Giving People What They Want Will Make you Money
Conversely, giving people what they need will earn you credibility
Do you want to be someone?
Congratulations, you already are simply by virtue of being born! Isn’t life extraordinary? We squander most of it chasing after something that was there all along, you know, not the money but the stuff that really matters, belonging, connectedness, love.
We bleed ourselves dry to make money. Our life is so intellectually and emotionally empty it’s the only definition of success we understand, success that will fill our life with stuff. So we can brag and boast about it and show it to those who covet it, feeding dreams, feeding ego, feeding hunger, that insatiable hunger that always demands more than we need.
Greed, the human emotion that bloats bodies and minds.
We need something to be proud of so we focus on the girth of our want, on growing that want until it eats the internet while bathing in chronic acid reflux of the self.
We’re not about enlightenment as much as eclipsing everyone else until the masses dwelling in darkness look up to us. We want others to beg us for crumbs of attention, a nod, a wave, an acknowledgement no matter how cursory that their existence registers with us.
They want to be us so we have to let them down gently and explain that being us isn’t all it’s cracked to be.
Because making the dream look accessible when it will forever remain out of their reach is our livelihood.
We’ve never achieved anything, we’re nobodies, we have no outstanding skill or talent so we’re everybody leading similarly unremarkable little lives.
The lowest common denominator will always be a unifying force; it appeals to our basest instincts, our voyeuristic side that feasts on human misery, the humiliation and exploitation of others, their private disgraces and greatest fears, their downfall while we remain standing, feeling smug and superior.
Our own insignificance projected onto a giant canvas so it might finally be seen as worth emulating, a life lesson in elevating oneself from zero to hero.
Make no mistake, it is those zeroes who make up our paycheck. We have no qualms about relieving them of their hard-earned cash by getting them hooked on the one commodity essential to survival: hope.
And there isn’t a human in the world who couldn’t always use more hope no matter how much they already have.
Because hope is life.
And who in their right mind would deny their peers the freedom to dream big, bigger than they would ever have envisaged when dispensing hope on tap is so very lucrative?
When our self-worth is tied to a dollar figure, we aren’t interested in character as much as identity, we aren’t interested in being of service but in serving ourselves.
Give people what they want even if it isn’t real because most of us struggle and crave relief, something to numb our brains so we might escape the pain and pointlessness of our own existence for a moment or two. We need what we cannot have because we don’t want what we already have.
So we might find meaning in life beyond reproduction.
We have no clue why we are here, we have no clue what we are for so we drift aimlessly through our allotted time on this planet in accordance with whatever privilege we enjoy, or not as the case may be.
Of course, none of the above should ever be common knowledge otherwise the house of cards that is our livelihood could come tumbling down as the masses understand that the outdoor light they kept seeking all along already burned within them.
Belonging, connectedness, love.
We can’t buy it but we can fake it with the right algorithm so we might as well monetize it. We created a problem so we could sell a solution, we empowered greed without considering it might one day eat us alive.
Of course, had anyone tried to tell us, we would have hated them for crushing the hope we paid so dearly for. Inspiration is a business that trades in hope, dreams, and hyperboles. It makes bank at the expense of human gullibility and candor.
Credibility comes from the willingness to think critically about what is, assessing and reporting it with honesty even when it flies in the face of what we want. It is the reward for engaging in intellectual labor with integrity and accountability while encouraging others to do the same for the common good.
As long as we want more than we need, we will never live free but enslaved by the illusion that life has a meaning.
We are but one more combination of atoms configured in a singular way, just like every other species or thing on this planet.
The lowest common denominator of all is stardust.
And it glitters as it reflects the light.
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor living out of a suitcase in transit between North America and Europe. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.