On equality

Why do we strive for equality? We say we want smaller wage gaps, equal pay, equal rights, equal privilege, equal opportunites.

But do you really want to be equal with everyone else?

The worldwide median family income is less than $10,000 per annum.

That would be ‘fair’.

But do YOU want YOUR family to live on less than $10,000 per annum?

If you’re reading this on a computer, achieving that ‘fair’ wage will require YOU to give up a large chunk of your net-worth (and a good few bedrooms in your house).

It will require giving up luxuries like WiFi, seaside holidays and good wine (the stuff that comes in a nice understated bottle).

It will require giving up retirement plans and financial security, and living hand to mouth.

Do you still want to be equal?

What is ‘fair’ anyway? 

Life is not fair. Far from it.

Life is extremely UNFAIR, naturally.

You can see this in the wild. Some plants and animals are simply at the bottom of the food chain. Others are at the top.

Likewise, some people are born uncommonly beautiful. Or smart. Or tall. Or strong. Or thin. Or in a nicer climate.

Or rich.

Others are less fortunate.

However, we don’t insist that beautiful people wear bags on their heads to hide their gifted looks.

We don’t insist great minds get penalised with a frontal lobotomy to even the playing field.

We don’t shorten tall people’s legs. Or break the legs of great athletes to make them just the same as the rest of us.

We don’t force everyone to live in the Sahara desert – so we can all endure the same crappy climate.

No.

We understand that there is no way to make these things fair and equal. Some people simply luck out.

Why then, when it comes to wealth, do we attempt to fix the system?

Why do we wish to penalise and punish the lucky in wealth?

Imagine if we applied the same forced equality principles to love… and forced all happy couples, the lucky in love, to break up their relationships to be equal to all the people broken homes…

Equality makes no sence if you have to take something from someone else to make it so.

 

 

 

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Ask yourself these two questions before you post another update

Is this needy? 

Am I fishing for compliments? Begging for “likes” to boost my self-esteem?
Am I doing the online equivalent of asking the world if these jeans make me look fat?

Is this narcissistic?

Am I bragging? Showing off?
Am I just talking about myself and my selfies?

Before you post your next brand, business, or even a personal update on your favourite social media platform, ask yourself these two questions.

If the answer to either is “yes” do not press send.

Go back to the drawing board and come up with something valuable to humanity. Or, at least, useful to your target market.  Do not post things that are merely comforting to your own vanity.

 

When did being bad become good?

“The liberal idea of tolerance is more and more a kind of intolerance. What it means is ‘Leave me alone; don’t harass me; I’m intolerant towards your over-proximity.”
~ Slavoj Žižek

 

It says a lot about our society that it’s acceptable to behave as a slut, but not acceptable to not accept the slutty behaviour.

Since when did being bad become a good thing?

Since was did having morals and standards become morally reprehensible?

Since when do people, unashamedly, without morals (and often without any clothes on either) get to claim the moral high ground and publicly shame people with morals?

There is something very wrong with this picture.

Especially when we look beyond the proud nudes in front of us to the other, more serious, bad behaviours that are gaining acceptance and even admiration: Antisemitism, racism, militant nationalism, religious intolerance, hate speech, violence…

It appears as long as you can label yourself some kind of ‘victim’, ‘minority’, ‘previously disadvantaged’ or ‘oppressed’ group you can get away with murder – with public approval.

 

The biggest trend of now

Selfishness.

Me me me.

That’s the biggest trend of today.

If you are a marketer, appeal to your target market’s selfish ambitions and narcissistic  tendencies and you will win them over.

The Guardian recently published an article on the current “epidemic of narcissism“.

The article speaks truth, and we’re only just embarking on our collective love affair with our collective selves.

#Selfies only made it into the dictionary in 2013.

 

 

What sort of government do you want?

With the whole world talking about the American primaries, politics are popular right now.

But have you ever though about what kind of government you really want?

Far Right? Far Left?

Republican? Democrat?

Fascist? Communist?

For me, there is only one answer.

I’ll take any of the above, as long as they leave me alone.

The best government is a small government with small powers of authority, a small military and a very small budget to waste.

On the topic of free education

Across the world, students are demanding free higher, university level education.

Here is my question:

The thing with ‘free’ eduction though, is that someone still has to pay. If the student or their family does not foot the bill, someone else has to pay for the lecturers, books, buildings, electricity and the like.

The someone, in this case, is the state.

If the state (and the taxpayers by association, since the state if funded by taxpayers) pays for their education, should the state then not have the right to decide what they study?

Should the state not have the right to offer free education, but only for degrees for which there is a demand for new graduates?

After all, the logical (not the emotional ‘fairness’ ideology which I will ignore for now) argument for ‘free’ education is that a better educated population equals a better, more productive workforce, which in turn equals a better economy, which in turn benefits the benefactors of the free education; the state and the tax payers.

The issue is, what happens when most of the students who hope to be recipients of this policy decide they want to study art history and basic psychology?

After all, a  three year Bachelor of Arts degree seems like so much more ‘fun’ than a lengthy medical or engineering programme.

