[ 4 min read ]
Diary of an artist, Saturday, March 16, 2019
Woke up 3:30 am
Is being a successful human being about producing hits, hit after hit after hit? Says who? According to the majority of people it’s about something else (but not very far from being a hit all the time — but about it later). Right now I’ll examine who decides whether or not we (I, you, anybody) are successful human beings?
You are a successful human being when you fit the description of a successful human being — that’s kinda obvious (or should be). So, the next question should, of course, be Who comes up with the description of a successful human being? The answer — we. We collectively (by taking something at face value and never questioning it), or we individually (by pondering it and coming up with our own definition). Most believe that there is only one definition of a successful human being and that it’s fixed (historically it’s not fixed but normally we don’t examine its evolution, we care what it means today, in our times).
Usually the thinking goes that one is a successful human being when other people consider him or her to be so. Both sides (the judges and the human being being judged) think like that. Thus it doesn’t matter what the person being judged thinks about himself or herself, how this person views himself or herself. What really matters is the answer to the question Is this person viewed as a successful human being by other people? Will a jury in a court of law, when faced with the question Is this particular person a successful human being? apply the conventional measure of success, or will it care what that person thinks about himself or herself and thus about his or her life philosophy? Of course it will apply the conventional measure of success. It has to stick to conventional definitions, or else the system would not work properly (the way we, the majority, believe it should work).
It kinda makes sense. What if I have my own definition of a successful human being and nobody agrees with me (or I don’t know anybody who agrees with me)? Does it matter beyond my head? Can I view myself as something completely detached from the rest? Can I ignore the collective opinion which is based on the conventional meaning of success? Can I do that living among people? Will I really not care at all? Turns out it’s extremely difficult, ignoring the opinion of the majority, or having a different opinion. I guess to be able to do that oftentimes (or even always) you need to become a loner, or even a weirdo. Weirdo in the conventional sense, of course — does it matter that you are the only person in your circle, family, who doesn’t consider you a weirdo? That’s the same dilemma, isn’t it?
What if you consider yourself a successful human being and your family doesn’t? You care about the opinion of your loved ones, don’t you? We all do. We’re so wired, or we soaked it up that we should care. Maybe that’s the basis of our sense of security (this knowing that there are people in this world whom I can trust and rely on in good and bad times)? What if we don’t speak the same language? What if we have different values? What if we don’t see the world the same way? Can we still trust each other? Can we still rely on each other?
In any case, we don’t feel particularly well when our loved ones don’t share our opinion about ourselves. It takes a lot of effort (mentally) to be able to feel OK in that situation. And we don’t feel particularly well either when other people don’t share our opinion about ourselves. It’s best when we and other people share the same sentiment. When we all speak the same language and use the same definitions. That’s when we can really taste what success feels like.
Actually we fool ourselves because that’s not what success feels like — it’s what conventional success feels like. Other kinds (or versions) of success are still there, and we can still invent new ones. But we (each of us individually) will probably never succeed at convincing the majority that they should see success the way we do. They will probably still apply the conventional measure of success.
Difficult choice, but if you accept as success something which the majority views as success then you agree to play by their rules, you agree to them telling you when you are and when you aren’t a successful human being. And it really sucks!
Reading (since my last diary entry):
Facing Unpleasant Facts: Narrative Essays by George Orwell (30 min, on scribd app).
YouTube videos and movies (since my last diary entry):
Goodbye Social Media. (Casey Neistat vlog)
EXPLOITED BY BURGER KING. (Casey Neistat vlog)
BURGER KiNG Fights back (this is not an ad) (Casey Neistat vlog)
Being RICH vs Being POOR — a video essay (Casey Neistat vlog)
The Lillian Vernon Story (Casey Neistat vlog)
Music for this writing session: Coffee Table Jazz (playlist on spotify)