Engaging in social commentary on the current state of the human animal requires looking at culture differently, not negatively, just differently. Lately I have been thinking about the role of creativity in today’s society. Because I believe creativity is at the heart of freedom. I’ve noticed that the majority of what we consider creativity has been replaced with efficient emulation; meaning we are better at “recreating” than creating ideas, sounds, stories, fashions, and more dangerously, lifestyles.
Could this be that we have actually exhausted all possibilities, or that we are better off following a predetermined path? Of course not! It’s more likely that most of us have lost perspective as a consequence of living out of our ancestral context. Because of this contextual mismatch, most of us have lost the desire to explore, create and experience new ideas or ways of living. We are more fixated on constructing a version of ourselves to put on display like a company brand, and when we learn to effectively develop this brand, we cage ourselves with it.
Enter the status coup…
Aaron and I believe strongly in the necessity of leading a self-defined life to foster freedom in our thoughts, health and movement. That’s what this whole thing is about actually: freedom. Most of us are lucky enough to live in a free world; to be able to choose how we exist, yet few of us actually use these freedoms to their full potential. You see, I’m not talking about an oppression of a society, rather an oppression of the creative mind, and the oppressor is not an evil dictator, but rather our own unmotivated and distracted mind. There is a powerful lull to normalcy. It’s safety is enticing and its amenities are infinitely distracting. In effect, the status quo, is a coup, a shadow reality with disillusioned rules.
There is no greater freedom than the ability to create an organic thought, pursue a unique desire, and live like no one else. However, if you’re observant at all, you probably have noticed most of us look (fashion), act and talk like everyone else! Not only that, but most of us design an existence where one day is nearly indistinguishable from the last. Why is this?
The truth is: we don’t create anymore, we emulate. What do I mean? Well, most of us design our lives through the status quo- develop a popular skill, use that skill to make money, use that money to buy popular things-and then we go to bed and dream of what we wish was possible in our lives, but is not “responsible” or “expected” of us.
I’m not trying to write an inspirational, fluff article here, but if you’re dreaming of a life different from anything you would expect to be “possible” then you’re not creating, you’re emulating. If you’re emulating, you’re caging yourself in a façade of free choice. Yes, technically you are making your own decisions, but you are also choosing from an ever shrinking selection of lifestyles and identities. You are not creating your own possibilities, you are choosing from those options supplied to you. And as you make your selections, you are relegating your identity to a version of a citizen. Are you the corporate or the blue collar man? The mother or the entrepreneur? The liberal or the conservative? The nerd or the jock?
Enter creativity, the mother of freedom…
There is no creativity without freedom, nor freedom without creativity. When we cage ourselves within a series of tasks, “responsibilities”, and financial obligations, our freedom is reduced. We have no time to create so we CONSUME: we watch movies, listen to music, and scroll and post endlessly through Facebook and Twitter to perpetuate our brand. And in time, we actually define ourselves by genres of music we favor, smart phones we use, politics we argue and sports we watch. But these characteristics have nothing to do with who we really are, nor are our actions effective in making our lives whole; they are merely a reflection of our consumer identity taken right out of the social playbook.
When we emulate and play the status quo, we all can’t win. In fact, most of us will not “win.” To be a successful person there must be failures. To have beautiful people there must be plain people. To have rich people, there must be poor people. But what if you were creative enough to be removed from the status coup? What if you were creative enough to be successful without a career, wealthy without money, and beautiful without fashion?
There is another way: to exist outside of the status coup. To develop character, rather than a character, and to pursue a life that does not require a compromise of your freedom for safety and acceptance. Likely this path will require you to explore your human nature, and develop your innate creativity to solve the greatest problem that faces us today: escaping the cage we have designed for ourselves. You must create your own path toward freedom, or you will spend your whole life designing and decorating your own cage.