I never gave that concept much thought, I like things, I buy them, end of story. It’s after I am forced to confront them, often when moving house (something I loathe) that I begin to understand what that really means. Boxes of books I never finished reading, games I never finished playing, clothes that I bought that are now to big or too small and random crap that I hung on to for some reason. It used to make me feel good before, purchasing something, it filled a void. Searching for that particular cabinet or rug or gadget that expressed my taste and aesthetic.
How did I turn into the Narrator from Fight Club and not even realize it?
I have mentioned that movie before in my writings and it struck a chord that resonated with me at the time but I am only understanding it acutely now after living through aspects of it, no, not project mayhem (that I know of…) I am now in the mood to ruthlessly shed nearly everything I own to allow me the freedom to travel where I want without being tied to things, things that I might use, often, less and not at all. I aspire to become a digital nomad, like so many others in this age of work anywhere, live anywhere, do whatever.
All the gadgets and distractions I could want, money in the bank, but still a feeling of incompleteness. At this stage people either turn to their careers for validation which only a dedicated few manage to build their dream through rather than build someone elses. Or turn to hedonism, Sex, Drugs and rocknroll.
Then maybe religion, possibly after hitting bottom. There is a construct called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in brief; once you have your basic survival covered, people will seek higher forms of validation in their existence for self-satisfaction. Business run workshops on this kind of thing to better motivate staff attendance and productivity, unless you were a verbal Jedi it was interesting to know but difficult to use practically, but it does open your eyes to what drives our need for fulfillment.
This may sound incredibly conceited but I feel the creative types are hit particularly hard by this. Often frustrated perfectionists, trying to translate what is in their head into their chosen medium or to the world around them, they feel slightly detached from what every one else accepts as the norm. If this were not the case the norm would be everyone equally satisfied and creatively fulfilled which is not my experience. Arguably some of the greatest works in our culture have been created by some of the most miserable bastards (and bitches, lets not be sexist here.) to walk the earth. It’s that drive for perfectionism that also illustrates just how shit they are in their own perception. Creatively them on their worst day, we wish we were on our best. They didn’t put down their chisel, quill, paintbrush, camera, guitar or mouse when whatever they were working on was “just okay” some of them created until it literally killed them.
However through feeling like an outsider they are able to gain an insight into a world the majority take for granted. This is not an excuse or an endorsement of the tortured Byronic hero, as part of that process is self-realization through creativity. There are plenty of artists, musicians, writers, photographers and creators that have discovered their bliss and followed it. I am all for entertainment, Bread and Circuses or not, I have had a love of books, comics and cinema from a very early age but I assert that exploring our psyche through creativity and artistry is far more beneficial than validation through Facebook and supporting a culture obsessed with itself.
Its all a search for meaning and purpose, some find meaning in their purpose some find purpose in their meaning.
So make it count! there is a high likelihood no one will care about your, post, tweet or status update in a weeks time (if not an hour) measure this against music from hundreds of years ago, art and writings from thousands of years ago and monuments from millennia, but that’s okay too, it puts things into perspective, what you were so worried about no one will care about in 100 years. Aspiring to make your life your greatest work of art is a lofty goal and validation through social media is hard habit for people to break, but find the best use of that social technology and use it for that, promote your passion create something that not only fills that void in you but in others too, even if for a while. That, is what gets remembered.