In the 1970s Stewart Brand and I frequently discussed the issue of fame and celebrity-hood.
Stewart chose fame and defended it because it made life easier when he wanted to contact and deal with important and prominent people. He was right. He never had trouble phoning a prominent person and getting directly through to that person.
I argued that anonymity was necessary and vital for me as a social organizer. I could not be known for taking credit for the work and organizing that I did. I had to distribute credit widely in order to get people to join with me in my organizing efforts.
There is an additional argument that I would add 40 years later. Having a life outside the spotlight has given me the option to think far outside the box of traditional mainstream concerns. Because I don't associate with many people who are important and overbearing I can let my thoughts wander and explore creatively. That is not an option for even a brilliant person who is famous.
There is an additional argument for Stewart. When I was in Tokyo a few weeks ago with shoulder pain I phoned my doctor in San Francisco who is a world famous traveling lecturer on internal medicine. He was worried that I might have had a heart attack so he sent me to a hospital where he teaches in Tokyo. The staff immediately recognized his name and treated me like royalty. Complete check-up. No heart problems.
Chalk that up for the value of fame. I benefited from my doctor’s fame.