Monday, April 12, 2010

What is it now?

Now, I'm seeing that the embrace between Phil and Amy Mickelson is big news. I suppose that's for one or two reasons.
1 - It's a response to her breast cancer diagnosis and
2 - It's the anti-Tiger thing. Either way, it's kind of creepy and extremely - human.
We respond to something called Schadenfreude - taking joy in the misery of others. We also respond to the opposite, which is to say we take joy in what we would want to experience ourselves, that is, overcoming adversity to achieve something we perceive as great.
Winning The Masters golf tournament is one of those things, or so we hear. It's the lottery and a game of skill all rolled into one. The Holy Grail of achievements, and we think so because TV tells us so. We're gullible that way.
It has theme music, a pastoral setting and big money, which are three ingredients to what we refer to as success. It must mean that, if we won that tournament we would be successful.
The next time you're out in public, take a look around. We are a part of a huge conglomerate of humanity. Every one of us is struggling to make something of ourselves in whatever manner we have seen fit. Some think it is being a parent, some think it is being a good employee and others have some other convoluted notion that involves being famous or accumulating a collection of things that is bigger than others' accumulations. None of them equates to success.
The world is a big place, and it's bigger than any of us could imagine. Say "Phil Mickelson" to some tribesman in Kenya and he'll look at you with a curious gaze, and you'll wonder (in your first-world perspective) "how could you not know who Phil Mickelson is?" The same could be said of Amy Winehouse, Jay Leno or (God forbid) Oprah Winfrey. It's a simple fact of life in the real world.
The idea here is that all of our struggles to make something of ourselves are struggles within ourselves, and those struggles amount to nothing because, as the saying goes, "Ten million people in China don't know who you are." Put into perspective, it begins to make sense. Look at the people on the highway or in front of us in line at the Wal-Mart and think, "Who are these people, and why don't I know them?" The disconnect is staggering. Millions of people have no idea who we are or what we want, yet we compete against them in some strange way.
I thought of this not only after watching the self-important "The Masters" golf tournament, but also after seeing a Best Buy ad for the Apple iPad, and how important they made it seem to our everyday lives. Scrolling through photos, reading things and looking important all seem so ... important, somehow. Advertising is a big part of what we think we want.
Maybe we can all take stock in ourselves and what we think we want and try to separate what we think we want from what we really want, or ... God forbid ... need in our lives in order to make them fulfilling. If it comes down to simple entertainment, making another person (or animal) happy or earning an honest living, then good for us. But, if it comes down to some gadget or other such appliance and how acquiring it in some way enhances our humanity, then ...
God forbid.


Jack said...

Thanks Anthony. You're right. The disconnect between what's happening in me and what's happening in front of me can be one that really does distract us from the things that do make us happy. It's like being stuck in an imginary race rather than being a generous member of the human race.

Firestarter5 said...

World pop. 6,814,839,528
22:49 UTC (EST+5) Apr 14, 2010

I'm fairly certain 6,814,839,453 people don't know me.

...I have more radios than you...