February 13, 2011

Creativity vs your Armani handbag

So it seems I opened a can of worms with my NGAS post. In emails, some claimed it was mean spirited, bitter and pessimistic. Others said my message was honest, truthful and had a more of a Buddhist "less is more" vibe. Here's the deal: I was basically saying that it seems that our value and self worth has become solely based on materialistic things and what we've acquired. Every single day someone tells you how they just bought the latest iPhone, Kindle, the newest Gucci sunglasses, a $600 handbag, a $400 dollar pair of shoes, a new Mac or their new stylish watch.

I find it nearly unbelievable that people stand in line for 15 hours or more to get their hands on the newest iPad or iPhone, just so they can tell someone (who might care) they got it first? How incredibly stupid is that? Our whole economy is fueled by this madness and consumerism. That absurd stimulus package our brilliant lawmakers came up with made no sense to me at all. The government sent everyone $600 and then told them to go buy anything with it, just spend it, piss it away... quickly. Remember, America consumes more (and pollutes more) than any other country in the world. Is that a good thing? It's obviously not working because our economy is tanking....

I digress. Back to my NGAS post. Many years ago I had a close friend who constantly reminded me of how smart he was. He seemed bright enough but according to him he'd give Einstein a run for his money in the brains department. One day while taking a drive, after a few months of hearing his incessant bragging, we were stopped at a traffic light and I remember looking over at him and saying something like this, "Hey, you keep telling me how smart you are. That means nothing to me. Your head is just a bigger file cabinet than mine, filled with useless information. You want to impress somebody? Create something. Play a beautiful tune for me on a piano or guitar, write a poem, paint a picture, write a book, make a wooden bowl out of a tree stump, take a blob of clay and make a pot, take a great photograph! Stuffing your head with information doesn't impress me, creating something does."

He never talked about how smart he was again. And, unfortunately, he wasn't very creative. My point is, or was, these days it seems like creativity has taken a distant backseat to materialistic "bling." I remember years ago seeing a moronic bumper sticker on the back of a Range Rover that said "He who who dies with the most toys wins". That attitude has created a serious plague on our hands, called consumerism. Which is defined as "an addiction for material goods."

Here are some fun facts:
Americans have $2.40 BILLION in credit card debt.
The average person has 3.5 cards.
There are 48 million Amex cards issued out there.
171 million Master cards.
269 million Visa cards.
The average college student carries a balance of $3100.
Total U.S. revolving debt (98% credit card) is $852.6 BILLION dollars.

This is ALL fueled by addictive consumerism.

So, that was my point of NGAS. Impress someone with something you created with your hands and mind, an act of generosity or charity or even with stories of a recent visually stimulating adventure you may have taken.

Just don't show me anything that you bought. Any dope can do that.

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