– Doc, doc, I got me a big problem right here! If I raise my arm like this, it really hurts!
– Then bloody stop raising your arm like that, ye bastard!
.. Of course, it gets better as a joke if it’s about Bono.
Are we making things complicated? Yes. Because we ignore the rules of logic, because we believe instead of thinking, things go from creating useful things and improving stuff we have to creating stuff we don’t need. We aren’t doing things because we should be doing them, we’re doing things because we can do them. Creation without purpose – the exact equality for knowledge without understanding. It’s not logical. It’s not useful. But we’re still doing it, after which we’ll just sit on our collective arses scratching our heads (or the other way around) and while thinking how to make people need what we’ve created. Creating need – it’s a very useful strategy in marketing these days.
Just because I’m dumb enough to bang my head on a tree, those around me try to pin a reason of my behavior. They don’t say “why?”, they assume I have a reason for it – the perfectly rational thing to do would be to stop me from hurting myself, but that would imply I’m somehow defective and this reasoning is tabu, it’s not politically correct, it’s not socially accepted – and in doing that they make up reasons, perfectly valid reasons from where they’re standing but incorrect none the less.
I’ve seen all sorts of crap pictured as art – from all-black or all-white paintings to throwing crap on a wall and yelling timber! – none of it makes sense from my point of view. I’m not really into modern types of art – I’d rather look at a Da Vinci drawing explaining parachutes or gliders than step into what people now call theatres doing various plays with various degrees of nudity in it (but I like nudity, just not as a tool of expression). I’ve been to older plays – I like theatre. To me, the purpose of art is to get me to think, not to make me ask for somebody else to explain it. A painting should make me ask myself why, not what. True, I’m one-of-a-kind; if there were more like me society would laugh all day. Why is the sky red? Why is the crow yellow? This sort of stuff I like, not asking myself what the hell is this blotch of paint supposed to be..
Art is art – subjective and misleading. My truth is almost always different than the truth of those around me. I can’t say if what I call crap is actually crap and not some brilliant thought inspiring artistic rendition of something that’s quite apparent to another fellow. My truth, my map is not universal. What bugs me to no end is the fact explaining this kind of crap (my opinion, could be diamonds for you) takes me away from looking for reasons and explanations (why is that this way?) and shoves me into something I can’t really control – you say this painting is an expression of sorrow, but then you won’t let me have my own explanation of what it represents, you’re telling me what I should be thinking. I don’t like people telling me what or how to think, unless I’m the one asking for advice.
I know, I know, most people love to be told how to think – if it comes from somebody they perceive as worthy of such power. If I tell you this painting is bad, you’ll look at me and say “Who the hell are you? Why would I believe you?”. If I tell you why I think this painting is bad, you won’t listen. Now if say The Times would put me on a cover saying I’m god’s gift to the world of art and you recognize me, you’d probably take a selfie with me. What changed your mind? A bloody newspaper. You probably didn’t read the article that tells you who I am, but believed the picture – hey, this guy is on the cover and the title says he’s famous – ergo, he knows shit. Well no, I don’t know shit. I know crap, but not shit, it’s a difference. Not an obvious one, but there’s still a difference between shit and crap.
It’s easy to make people believe – psychological manipulation is easier and easier every damn day. And you don’t have to resort to obvious tricks like the foot in the door or small favors to big demands – all you have to do is pay off somebody famous. Tell me, why would you wear an Apple watch? Especially one costing closer to a cheap car.. Is there a demand for expensive wall-sized curved 3D 4k television sets? What would you watch on something like that when you won’t get the news in HD, let alone 3D? What’s the bloody difference between a Samsung and a Sony top of the line smartphone? The design? Oooh, yea.. Only the design.
We don’t need such crap – we’re being told we need it. The manufacturers are creating the artificial need by getting influencers tell us that expensive crap is their identity and by getting the media to label them as “to die for”. Manufacturers make them, famous people adopt them and the media makes people famous so that we, the peasants, can crave and want to be them. We, the peasants, don’t have an identity – the media tells us what our identity should be and how to get it – be more like the singer X, or the actor Y.. Those singers, actors, influencers, whatever – they can’t be all that different, many even look the same – so they have to create their fame, through media, any way they can. They do this by way of controversy, by dressing differently (think Lady Gaga, now she’s funneh!), by saying stupid things, by scandals, by extravagance, by displaying their wealth for all to see. Nero’s romans had it right – give them bread and circus and the morons won’t rebel even if you burn the world around them.
Here’s the big picture – we need identity more than we need things. Owning a Porsche is not who we are. Using an Ipad is not who we are. Don’t believe something that can be taken from you is part of who you are – it’s not. You can lose everything you have, your house, your phone, your car, your job – and still be happy. What’s in your head can’t be taken away from you. This is what makes healthy people depressed, suicidal and willing to defend a piece of electronic with their lives. Losing a house is a temporary disaster. Hell, you can buy it again if the stars line up in your favor. It won’t seem like that at that moment but in time you will understand the truth of it – you own things, not the other way around.
You know what I think is really important for a sane and healthy individual? The bloody basics – your brain and your health. Took me a while to get it, too. What you know, what you do with that knowledge will make you valuable for those around you – even if you go bankrupt you’ll still have people asking for your time and help. Your health is also important – you won’t understand it until you lose it, when you’re looking at the bloody machine go beep, beep, and worry you’ll make it stop just by breathing. Only then you’ll know and taste true fear – nothing else will top that one.
