Thursday, July 16, 2020

Consumerism is Not Creativity

Posting something on Facebook is not being creative.

I mentioned before that in our consumerist culture, they want us to think that our brand choices and purchases are an indication of our personality, and that by the nature of our consumption we define ourselves.  God forbid, we should create something ourselves - that would threaten the consumer culture at its base.   Don't make things - not even your own meals.  Stick with the tried-and-true - the fast-food take-out meal!

You think I am being facetious, a lot of people live this way.  Their only "creativity" in life is posting on Facebook a photo of a meal they bought at a restaurant, or their scathing review on Yelp! of some place they didn't like.  To them, life is a series of menus, and your creative choice in life is how you select from those menus.  It is a false choice, however.

As I noted before, posting things on Facebook is like playing a piano with only four keys.   You may think you are being "creative" but in fact, you are following a well-worn path that was designed for you - to get you to think you had an original idea, when in fact, you were coerced into it.  It is akin to how Disney puts their rides in a certain order, so when you leave one ride, you see a small sign for the next one, and think that you "discovered" it - "Hey everyone, let's go on this ride next!  Right this way!"

It is genius and I am not taking a piss on Disney here - they are doing a great form of crowd control and are experts at it.  They want you to think you are making spontaneous decisions, when in fact you are being corralled.  I am sure the cattle at the slaughterhouse think that going up the chute is an idea they had on their own as well.

What got me started on this was how some ladies in the Parcheezi club have definite ideas about how things are to be done - and will go on, at length about it, on Facebook - but haven't played Parcheezi in ages.  "There are too many people in the club!" they continually whine, even as they never show up for the games or tournaments.  They also aren't willing to volunteer to do things, but would rather just critique what others have done, from the safety of their Facebook page.

It is like the lady Mark met at one of the art shows on the island.  She complained that the art on display was not "art" but "craft" and not up to her standards.   Mark's quick reply was, "Well, when is your next show?"  In other words, this lady felt that being a critic was all the creative input she needed to provide.  Creating actual art - or even craft - was beneath her.  Her job in life was to critique and evaluate - to assign one-to-five stars, or give a "like" or "share".  Hey, that's hard enough, right?  I mean, she's already Facebooking four hours a day as it is!

Yet so many people do this, and I am not taking a piss on them, either - they have been lead into this trap by the television and the media, including Facebook.  People have become more passive and less creative, and more critical and judgmental.   For many people, the most creative thing they do all day long is send a meal back at a restaurant or harangue the server.  They realize they are powerless and lack creativity and thus take it out on clerks and waiters. These are the folks who think, "the customer is always right" and use this as their mantra.

Enter Karen.  The Karen meme has probably been overdone, but I suspect that this set of cultural values is what has created the Karens of the world (and Kevins).   When your life is reduced to a set of consumer choices - what to buy, what to wear, what to eat - as opposed to creative choices - what to make, what to do, what to prepare - you end up with no power in your life. Learned helplessness rears its ugly head.

The Karens of the world (and Kevins) don't feel entitled, they are scared to death.   They are weak - weak as kittens.   They realize they are powerless in the world, and other than having a small amount of money to use to force others to do their bidding (sell them crap or make their food) they would have no innate talents or abilities to survive.  And I am not kidding about this - I know people who literally cannot cook a meal for themselves if they were forced to.   Even boiling an egg is beyond their comprehension.  Such people are depressed and depressed people make excellent consumers - and critics.

It is all by design.

How do you avoid this trap?  Stop Facebooking.  Stop leaving reviews.  Stop looking at life as a menu of choices or brand affiliations or influencers to follow, but rather as things you can do and create.   Making things with your hands and your mind is the best way to avoid depression.   Most people in America are depressed, living in the wealthiest country in the world.  Why?  Because they are living in the wealthiest country in the world.   They don't have to struggle, they don't have to create or innovate - and they are jealous of those who do and reap the rewards of creativity.   The best most can be is a "fan" of an artist, celebrity, or famous inventor or businessperson.  That, or try to tear them down.

But on a smaller scale we can create things, make things, fix things, write, paint, sculpt, repair, build, or whatever.  No matter how small, even the tiniest amount of creation is far better than the most witty of critiques.   But rest assured, no matter what you create, there will be a Karen willing to tell you that it is crap.  Just nod your head and remember, Karens never create a damn thing, themselves.