Here is a fluff piece from Seth Godin concerning the lack of discerning palates; it began with “The creation of worthwhile work is a duet. The creator has to do her part, but so does the customer.” He then placed the emphasis on the customer, and to my mind effectively trivialised a significant issue for contemporary change.
The key understanding concerns that of creativity, we live in a world where creativity is being driven out INTENTIONALLY. This is the underlying point that Seth doesn’t address. Why is it that we don’t seek out the most creative aspects of life whether it is food or any other product? And the answer is mostly that we have been dumbed down into accepting products with the cheaper costs of mass production. Seth did not discuss the cost of his airport sushi restaurant so maybe it was just an issue of discernment there. But for most people the creative has been driven off the agenda because of the necessary expense for the artist or craftsman. And even when money is being spent such as the purchase of items to represent status – the flash car etc., the expensive item is chosen by the marketing rather than by creativity. It is this conformity that is at the root of the lack of discernment of Seth’s sushi restaurant’s customers.
But this lack of discernment goes far deeper than purchase of fashion instead of creativity. Do we now recognise the creative? How many people actually look for the creative? For the most part marketing mechanisms have driven this off the agenda.
What about character, do we respect character? What is it that makes character but originality? Do we seek the development of originality – the development of creativity? Again marketing mechanisms work against that. Our celebrities are often not such because of character but often fashion – and even worse a conformity to fashionable iconicism. The creative has been replaced by the conformed icon. If we don’t seek the creative in our music or entertainment, why are we going to seek it in our food taste? How many choose a restaurant for celebrity rather than ambiance or the quality of food? This is another aspect of the lack of desire for creativity, we do not desire quality; we desire the conformity of what is socially accepted as quality – fashion.
What about insight? Do we value insight in others? Do we look for this insight? A person with insight has wisdom, shouldn’t our lives be guided by wisdom? Instead we have sound bytes, tweets, superficiality, all governed by fashion, and the wisdom of the insightful is just passed by.
And where could this change? Education. It would be good if parents promoted creativity, wisdom and insight above fashion but for the most they don’t value this. And even if they did, peer fashion is a far more powerful call than parental wisdom. But in education, creativity, wisdom, insight and intuition ought to be promoted every second word. Even if teachers were concerned about such promotion, first would they recognise such deep attributes? Maybe they would personally but it is not something promoted in education colleges sufficiently.
But the greatest straitjacket on the promotion of such depths is the exam system. Where are the exams on creative writing? Literature and poetry look at comparisons, quotes, structure and established writers; the emphasis is not on creativity even though many such establishment figures were creative in their time. In art skills are valued more than creativity in exams. It is the creative that is more important in education but for exams it is not measured. This conformity comes down to the basic education issue that can never truly be addressed, in our education system we are not concerned with the creative, but with careers and the development of workforce mindsets – wage-slavery.
But there will soon come a time when this lack will threaten our way of life. So-called artificial intelligence. The values of creativity, wisdom, insight and intuition can never be programmed. One might describe these values as aspects of human intelligence but in that case artificial intelligence is a misnomer, a robot cannot possess these except in fiction. The problem is that robotic mechanisation is beneficial to mass production, products made more cheaply to increase profits. Within the near future robots will be able to do many repetitive menial tasks that humans currently do with errors because they are so robotic.
But our society does not value the creative, wise, insightful and intuitive simply because they have no profit component. Why? Because we have accepted mass production and accepted the undervaluing of these wonderful human attributes – attributes no robot can attain.
This conformity to profit and fashion is so dangerous. Possible outcomes. Eugenic programmes as there are so many people and robots can do the menial better ie more profitably. We need to value humans, what is distinctly human, the creative, wise insightful and intuitive. When the robots come there will be the survival of the 1%, and a reduction of the 99% because they cannot create as much profit as the robot.
Where will go the creative, wise, insightful and intuitive? These are not attributes of the 1% whose main direction is the lack of these faculties otherwise how could they hurt so many in the interest of profit?
Seth, it is not the customer who is lacking – that is the conditioning. It is the very systemic valuing that creates the dull palate – the lack of discernment.
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