But how many arts graduates does an economy really need? Does a surplus arts grad increase their own employability, or add value to the economy that sponsored their indulgence?

Surely, if raging baby boomer tax payers have to pay for student education, they should get something out of the deal too; doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, etc.

Somehow I don’t think the student protestors will go for this logic though.

They want the free education – without any strings attached. Why should they have to pay back any sort of debt to scociety?

 

 

On the cult of content

Do brands really need to become publishers to ‘survive’ today?

I would say no.

No consumer* wants to read another piece of ad content written by a brand, ad agency or PR company thing disguised as “useful editorial”.

No one benefits** from more words being written; from more content clutter on the “inter webs”.

Not even businesses.

Businesses should focus on what they do best – creating products and services for which there is a demand. If you supply a demand, you will succeed, whether or not you write (or pay someone to write) 350 – 500 words on the subject once a day.

I predict that the current content culture will, in time (although not soon enough) be seen as one of the biggest follies of our age.

Brand generated content should be as embarrassing to businesses as selfies are to human beings.

*The only people who win in a world where every brand and business is trying to become a publishing “thought leader” are the b-grade journalists and writers who found themselves become irrelevant and out of work when the media-advertsing-industrial complex died along with the advent of the internet. Luckily for them, they still had the dying embers of the media to sell us on the idea of content being the next big thing before they faded into obscurity…)

**Yes, I am aware of the irony of writing this opinion piece on a blog and the fact that for most of my adult life I have been paid to write, spin and publish content, but at least I have the humility to be embarrassed about it.

Who is your master?

If you work for a salary, or even own a business that requires you to work a defined number of hours in a defined place every week, you are a slave.

A slave is dependant on a master.

A slave is tied to a physical location – a time and place, not of his choosing, but of his master’s.

You are only truly your own master when your livelihood is not dependant on an hourly rate.

You are not free if you depend on someone else for a pay check or a grant.

If you depend on a pay check to survive, you are no less than six months from bankruptcy at any given time.

You are not free if your income depends on being in a particular place every day.

As long as your income is tied to (i.e. directly proportional to) your time, you can never be free of financial worry.

You are not free as long as your finances are dependant on your physical body.

The goal needs to be to separate your income from yourself – to create a location and time independent income stream.

You need to make sure your income is not dependant on any one person, company or even economy.

Your income needs to be self-sufficient, untied from any external factor’s success.

That’s the only way to stop being a slave.

Is this really the best we can do?

Do you ever look at our world leaders and think, “Is this really the best we can do?

Are they really the very best examples of humanity we could find out of all seven billion of us on planet Earth?”

 

The original JZ

Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa ~ (publicly advocates showering after sex prevents AIDS and built himself a 126 million rand straw hut)

 

the best we can do

Donald Trump, American billionaire and presidential hopeful (he also thinks building a wall around America to keep Mexicans out and shooting Muslims with pigs blood are neat ideas)

 

We should be ashamed of ourselves, humans.

On Art vs. Work

This may not be a popular post, but try to follow my logic.

I have a lot of friends in the creative industries: musicians, artists, dancers, writers and the like.

Like many artists, they are apt to complain of not being paid enough (or at all) for their art. They bemoan the fact that they are asked to perform for free or for ‘exposure’. They believe that they should be handsomely paid for their passions and talents.

That’s the problem.

Your passion is not necessarily a product. Your artistic expression is not a commodity you can put a price on.

You get paid for work. You do not ‘deserve’ to get paid for your art in and of itself.

You get paid for doing a service for which there is a demand – and a willing buyer.

You do not get paid for doing what you love to do just because you desire to get paid for it.

That’s the point.

If you want to get paid for your art, you are not really an artist anymore; you are a freelancer, a contractor, a service provider. You need to adapt, compromise and change your true art, the art you want to create, into a product you can sell.

But then it’s not really pure ‘art’ anymore is it?

When you are being paid to do something creative, you are not really living your art, you are fulfilling a commission.

True art is an expression of an inner passion and vision, which you will complete even if no one ever pays you for it.

If you want to make art.

Make art.

If you want to get paid, do a job.

Your work, your job may very well be artistic.

Likewise, your art may very well have taken years of hard work (and investment) to perfect.

But do not confuse the two with each other.

Artists create art for no other purpose than the job of creating.

Businesses, contractors and freelancers earn a profit.

True art is not a for profit exercise.

There is a difference between creating art, and selling services; difference between doing what you love and adapting your talent into something with a tangible value.

At the end of the day, what you love to do may very well never be worth very much to the market, no matter how hard you’ve worked at it.

It might always be priceless (or valueless) in the eyes of your target market.

If the going rate for your art (or product) is free, you have to decide for yourself, if you’re willing to accept the going rate or not. You do not have to give your art away for free, you have every right to keep it for yourself – or to keep looking for a willing buyer.

At the same time, you cannot judge consumers for not wanting to buy your product – just like a shoe seller cannot be upset with you for choosing to window shop rather than buy a pair…

Art is art. Work is work.

You make art because you want to.

You do work because you get paid.

Decide for yourself what you create and what you sell.