As a writer, I observe the human race from a distance, twiddling my thumbs and scratching my forehead in an attempt to understand my fellow man. If one runs a business, which I argue an indie writer does, one can’t help but observe the failings of capitalism, education, and how it impacts the self.
Please take this post as a light-hearted — although with heavy themes — discussion of some of my most recent thoughts. Watch the video first, and then read further below.
This isn’t just a post directed at other authors, this is a post directed at readers also, for we are all within the cage that is capitalism’s clutch on society.** Please take note, I am being incredibly melodramatic here for effect, but it certainly is not sarcasm :–) **
I’m just repeating what the video gets at here, as well as summarising.
One of the failings of capitalism, is it was established in the industrial age, and everything, including schools, were fashioned in such a way as to turn people into little worker ants. Produce, produce, produce!
We spent time developing infrastructure that would allow us to work less, relax and take life as it comes. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. The problem is, we reward people that work, with money. I know, I bet you never saw that as a problem. Yet, as out media (television, radio, shops, even friends) tell us what makes us ‘secure’ and ‘successful’ as individuals, it triggers in us a desire to have more! More! And so that infrastructure that was supposed to relieve us from having to work long hours, failed.
Now, we continue to work long hours, and it’s interesting, because the workers all have the same mentality — that if I work hard, then justice, and equality will reward me for my efforts. To some degree, this is true, but when you look at the wealth distribution in western society, we see that the top 1% have most of the wealth and they hoard that wealth due to, well, greed. How can I be rewarded equally, if rich people hoard their money and don’t let it circle about in our economy?
Most of those that have all that money are rich because they [inherited] that money. Yet, we still see them as more deserving, as seeing them having done something different to us, as having characteristics that are ‘better’ and more ‘efficient’.
And when we see those presumably happy rich people, we take a hit on our self-esteem (we see ourselves at being at fault for not being as successful as they), because those rich people are the ones that tell us ‘if you worked harder, you too can be me’. But it’s a lie. I promise you. Because when they change the discussion so that we focus on ourselves as being unworthy, we forget that we’re being misled and we look to our friends/family for support, but they too hold those same beliefs.
‘That if I work hard enough, I can be wealthy too.’ <– the likelihood of it happening is very slim. But all of us need hope and so we work hard and smart and give up much of our pleasure to earn more!
It’s a glum outlook on society, I know that :–) And I’m not saying there aren’t positives, or that there haven’t been shifts. Heck, 150 years ago slavery was still allowed our society has come a long way and we should be proud!
Let’s throw creative individuals into that capitalist mix.
As a creative individual, I know only too well how undervalued my contribution to society is. Don’t be fooled readers, it might seem a luxurious life to be a writer, and to some degree it is, but in order to do what we are good at, we must accept certain levels of financial insecurity (although in this global economic climate, I recognise this isn’t just a creative issue).
If I wanted to earn what other people would call ‘a lot of money’, or even earn enough money to look after a family, I wouldn’t have chosen writing as my profession. I’d be an accountant, an investor, a doctor or an electrical engineer. I’m fairly certain I could have done many of those things.
Creativity is seen as a luxury and greatly undervalued because creativity isn’t a part of industrialisation.
Everyone starts off having that genius of creativity, but our society is built around reinforcing the workers. It’s about those people that do the same activity, day-in-day out for long periods of time to produce something that can then be sold, either as a service, or a product. And that’s about capitalism and economic productivity.
Creativity is a phenomena that best occurs without deadlines, without thought of money, when people are having fun and not considering the stresses of life. John Cleese says it best below.
But for artists of any kind, it is a struggle to both do what you love and be paid for it. And I think that’s a damn shame. Because creativity is the epicenter of invention, idealisms, dreams, insight, and capturing moments, whatever those moments may be.
When I’m in a character’s head, I must observe the world around me, their world. I look at societal structures put in place for them. So when I spent time analysing their worlds, I can’t help but analyse my world also. My analysis of my reality, or planet earth if you will, leads me to focus on both pros and cons of existence, and I like to share these realisations with cyberspace :–)
Have an excellent day,