Posts Tagged ‘ghostbusters’

Good creative people, you know what really grinds my gears?

Money!

Yea that’s right I said it. I may need it, but I can’t stand the stuff. Frankly I’m tired of it ruling my life. It’s just paper after all! But somehow these days it’s come to not only rule me, but the rest of our society as well, and I believe it’s leading us all on a crash course to disaster!

Don't do it us!

Note before we go forward: I’m not trying to stand up here on my ivory soapbox to shout down from the soapy fresh green mountaintops that the stuff is the root of all evil, or that it will come claim your firstborn (which it might, and don’t blame me if it does), but I will stand by my inherent beliefs till the bitter end (next Tuesday?), that the stuff is positively ruining our society, and that some day soon we will be able to live without it – and because of all this we should merely start thinking ahead.

Here we go ~ see if you can follow my daily sequence of infuriating logic;

Happiness is derived from doing what you love

I don’t think anyone can deny this, it’s simple, straightforward and to the point. If you enjoy something than you will inexorably be drawn to it, not only because it brings you joy but also because it makes you feel whole. Like you matter. Like you have a purpose. Once this is accepted as truth we can move on to the second line of reasoning, which is…

In order to do what you love well, you need to work at it every day – and eventually share it with others

Again, this too I don’t think can be earnestly denied. No one’s an expert at anything right off the bat, regardless of how much they enjoy doing it. So if you want what you do to have purpose or meaning, than surely you need to get good at it. Right? Right! And this type of personal betterment matters – it’s what fuels the positive change in the world. Your passion must never stop growing. It’s a 24/7 job (or at least it should be), and you should love doing it!

By that same token if you really want to be happy, (and remember we’ve already established that in order to do that you need to have an earnest passion), than you need to make your talent an open book in your life. The gift you were given and the love that you have is all for naught if you merely keep it to yourself, locked in a dark closet, regaled to your personal musings alone, and fail to use it to enhance other people’s lives in some way.

So if we want a society of happy, well-adjusted, productive and sane people living here on the earth with us, than we might want to do all that we can to make what’s been listed above a reality. Right? Well, here’s the kicker…

In order to survive; I.E. Eat, drink, be protected from the elements, we need to make money.

Ka-Bam! Not that this comes as any surprise to all of you, but money buys things. We need things to survive. We have to work for money. But herein lies the conflict and catch 22 of modern life, which makes this integral part of the equation a bit tricky to explain and understand.

This, in my humble opinion, is the fundamental problem with our essential creativity; initially – at least in this modern world of ours (as it wasn’t always this way) – it’s not profitable. In the world we’ve created for ourselves, where cash is king and everything is caught in the orbit of the ever important “Profit Margin”, and without drawing power that investors can clearly see, people will simply not help to cultivate these new/cutting edge projects. Not only that, but they will unwittingly stand in the way of them.

This is why everything is being remade in the movies these days despite the fact that they’re likely to be horrid affairs, and that there are plenty of other great new scripts just waiting in the wings. Movies al-la: The Smurfs, The Thunder-Cats, The Ghostbusters, Avatar, anything M.Night Shamalamadingdong, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.. they’re profitable because of a namesake – not because they’re actually any good…

Meanwhile it is inarguable that all innovation and change in the world begins first with creativity… Something new! Now can you begin to see what I’m gunning after here? Creativity is made to run loops and perform tricks, but meanwhile it’s also responsible for everything that gives those in power the means to enforce these obstructions at all…

I say that's crazy! Crazy kat w/crazy eyes thinks it is too!

I ask you; is it just me, or does this seem to present a conflict of worldwide interests?

Creation should be paramount – not its profitability – it’s what elicits change. Change is good (…I can hear the arguments over this one already). To create something with meaning that might evoke change, and/or best the test of time, we need first to be allowed to find a passion, and then be allowed the time to work at it – a lot, I’m talkin’ every day without fail – and then, and only then (and only then if we’re really lucky), can we ever hope to stumble across the next big thing. The next great innovation to push our culture (human that is) forward, and inbetter ourselves as a people. And might I remind you that the more of us that can walk this path, the more likely that it becomes to have that fabled “Ah-ha” moment happen. There be’s power in numbers I tellz ya!

