© 2015 Josh The-end

Deus Ex Acceptisimi

Success is a hierarchy; a tacit agreement that your influence is worth the attention of other people, paid in time, in currency, or in sentiment. All of our desires, to be better than we are, is emulation of the successful ideal, with or without the source: the primal source, the architecture, the foundation from which the perceived traits are derived. We emulate the image, rather than the person, because we don’t know if we’re capable of the art or the craft.

If you’re really good at something, that thing that you do will take other people’s time away from them.  If you make a great movie, your success is based on other people giving you two hours of their time, at least once. If you make a great album it lives in someone else’s brain for the duration plus the time they spend thinking about it, humming it.  If you write a brilliant novel, you’re taking someone’s full focus for a day, multiplied by every person who read the book and wants to talk about it. If you’re sex-incarnate on a billboard on a skyscraper, your image will haunt the fantasies and insecurities of millions, conscious or not.

Some people are propelled internally, or squeezed externally, and rise; buoyed by merit or suspended by circumstance, to an elevation where their influence broadcasts clearly, others are so dense that their gravity is undeniable even if it’s hidden, drawing ideas into orbit like satellites that rebroadcast their influence. Some are buried treasure; to be unearthed and wondered over in some distant future beyond the scope of their own relevant influences.

There’s talent, the innate ability to generate influence, and skill, which is the focused and directed application of talent; and both exist in varying degrees in all great successes.  The delusion we self perpetuate is ignoring talent and skill as a prerequisite for greatness, and we become obsessed with the image.  Image worship cuts two ways, because it seems like a shortcut to truth – the idea that this person has it figured out and we should do what they do, and it discredits work in a similar vein for fear of inferiority.

There’s fear, for sure, throughout the whole enterprise of image and success, on every level. It’s all the same fear, fear of uncertainty which is more specific than fear of the unknown; and it’s an inalienable fear.  We dress it up in other clothes, but it’s the same fear, and we fight it with truth.  I don’t mean it in the metaphysical, spiritual, hippie-dippy sense of truth; but that every little kernel of truth we can eek out of this experience is like a little bit of ballast we can use to steady ourselves on the trip.

Since so many of us don’t do much pursuing of truth, we look for absolutes, the undeniable, the answers from those who seem to have figured it out. For lack of our own arete we emulate, or strive to emulate those traits, and we hunger.  We consume validation, validity, the hallmark of truth; this is right, this is what should be, I’m right, I’m making progress, I have status, I have value.

We validate first the clearest voices, the brightest lights, the beacons of sensation in our estimation; we permit them whatever pursuit with our time, our attention, our money; we hope that they pursue truth and reveal it to us. Ostensibly we hope those beings that we hold in high regard will return to the cave and tell us about the light. Not to say that we gift these people, absent merit, a clear path; first we must be impressed, and then we must be attended, and then we escalate our demands, we just as often scapegoat the genius, the artist, the scientist, the prophet, the author, as we do exalt them.

The sea of humanity is a treacherous one, with roiling waves harboring terrible beasts and unpredictable hazards. Some explorers discover new shores, others drown forgotten.

I’m listening to David Bowie, Hunky Dory, right now, and I had to sit back and close my eyes, it absolutely pulled me out of my mind. I want to swim in it. I owe it my complete attention tonight.

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