So that’s become my new theme I guess. Escaping mediocrity. I use it everywhere these days. It’s become such a resounding mantra for me. At the very least, a noble goal.
It just seems that the more I look around, the more people I see completely resigned to an existence that is completely lacking in substance. People who misprioritize, and concede to engaging in meaningless, shallow relationships. People who have no desire to explore their potential. Who are content to let life happen to them.
I’ve been reading Jerry Mander’s Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, following a conversation I had some weeks back with my coworker Mark, during which he told me that he and his wife Shelby were decommissioning their Facebook pages because they didn’t want to be so beholden to that media anymore. He mentioned this book and I immediately pulled it up on Amazon and bought it.
I began reading it when John and I traveled to Eureka Springs, AR, at the end of last month to play a couple of shows. And I must say, despite the fact that I can’t seem to spend more than about 15 minutes on it at a time, everything I’ve read in it so far rings so true to me. When Mander described a typical office setting and used those characteristics to explain how sensory-deprived people are much easier to control and manipulate, I had to put it down. And then immediately pick it back up and make John read it. He really didn’t believe me that they pump white noise into the office “to eliminate distraction.” There are a lot of things up there that I can’t believe…
So this book and Mark’s Facebook retaliation got me thinking about this whole social media thing, and how I interact with it. How it’s affected me. I’d already decided that I rather hate my iPhone, and how common it now is for people to just expect me to be available every time they want to interact with me. How I’m now just supposed to answer every call and text and email and Facebook post and whatever else people can come up with as soon as they send it, because I’m of course doing nothing more than sitting there, hovering over the cursed thing, clinching it, just waiting to hear from someone. Which, for a while, I frequently was.
The irony is that I thought I liked Facebook because it helped me be social, given my introverted, highly sensitive tendencies. But in a lot of ways, it’s enabled me to be more anonymous. Because I can get to know people from a distance, and share things with others through a nice padding of cyber space, like passing an unsigned note through a hole in the wall. People I’ve friended from work, for example, who I still can’t hold a conversation with in the breakroom. In that same vein, I can sit back behind my protective shield and watch the goings-on of these fine folks from afar, essentially without their knowing. And still, on top of all that, I can’t really be honest with any of them. With actual friends/family because I might hurt their feelings or confuse them. With coworkers because I might step on a political landmine or somehow get myself in trouble. With venue owners or other musicians because there’s some unspoken rule that you never talk about the parts of being a musician that suck, especially in public settings.
In addition, as I’ve talked about with John, Facebook is so real-time, that it doesn’t really enable reflection and analysis. So I can’t really write honestly or share my feelings, because any expression I have is rooted in those very elements.
I haven’t been writing, and this bothers me.
Thus this blog that I’m not telling anyone about, but that I’m leaving public as a damn-it-all gesture.
I want to get back to a point where things slow down. Where I can just focus on one thing at a time. Multi-tasking has become one of my most perverse skills. And I feel like it’s changing me. The way that there are always 800 things flying at me at work. The way there are 65,000 media things to keep up with. The way that I can always think of 27 things I need to be doing instead of relaxing or reflecting. It’s created a lot of noise in my head, which I’m desperately hoping the writing will alleviate. Because my creativity has suffered immensely. And without creativity, we are damned for mediocrity.
So here’s hoping.