But then again in order for most of us to survive in our modern world there’s practically no room for this type of commitment. It would seem that unless we’re born to a certain tier of class (I.E. the exceptionally privileged who don’t have to work a day-job), that we have no chance to take the necessary time to develop things for ourselves – things which to be properly fleshed out will undoubtedly take years – because in order to live and eat we have to focus instead on making another person’s dream come true! This is what I see as the problem…

Unless we win the lotto, or are born into money, than it is a near certainty that our ideas won’t be heard. Which tells us that as a society the only ideas that are currently taken seriously enough to effect change and shape our world come from one mindset. A wealthy one.

Now this isn’t all bad. Many wealthy people are great thinkers; after all, they’re the ones who can afford the best education (traded for, ironically enough, money – damn the confounded stuff!). But even though this will work for some moderate progress across the span of time, I believe that we are underutilizing the greatest potential of mankind by this limiting factor. Some 95% of the people on the earth are humble, blue-collar, moderately funded & good-natured people – who never get to be creative and express ideas because they work, and then come home to be family men/women and I say that they should matter too! They should have a voice! I should have a voice! Why do we all have to work our petunias off to have a voice?

AHHHH!!

Sure, I know what you’re going to say: that in the exhausted, twilight, post-work hours of our day we can bang out a few pages on our books, whip up that new recipe we conjured from thin air during the meeting yesterday, and try out the new dance move that had been inspired from a drifting cloud we’d spied as we’d daydreamed out from our office window – or anything else that we’d thought up while we were working for someone else so that we might have a chance to eat (GET BACK TO WORK!) – but in response to this I have to ask you: is this really the best way to make progress as a people? As a civilization? As an eventual member of a universal marketplace?

I’d argue “No”

And I think you will too if you care. This seems to me to be a wholly inefficient means of progress, and not to mention that the subsequent fruit of our hard creative labors is then gobbled up by the people with the majority of the means and none of the ideas – who then make the lions share of the profits on our work as well.

From a cashier at a supermarket, to a lowly construction worker, all the way across the spectrum to an office secretary, I’d argue that the people doing the majority of the work are also the least appreciated, the least funded, and viewed as the most expendable.

These incremental “results” (if they could so be called), are abashed sloth-like in their progress as well as their sleeping habits. We should – and do – have higher goals for the quality of human lives, but they all routinely take a backseat to procedure, red-tape, excessive profits, and preexisting (and nearly unnecessary), hurdles. Hurdles that serve to maintain the status-quo, which keep the wealthy on top, and the poor… well dogpile!

Sadly it would seem that as a species we have adapted a way of living that stifles, by its very nature, the very progression it so desperately needs.

Now before you get all huffy – look – I completely understand that the system we have in place – of trade, profit, and production – has been born from an earnest basis of reason and logic. But that system had its place and time, and I can see a brighter future for us all coming right around the bend. Can’t you? So I ask you: why wait?

If we can see what’s on the horizon, and anticipate its impact on us all, than we can prepare for it – so what are we waiting for? That would surely be the most logical thing to do, would it not? But I suppose that because of the current infrastructure, people still have to pay the bills (don’t get me started on the Fed). And because… well really we can’t conceive of any other way to be, as this is all we have ever known, how can we change?

It’s hard to imagine a world outside the fishbowl.

People a few thousand years ago simply couldn’t walk around with wheelbarrows full of apples to trade for eggs, milk, and meat at the market – it wouldn’t have been sensible – so they invented notes to represent these things, and began to acclimate these pieces of paper instead. But from the moment that our thoughts shifted from the worth being placed on those who tended the fields, watered the roots, and knew the trade (from those who did the work to those who had the bigger stack of hundreds – I.E. the better traders) – unwittingly our mentality of survival had been skewed, distorted, and kicked out of clear focus.

Think about it. In our modern society; “Who do we admire?” Who’s atop the dog-pile? The penniless artist who gains no fame or worth until he’s passed after years of starvation and suffering through his ever enduring poverty? Or the millionaire’s with their porches, their women (or men, I don’t judge) slung tightly to their arms, and the innumerous things that they own?

