I wrote the following blog last night and, like a lot of stuff I write , wasn’t going to publish it. It’s always a struggle living somewhere with as many narcissists as St Leonards as to how much to ignore them and what to say, knowing full well how manipulative they can be and how they will deliberately misinterpret what I write as me being negative or nuts. Something happened this morning to tip the balance though. It has been enough of a struggle to avoid the grotesquerie of pointlessness arranged for New Year’s Eve but today an advert for a job came my way. It is effectively made for me, I tick every single one of the obscure skills and abilities needed and it is in walking distance no less. There are a few catches though, the same skill sets could be used far better to clothe the homeless, the sheer amount of wasted materials when the project is over and thirdly and to me the most important, it bears all the grubby fingerprints of the rancid egomaniacs mentioned below. I also suspect it will be bit of a stitch up and there will be candidates already lined up for the post. Jobs for the boys I suspect… Or in this case girls.
If a tree falls in the forest and there is nobody to hear it then does it make a sound? So asked philosopher George Berkeley back in 1710. If something has been posted on Facebook and no one reads about it, then did it actually happen? So asks me today. Over the last six months or so I have been systematically unfollowing, blocking and restricting every single bit of ego stroking, narcissism, attention seeking etc that popped up on my news feed. As the torrent of tedious dross slowed to a trickle, my life felt so much better, I only wish I’d done it years ago.
I could be wrong but it seems to me that so many things that happen, happen for no other reason than for certain characters to be seen to be doing something, whether that is being seen to be doing good, being seen to be looking trendy, right on, whatever… I can’t help wondering, if that is the case, if people weren’t actually witnessed to be doing what they do, would they still do it? Things come to my attention despite my attempts at a news and media blackout and I think “why would someone go to all that time and effort?” Be it people sleeping in a cardboard box, doing a marathon, a benefit gig, the effort, the hours put in, why don’t the people involved just stick their hands in their pockets and hand the cash over? The same with all the other cobblers that people do, why do people make such songs and dances about thinly veiled reasons for them to be looked at in public and to be seen to be doing something cool? Is it insecurity? Desperation? A need for approval? I don’t get it.
I ask this as producing stuff to sell involves hawking my wares in some manner or another, engaging in the world in ways I find uncomfortable. I think the shoemaker’s elves had it right personally, doing what they do in the dead of night and scuttling away. I’d do what I do if nobody bought it or liked it, when I catch a glimpse of the grandiose but poorly executed nonsense that goes on around me I only wish other people locally would do the same.
I hazard a guess that a lot of it is the need to be accepted, a need for approval, a need to feel part of something, as if our identities shrink to nothing if there is no one around to witness what we do. I’ve never really got it myself, I grew out of that as a teenager, I just wish the rest of the world would try and do the same, grow up! Yes, I appreciate that that is a deeply ironic thing for a middle aged bloke with a huge collection of toys to say but it makes sense, well sort of. One can be childlike without being childish, one involves looking at everything with fresh eyes and ideas and seeing the wonder in it all and the other requires you to scream, stamp your feet and generally make a nuisance of yourself until people take notice of you. Personally, I would rather have one person notice me because I did something well than a hundred because I made myself a pain in the arse, but that’s just me I guess.