I know, I know, Maslow said things, triangles and pyramids, but this is the truth – if your brain is trained, if your knowledge is valuable to others, if you look for ways to make things work instead of blaming everybody but yourself and finding ways to show why something won’t work, you’ll find employment. It won’t matter if you’re wearing a Harrod’s outfit or blue jeans.
People don’t understand who they are. It’s not who they think they are, it’s what they do with that image. I’m not an accountant – but if I retrain, I could be. I might work as technical support – but I could also work as a teacher. Or a banker. My knowledge can be used in many areas – it’s what I choose to do with it that’s important. Knowledge alone isn’t valuable unless you put it to good use, unless you use it to fill a need others (or even yourself, maybe) have. I can say I’m a writer – I’ve bloody filled enough pages in the last ten to fifteen years to make a couple of books if we’re looking at numbers and not continuity of content. I can say I’m an actor. I can bloody believe that, too. But it won’t make me one, regardless what I believe, if I don’t actually put my belief to the test, if I don’t write an actual book or act in a film or play.
If you build it, they will come – it’s a stupid thing from a stupid movie but it’s nonetheless true now because of advertising and the power of media. Average individuals finding confort and support in the herd of mindless drones can’t distinguish themselves by thinking because it would destroy their identity as members of the mindless herd of drones, so they use their wealth, their fame or their looks as a substitute for value or actual achievements. It’s also why the top selling newspapers aren’t the “quality” newspapers but those full of gossip and celebrity “exclusives”. It’s easy to spot who’s bullshitting too, if you know how to look at people. Put a senator next to a lumberjack – how do you know who’s more valuable as a person? Mentally place each of them on an empty island with nothing else but animals and plants– who will live? The one with the skills. Who will die? The one who has no real skill.
We have many things, we own cars, laptops, tablets, houses, but none of that is important – none of that has real value other than what we believe it has. Fishermen are more happy than celebrities. People in Rwanda are happier than those living in the United States. People in Iceland are happier than those in the United States, and they’ve been recently bankrupt. What we’re being told clashes with what we feel, because it’s not true. We feel worse even if we’re being praised. We’re depressed even if many around us keep assuring us we have no reason to be depressed.
It won’t matter if you’re a top CEO or an out-of-work actor, it won’t matter if you have a house so big to be able to sleep in a different room every night for a few months or you’re trying to cram a family of ten in a two bedroom apartment – all of that is pointless. You’re happy or sad depending on how your brain perceives the value others assign you. It’s neurological sometimes, yes – but if it’s not neurological then it’s a dissonance, a cognitive dissonance.
We’re being told to assume an identity to be happy – but what they don’t tell you even those who have that identity aren’t really happy. The more you dig the worse it gets. You aren’t happy, but buy this perfume – it should do the trick. Not happy? Here, eat this cheeseburger. Not happy? Here, take this antidepressant – you’re probably having a bad case of depression. If you’re able to feel happy after doing something for somebody else without asking for recognition or rewards, you’re not depressed. You’re just brainwashed and your subconscious is protesting. Try it. Try doing something involving sweat for somebody who needs it and refuse to be rewarded, stay in the shadows – see how that feels.
We’re sad because our brain knows, even if it’s not obvious, that we are nothing but sources of cash to those around us. We’re only being used to open our wallets and pay for things. We buy things we don’t need because they tell us we need them – and wonder why we feel miserable. We’re experiencing pain – by way of cognitive dissonance – because deep down, we know what we’re doing is irrational and illogical. We believe it’s not, but it won’t matter. The truth is the whole cognitive dissonance pain we’re experiencing is because what we believe is not what we know to be true. We’ll make up answers to justify our decisions, we’ll blame others, we’ll pose, we’ll copy and we’ll flaut, all of it pointless. It won’t solve anything. Some people will find confort in belief – even in the afterlife – after all, suffering now means rejoicing after death. It’s their justification for pain, if I’m feeling pain then it’s good because after I’ll be happy. It’s not important whether it’s true or not – it’s what they make themselves believe and it’s also a reason to keep doing what they’re doing, to keep feeling pain. Pain now means I’m keeping my car and my style, my status-quo and happy after death means there’s no reason to change, no reason to be happy now. Things get better without me lifting a finger. It’s why Christmas is a time for people to be good – who ever wondered as why not be good the whole year round? It’s counterintuitive. It’s also why absolutions, indulgences and confessions are still a thing for christians. I think they still sell absolutions, too, like they used to, but they’re calling it philanthropy or charity now (if you’re known for doing it, you’re not in it for others but for yourself).
Ask yourself, are you happy? If you’re not happy, what are you doing to improve your life? Is it something to make you belong to a group or something to make yourself better? My advice – learn something others can benefit from and do it without expecting or requesting anything in return. You can call it whatever you want – but keep it to yourself, be humble about it. You can do it for your family, for your loved ones, for those needing it – the recipient isn’t important – what’s important is to make it happen. Find a need for your skills or learn new skills and use them to do something people need done. Make yourself valuable by virtue of what’s in your head and what you’re doing with it. It’s within spitting distance from feeling happy. Word!