It seems to me that money has changed us (as a people) to worship those among us who are at the top of the collection heap, instead of those who we should worship – and walk among as well – who work toward the loftier goals of creation that benefit all of mankind.Or is it possible that these people too are corrupted by the allure of money, as their creativity is tainted from the moment of its conception with thoughts of greed, extortion, and profit margins?

Honestly who knows? Surely I’m ranting, as I’ve come to realize that I do all-too-often in these blogs (and also that they tend to run too long, surely I need to learn to be more concising – but it’s hard to get better at my craft when I work all the time :o), but I just don’t know any other way to express how I feel.

I will however wrap my thoughts up with this – and then post this behemoth so that it might all be open to discussion, as I’m eager to hear all your own thoughts on the matter – I believe that we soon will find ourselves at a tipping point.

Soon I think that through certain scientific developments (which I can name, and explain, but that will carry this post on into the 5,000 word range) that the earning of money for food, shelter, and water, which is to say the basics of living, will be supplanted by mere energy alone. And since energy will be free, once we come to master the plethora of excess energy shed by our very own sun every day, and/or the harvestable wind, water, geothermal, or nuclear (not to mention the potential of fusion in the future), we will be presented with a new world, not too far on the horizon, that can exist without the necessity of a dollar, or a euro, or a rupee.

What will be the motivation, if not for profit I hear you ask? The pure right to claim the position of being admired. Who wouldn’t compete with their co-worker, when they are engaged in something that they love, to be the first, the best, or the greatest? This world that I perceive will also be purer in its honesty of self-reflection, creativity for the greater good, and just.. well sheer awesomeness!

I don’t know about you all, but I look forward to that day, and the amazing innovation that will follow in the years that precede it.

So good creative people, what do you think? Can we have a world that exists without money?

I think we can, but I’ve been on the losing side of this argument many-a-time before.

~J

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“The only thing that’s everything: Is nothing.”

Tony Horton, fitness guru for beachbody (you know, those people with the infomercials on at two in the morning), said that to a group of us last night – who had all been willing to go all the way out to the Melville Marriott at seven in the evening to (God knows why), endure one of his grueling workouts – as we finished up with an hour long session. The message he’d wished to convey is, more or less, on par with the overreaching message of this blog – and I thought I’d pass that little gem on along to you fine people.

“Don’t let life get in the way of life.”

Even now as I read that, I see it’s more than a bit befuddling…Let me clarify.

Much like some of the topics we went over in the inaugural Chicken Soup post, which had to do with the insidious pratfalls of day to day life in our technologically deluged existence, this quote eludes to the notion that all too often life – and the living of it – can get in the way of life – and how you want to live it. Special care should be taken on that last part… how you want to live it. Ask yourself:

“How do I want to live my life?”

Pretty simple right? Seems obvious enough. It’s funny how the things that resonate most true within the human heart, are often the most simple to grasp, though also often the most difficult to elucidate on.

In either case, as it turns out, my father (unbeknownst to me) had been speaking to his brother & sister in law (for those of you out there who know calculus: my Aunt and Uncle) when they mentioned to him that they were going on over to Melville for this event on Tuesday, and, thankfully, had suggested that they call the lovely Sarah Ann and myself to proffer an invite. We graciously accepted; as both of us are P90X graduates – and quite the fit couple thank you – and find Tony motivating (despite having watched the same videos dozens of times), inspiring (he’s nearly 50-freaking-2 with washboard abs that make bubble paper look undefined), and entertaining as heck on video (even with his lame jokes 🙂 ), let alone in real life we figured right?

Right!

So, taking the “Why not” approach to life, we jumped on a train at Woodside, and headed on out to see them in Baldwin. My Uncle Paul, comically enough, got so wrapped up in a conversation with us on the way to their house about the Marx Brothers (Tony, if you’re out there reading this, Groucho can’t be credited with the “There ain’t no such thing as a Sanity Clause’ joke… alas it was Chico) that… he forgot to pick up his daughter from work, so he dropped us off at the house, sped down the street to pick up the wayward child, and we found ourselves with some time alone to chat with my lovely Aunt Maria.

Aunt Maria has a beautiful candor to her that can’t be explained away with feeble words on a page, but she’s an incredible person, and every time we get together the conversation quickly turns to the nitty gritty topics of life, in this case life itself.

