Updated: Dec 11, 2019
I’ve been trying to write a new post for a month now. I’ve honestly been uninspired. Usually a topic grabs my attention and forces me to write about it but lately I haven’t gotten that. Every time I try to write something it just feels forced. It doesn’t feel authentic, it feels pretentious and it doesn’t feel like it’s adding value to someone else’s life. I could easily make a “what type of banana are you” type of blog post but I see myself as an artist. Every artist believes that they can change the world and make it a better place through their skill set. Maybe I’ve put too much pressure on my work but that’s truthfully what I feel. Whether I’m making music, short films or podcasting I feel like, if I’m not adding value to someone’s life or shining a light on truth, then I’m not doing my job. So instead of masquerading under a veil of well written bullshit I’m gonna be transparent, a nigga needs inspiration.
All of us need inspiration at times but this rush culture dampens creativity. I’m about to turn 21 in a couple of weeks and it just feels like a deadline. And I guess the feelings that are associated with aging in this culture are conducive to maintaining a working class. The more I feel like there’s a deadline, the harder I work to meet whatever social requirement exists. I’ll work to try to have the cushy job, the bad girlfriend, the degree or whatever society says I’m supposed to have at that age. But when I’m doing creative work, thinking about money, status and deadlines kind of kills my spirit. I work through inspiration and inspiration hits when I’m able to sit back and think. That’s something that we lose as we grow older because of the fast pace of everything around us. The ability to imagine, daydream, think, reflect and just be a person. So I write about seeking inspiration while seeking inspiration because that’s the only thing inspiring me right now.
The rush is perpetuated by a lot of things and leads people to make desperate moves. That’s why a lot of kids my age start selling drugs, start robbing or even pop pills, to avoid the chronic anxiety of this fast paced culture. I think hip hop music is a great microcosm for the direction of the culture. In the 90s and early 2000s hustler rap was very predominant. Hip Hop was always about the rags to riches mentality. It’s these kids that came from the hood and finally made it out flaunting their wealth and giving game on how they made it out of their circumstances. And those moves are perfectly in-line with our consumer culture. You’re supposed to make money so you can buy nice things and be deemed successful. Rappers like Jay Z would talk about dealing drugs to make their money and it was the dealer that was put on a pedestal. People looked up to the dealer and not the fiend. Biggie Smalls even said on the Ten Crack Commandments (which is a song detailing what to avoid in order to become a successful dealer) that you shouldn’t get high on your own supply. Being a hustler was seen in the same light as being a mob boss. It was cool to do what it took to make it out of your circumstances. That was happening during the crack epidemic where drugs were funneled into the black community and were sold by many black youth in the hood. Hip Hop was a reflection of society at the time.
But as the years went on rappers started becoming the fiends. Rappers started detailing their mental health issues, they would cry out for help and tell you about every single prescription pill they were taking. Xanax is an anxiety treatment pill that’s treated like a party drug. There’s an Opioid crisis going on in the world right now and that’s partly because of the pace the world is moving at. The fast pace of the culture is deteriorating people’s mental health and rappers like Lil Peep and Juice Wrld who overdosed on pills are just famous examples of a social issue that’s happening right now.
We know about everything, all the time. Everyday there’s a news story. Everyday we’re bombarded by stimuli from all angles from ads to content to a new piece of technology to everyone’s opinions about everything. In French philosopher Jean Baudrillard's 1981 book Simulacra and Simulation, he discusses the idea of images and signs, and how they relate to our contemporary society, wherein we have replaced reality and meaning with symbols and signs; he states that what we know as reality is actually a simulation of reality. The simulacra that Baudrillard refers to are the signs of culture and media that create the reality we perceive: a world saturated with imagery, infused with communications media, sound, and commercial advertising.
Every year you can expect a brand new iPhone and every year you can expect to age. This simulated reality leaves us chasing after its ideas of success, luxury and happiness. Everyone is so focused on achieving goals and setting markers and making plans to ultimately achieve social status. And that push of kids starts from a young age, especially now. Kids have to do tests to get into preschool, they have play dates and violin lessons and karate lessons and homework etc, all before the 5th grade, kids don’t get to just go out and play with a stick anymore. All of our free time was spent consuming content and stimuli that real world graphics couldn’t hope to match. Every year there’s a new video game and a new Fortnite season, YouTube and Netflix. Why would you ever go outside? Or even sit quietly in boredom?
