The author of these lines, T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) was a modernist poet who lived through both world wars, and these lines were most presumably influenced by the characters of the World wars and about how the world leaders around the world sent young men to their early graves for their hunger for power and their selfish objectives disguised as patriotism. Apart from world wars, there are numerous other examples of blind abuse of power. History is filled with people who committed heinous crimes to attain or control their position of Importance. This is not only limited to modern history but is evident to be as old as human civilization.
The need for importance comes in the mind of people, it is deep-rooted in our human psychology as we are social animals and have been surviving and thriving in groups or societies where members look after and protect each other from outside threats. Such societies need a hierarchy to function where one or few people based on their capabilities are chosen for positions of importance and leadership and as the societies grew in size and complexity, the desire for Importance only grew with it.
A few common objectives to seek importance are power and influence, Social status and respect, financial opportunities, personal skills and experience, desire to make an impact.
People wanting to be important often cause most of the trouble in the world. People aspire to be seen, heard, and respected, and this desire can often result in suffering and destruction. Rather, we should be focusing on personal growth but not at the expense of others. We should have humility and compassion towards the less fortunate. We should work at building strong relationships and pursuing our passions, so we can develop a sense of importance and fulfilment in our life.
Finally concluded in the words of Walter H. Judd, “The important thing is not what we accumulate, but what we contribute.”