.

Economically: Ludwig Vonmises, Adam Smith, August VonHayek, Robert Owens, Fredrich Engles.

Politically: Saul Alinsky, Thomas Jefferson, Carroll Quigley, Cecil Rhodes, W. Cleon Skousen, George Bernard Shaw, and Socrates.

Literary influence: John W. Campbell, H.P. Lovecraft, H. G. Wells, Danielle Steel, and A. E. Von Vogt.

Scientifically: Dr. Michio Kaku, Carl Sagan, Steven Hawking, and Michael Talbot.

I'd say that covers most of the "who's who" that have influenced my life and how I live it.
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Old 2011-04-16, 00:46   Link #10
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Jonas Salk is as close to a hero for me as you're going to get. "In 1948, he undertook a project funded by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis to determine the number of different types of polio virus. Salk saw an opportunity to extend this project towards developing a vaccine against polio, and, together with the skilled research team he assembled, devoted himself to this work for the next seven years. The field trial set up to test the Salk vaccine was, according to O'Neill, "the most elaborate program of its kind in history, involving 20,000 physicians and public health officers, 64,000 school personnel, and 220,000 volunteers." Over 1,800,000 school children took part in the trial. When news of the vaccine's success was made public on April 12, 1955, Salk was hailed as a "miracle worker", and the day "almost became a national holiday." His sole focus had been to develop a safe and effective vaccine as rapidly as possible, with no interest in personal profit. When he was asked in a televised interview who owned the patent to the vaccine, Salk replied: "There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?"" - Wikipedia Article on Jonas Salk

Polio was a serious problem back before Jonas Salk developed a vaccine for it. It is aptly described in saying that my mom remembers not being allowed to drink out of water fountains and similar situations due to her parent's fears of her contracting it. He is undeniably a hero and paragon of humanity. If I were a believer in God, and not in humanity, I would say that this man out of so many that have lived deserves a heaven. Maybe I'm overreacting, but you may get a gist of how I feel about this man if you consider the effect it had on post-war USA, the sheer horror of it all.
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Old 2011-04-16, 01:06   Link #11
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Oddly enough, I do not idolize, nor do I feel particularly inspired by anyone.

I live for myself, because of myself.

Granted, there are many important people I believe made a significant contribution to society, but I don't really (and never really understood) engage in hero worship.
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Old 2011-04-16, 01:26   Link #12
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Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins (and of course the Support Crew and Flight Directors). It is hard to convey the true impact of the Apollo 11 mission, in fact I still think we haven't fully understood just what the Apollo 11 mission meant, but these three men did something so momentous and so awe-inspiring that it is easy to say that human history changed on July 20, 1969.

There are plenty of influences in/on my life, but these three men and their accomplishment is one of the few events/ideas that I can claim actually inspire me to be a better human (even if I purposely idealize just why they went to the Moon ).
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Old 2011-04-16, 01:28   Link #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james0246 View Post
Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins (and of course the Support Crew and Flight Directors). It is hard to convey the true impact of the Apollo 11 mission, in fact I still think we haven't fully understood just what the Apollo 11 mission meant, but these three men did something so momentous and so awe-inspiring that it is easy to say that human history changed on July 20, 1969.
This reminds me. You know what I hate? People who think the moon landing was a hoax. By engaging in that stupidity, they spit on the great achievements these guys made.

Plus, seriously, I mean... not just anyone can go around and say "HEY I'VE WALKED ON THE MOON!"

I would totally go to the moon just so I could say that.
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Old 2011-04-16, 05:14   Link #14
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I've always felt a lot of love for the underdogs, but Eugene V. Debs in particular has always been an inspiration to me. He wasn't the deepest thinker, often came up short in his struggles, and did fall victim to many of the nuances of his time--but he fought on, always, and he was sincere about his beliefs. My respect extends to many other names of the time and to all the organizers or speakers or strikers, agitators, whose names have been lost in obscurity.
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Old 2011-04-16, 08:01   Link #15
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He may have massacred entire cities, but I have to say Alexander the Great.

The man is fascinating, and if you ever read anything written about it him he seems utterly ingenious and heroic. As a military leader he was both tactically ingenious, and also an inspirational leader, in that he always lead his troops from the front.

The number of anecdotes that exist about him is unsurpassed. Things like:

Cutting the Gordion Knot (It was said anyone who undid the Gordion Knot would conquer all Asia, he simply cut through it)

Conquering New Tyre (Alexander had a neglible fleet, and Tyre was on an island, so he built a causeway out to it, in effect making it into a peninsula. The city is still a peninsula to this day.

Refusing water in the march across the Makran desert (he made an error of marching across the desert, about half his army died from lack of food and water. When he was offered a helmetful of water by his soldiers he refused it, and ate and drank with his soldiers).

It's difficult to know how much of any of these is true, but certainly he became a mythic figure. When it comes to leadership, Alexander is a good man to study.
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Old 2011-04-16, 08:09   Link #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
Oddly enough, I do not idolize, nor do I feel particularly inspired by anyone.

I live for myself, because of myself.

Granted, there are many important people I believe made a significant contribution to society, but I don't really (and never really understood) engage in hero worship.
Same here. Of course, there are plenty of people I think set an amazing example, like Carl Sagan. I've just never found myself looking up to or idolizing anyone in particular.

Quote:
Originally Posted by donquigleone View Post
He may have massacred entire cities, but I have to say Alexander the Great.

The man is fascinating, and if you ever read anything written about it him he seems utterly ingenious and heroic. As a military leader he was both tactically ingenious, and also an inspirational leader, in that he always lead his troops from the front.

The number of anecdotes that exist about him is unsurpassed. Things like:

Cutting the Gordion Knot (It was said anyone who undid the Gordion Knot would conquer all Asia, he simply cut through it)

Conquering New Tyre (Alexander had a neglible fleet, and Tyre was on an island, so he built a causeway out to it, in effect making it into a peninsula. The city is still a peninsula to this day.

Refusing water in the march across the Makran desert (he made an error of marching across the desert, about half his army died from lack of food and water. When he was offered a helmetful of water by his soldiers he refused it, and ate and drank with his soldiers).

It's difficult to know how much of any of these is true, but certainly he became a mythic figure. When it comes to leadership, Alexander is a good man to study.
I find Alexander (and many other historical figures) fascinating as well, but like you said, it's hard to truly know the man from the historical facts, and the perhaps mythical anecdotes. We can be certain Alexander was a brilliant tactician and likely incredibly charismatic to rally his troops to the extend he did. But beyond that it's hard to know what type of man he was.
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Old 2011-04-16, 14:56   Link #17
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Originally Posted by ChainLegacy View Post
Same here. Of course, there are plenty of people I think set an amazing example, like Carl Sagan. I've just never found myself looking up to or idolizing anyone in particular.
I don't understand idolization either. It's a weird concept to me. There are people who have left me awe struck, such as Carl Sagan or Jonas Salk, but are they my idols? I wouldn't say so. I feel it is different from that. Who can't respect a man like Jonas Salk for his work? The fear of polio is something that recent generations have been spared in the western world, yet I've seen how it affected people both emotionally and physically. I'm sure many people have, and we can all be thankful to Jonas Salk and his team of researchers that our generations have been spared it.

Carl Sagan? What does anybody need to say of Carl Sagan? He put our world in perspective and made me dream of the future and space. I smile whenever he is mentioned.
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Old 2011-04-16, 15:20   Link #18
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If you want to see what Carl Sagan contributed to the world of science, read the Demon Haunted World, you'll like it.
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