Tuesday, November 27, 2012

On Creation and Idleness

Humans, by nature, are driven to create things. From the moment we’re cognizant and enthralled enough to realize our poop is self-created, we take pride in the things we make. Success is measured in our ability to create such things as art, books, money, buildings, video game scores, food, powerpoint presentations etc..  The product can be something shitty, but you made it and that's fulfilling.  This is why DIY home-made projects are more rewarding than paying someone else to do it – you can admire your own creation and take pride in it, regardless of whether or not it took you twice the time and effort. 

The glory of boasting about our creations and being praised for them lies at the heart of privileged societies, which are entitled with this luxury as we have numerous tools at our disposal to create at will, barring innate skill, money and fear as constraints. This is why the religious type are inclined to argue that no such diversity and complexity of life could evolve over billions of years and must be attributed to a higher being, but I digress.

The fact of the matter is through our propensity to create more for self-satisfaction, we end up consuming more, hoarding more and feeding our narcissism. We don’t feel ‘happy’ or fulfilled unless we’re actively pursuing capitalistic tendencies to beat the competition or come up with something new and innovatively creative. Subsequently,  some thinking people step back and wonder why we’re still not ‘happy’ and fulfilled because after all, that’s the one Holy Grail we’re all universally chasing after. Living an idle life is frowned upon and deemed a failure if we are physically and mentally able to do something the majority feels you are capable of doing. .

This is a huge reason why I advocate travel and to an extent idleness, where we’re not constantly compelled to create something – it allows us to see the discrepancy of our so-called privileged lives of endless choices contrasted with a life of, for example, a subsistence farmer whose only aim is to feed his family, limited in choice and leaving his or her vices to the weather. A life of routine prevents us from getting a full flavour of what our choices of work are doing with regards to resources and on others as far as income disparity. There is no free lunch. Everything we create or do, despite convincing ourselves it will inspire others or improve their lives, comes at the expense of others indirectly. That’s the capitalistic, self-fulfilling way. Look after yourself at the expense of someone else you can’t see. 

In the end, capitalism will always triumph and by getting ourselves stuck in its wheel, you either pay to play in order to maintain status and pride or risk falling out. In order to gain an understanding of why our productive lives, intended to be full of happiness, are not in fact as grand as we imagine, we need to understand that the mechanical acts of endless creation can be futile.

Take the time to be lazy, idle and to travel.

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