All that’s happening while the kids are growing older and real life responsibilities start catching up to them, only for them to realize that they didn’t have time to figure out who they are and what they want in life. And now they’re expected to go into schools and get into debt, to hopefully get a job they’ll probably hate, so they can spend the rest of their lives paying off loans and buying stuff to impress people they don’t like. And that’s why kids are popping pills and sipping lean. That’s why the depression, anxiety and suicide rates are rising. People are overworked since birth through meaningless exploits. There is a very small percentage of people that are actually doing a job they enjoy, and if you’re one of those people, good for you.
The problem isn’t 9-5s, the problem is the meaningless, barely livable wage jobs that exist just for the sake of existing in the job market. Millions of people are shoved into cubicles to pretend they’re doing work for 8 hours and then leave, and that’s not what a human being should have to do. We’re evolutionarily wired to do meaningful tasks and overcome obstacles, nobody wants to sit idly for hours at a time pretending to do important work. It’s soul crushing and it leads to rising depression and anxiety rates regardless of the wage.
And these same people could have avoided that fate if they were just given some time to be alone and think. My generation fears boredom. We fear sitting still and being alone with our thoughts because we don’t need to be. We grew up having access to all of the worlds music, movies, games and content at our disposal. Even if I’m standing in line at the bank, I’ll go on Twitter just so I don’t have to awkwardly stand there and be bored with my thoughts. Our rapid technological advancement and fast paced culture has taken that ability away from us. We can’t just sit still, turn off the phones, TVs, and any outside stimuli to just think. And thinking is the most productive attribute we have. It’s a blessing to be able to daydream and imagine solutions to problems outside of what we know to be “reality”. For a lot of us reality is just what our parents, family members and community did, even though there’s a whole world outside of that. It’s a blessing to know that outside of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the device in your hand has access to all the information the world has ever known and you could use your creativity to unlock new inventions, schools of thought and pathways of success for yourself.
But all of that starts with being able to sit down, relax and think. And that’s why I’ve been uninspired. I’ve been so focused on getting up, starting my business, grinding and trying to make money that I’ve forgotten how I even got the ideas I had in the first place. By chilling out, sitting back and just thinking. Those are my most precious moments and I don’t try to control them. I used to let my mind wander wherever it wanted and I could be in that zone for hours uninterrupted. I never knew that it was a luxury but I’m here to tell you that it is. Being able to sit still and not consume stimuli and just think is one of the most precious skills we have and one of our greatest attributes.
I think that we live in a great time where we have access to resources, information and technology that our grandparents would have killed for. But I also think a lot of us are uninspired and overstimulated. I think we get so much dopamine from these devices that nothing else can compare and we go through withdrawals if we’re not on them. I think that’s a part of why a lot of us are so depressed and I think just being able to sit back and be a person for a while without consuming so much stimuli can take us a long way.
I truly believe that overstimulation leads to complacency and that's why a lot of people are anxious and depressed. The way our lives in the 21st century are structured is the gravitational pull of mediocrity. Once you’re comfortable and have your needs such as food, shelter and entertainment met you become docile and accept more stagnation. But that's not what life's about. You need to find meaningful tasks, you need to develop a path and you need time to be a person. You’re not just a machine that’s here to consume, you’re a complex human being. You need meaning, adventures and obstacles, that's why you possess the creativity to overcome them. I don’t think it's conducive to our well-being to move at the pace of the culture.
The way to slow down the pace of life isn’t to slow the world down, that’s impossible. You have to slow yourself down. Your life is yours, it fits you like your skin. If you stop, everything stops. If you bend, everything bends. Life is more internal than external, it’s all in your mind. Unplug and give yourself time to think. Reflect on how far you've come, where you want to go and what you want out of life. But again, I’m not even 21 yet so I have no idea. Maybe we should inspire ourselves, try to find ways to better ourselves, our circumstances and those around us or maybe we’re all depressed cause we’re doomed and we should just consume as much content and food as possible until we die from a pill overdose as 40 year old call center employees. Who’s to say which ones better.
" Change your mind, and you change your relation to time"-Funkadelics 'Good Thoughts Bad Thoughts'