HEATHER Robertson does well to situate the doping scandal in a wider context in her piece "Testosterone in overdrive”.
I suggest that we are all partly responsible for this particular malaise. We worship conspicuous success. It is no coincidence that a televised talent contest is called Idols. Sports stars, celebrities and business tycoons are our gods, and we kneel at their altars, hanging onto their every word in televised interviews and in the columns of glossy magazines.
As consumers we have helped create a cult of hubristic neon-lit over-achievement.
We gleefully subscribe to televised sport and buy brands endorsed by the famous. We celebrate a culture in which there are winners and losers and all activity is reduced to a zero-sum game.
We promote a relentlessly competitive ethos in schools, universities, awards ceremonies and in the obsession with "rankings”.
What the Greeks called "agon” (contest) was once a means to an end, a way of attaining excellence. Now it is an end in itself.
We are evidently so frustrated and disappointed with our own lives that we turn to the example of people like Lance Armstrong, and then we are disappointed when they turn out to be desperate and shameless mortals.
The irony is that it is the public that feeds and nurtures their fathomless narcissism.
LEVELLER (name supplied), Grahamstown