“Jared” she said, “I never stopped to think about it. I had the girls,” she has 3 girls; all trouble 😉 “I had my personal training, and I always just figured that if something was meant to be in my life, that it would just come. But here I am, I’m 25 (the ages in this story may or may not have been changed to protect the innocent), and there’s still so much I want to do with life…”

How many of us have lived through this story? Life, it would seem, has lived us… not the other way around.

“So Paulie and I sat down the other day, and wrote all our goals out on a piece of paper, just to visualize it you know? And Jared, I’m telling you, it makes a world of difference.”

And it does. How can any of us ever feel satisfied with life, if we never take the time, really take the time, to stop and think about what we want? How do you want to live your life? Aunt Maria was fortunate. At the ripe young age of 25 she came to the bracing reality that life – at least as it’s lived by a human (if there are any hydras out there reading this, you’re eternal, and have plenty of time to do whatever you want, so hush) – is shockingly short.

We only get 100 years

At best. If we’re one of the unfortunate ones: far, far less… What do we want to do with life? Inspire? Provoke? Push the limits? Test our boundaries? Or merely; wake up, go to work, go home, watch some TV, wash-rinse-and-repeat?

Decide: it’s the first step.

If you’ve read this post so far: you’re ready. Decide. One of the group? Or the one that the group might label an outcast? Deranged they’ll call you. Insane. So what? To each his own. When you live an actualized life, you learn to let it slide. Set aside perception from reality. The group might seem like everything, but remember – the only thing that’s everything: is nothing – and once you decide, there’s no going back, or you’ll ruin it all…

Don’t write the story of your life in pencil

Some of you might have heard the stories; perhaps it was an uncle, or a father, a grandfather perchance – someone of significance who’d fallen out of grace –they all say the same things. “Stay in line” they’ll tell you, “don’t take risks – the nail that sticks out above the floor is the first to be hammered down”.

What? Why? Who says? When did staying in line and doing just the same as everybody else, ever get anyone anyplace other than where everybody else is? In other words: if you do the same things as everyone else all the time, how can you be expected to be seen as anything else, other than a lemming?

I don’t mean to downplay the common worker – me being the epitome of a starving artist – but let’s be realistic, how secure can we be when someone has the power to say two magical words, and *Poof* everything we hold near-and-dear disappears in an instant? Do you think our bosses, the very people running our operations, stayed in line? Do you suppose (even if the bastards inherited the businesses that they run), that they would be the type who just kept their heads down, and did as they were told?

NO

Not even a little bit. I would choose – 1,000 times out of a 1,000 – to be a starving artist trying to break the mold and shake up the place, over being someone who never fought for what they believed in.

I say: don’t write the story of your life in pencil, because, obviously, pencils have erasers, and if you double back on a life changing decision it will – undoubtedly – come back to bite you in the backside. Gather your options, write out your desires, choose your path on the fork in the road, and never look back.

Money is paper

There I said it. I know it’s scary, we all need money, but that’s all it is, paper… I would still like some – you know… that silly rent thing, but still – it’s paper! It can’t help to fill that void in you heart and mind, like grabbing life by the reigns and trying something new will.

This is why people who win the lotto are so often unsatisfied… they have a lump of paper – yay. Who did they help? What lives did they enrich? What change did they make? None. They’re trying to pay off their consciousness with the improper currency. To throw money at a problem that’s intellectual in nature is akin to firing bullets at a ghost, and if the Ghostbusters have taught me anything (who you gonna call), and they have, it’s that bullets don’t hurt spirits – you need a proton pack – and don’t cross the streams whatever you do: or else!

Creative people, today I would ask you to set your goals to paper. It will solidify your subconscious, and make you plan ahead. If you skip only your least liked half hour TV show once each evening, you could finish a book every month with your newfound free time (maybe mine – go pick up Welcome to the Future 🙂 ). Now that may not seem like a lot, but at least it’s a start.

At the end of the day, Tony Horton kicked our flabby backsides into shape, and taught me a lesson in the process. All because we took the why not approach to life. He said something else that evening, and it too belongs in this post,

“Always open new doors, so long as there is no real physical risk to you.”

And there you have it good people: Why not? Now go open those doors!