"Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth—more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks to the pit of hell and is not afraid… Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man."
Original thought. What a concept. Today, because of our exposed society, thoughts and ideas are shared and swallowed and regurgitated constantly. Sometimes people do it purposely, they just become accustom to taking the online personas of their favorite celebrities, idols, friends, whoevers, and work that into who they are or want to be. At that moment the web-star and his or her fans cease to be original. It creates these unnatural pockets of fame, which lead to awkward, not fully-human relationships. All the sudden they are all trapped in this fully-enclosed subculture of weird. It happens all the time. Someone is attractive, seemingly confident, they have style, they have supposed wisdom, whatever they have, other people want to have it too. I probably do it too, unconsciously, or maybe even consciously, if I’m inspired—I want what someone else has. I’m guilty of losing touch with my own-true-thoughts just as much as the next person. Some people do it to an extreme ala “ripping” people off, stealing ideas, style, photos, captions, whole entire lives (Catfish style), whatever. It’s unsettling—but it’s more blatant, more obvious. Plus it’s been happening forever. It may be more extreme now with a multitude of fame and ideas and products and music right at the tip of everyone’s fingers. But it’s always happened to some extent since time began. Crazed fans—think sobbing teenaged girls through the ages. Idea thieves—why patents were invented hundreds of years ago.
What bothers me is the less obvious, the accidental—the collision of all these ideas and people and words and the cultural black hole that collision is creating. What’s frustrating is the mishmash of repeated phrases and meaningless jargon (meaningless jargon is anything from yolo to anything that people say but don’t mean), hokey fake online personalities, the disingenuousness of the human connections being made. In many ways I understand the positive of a shrinking planet, of being able to see and connect with the world of someone living half a world away. It’s nice to be able to keep track of old friends, far-away family and anyone and everyone you’ve ever met. Yeah, all that is good. But with all of that available, it’s hard to not be connected. It’s hard to untangle yourself from the thousands of agendas and sales pitches and opinions that float up from screens, from magazines, from music, from anything and every thing that is selling itself to you in one way or another.
But this isn’t a post about “unplugging” or the negative impact of social media on society…as much as it seems like that is exactly what it is. It’s really not. Forget that. Fuck that. That is a snowball that has already made it’s way down the mountain. It’s a snowball the size of NYC that’s not stopping any time soon. This post is inspired by the dream of original thought. It’s about inspiring myself and discussing with you, whoever might be reading this, an attempt to get back to individual original thought. It’s not even an attempt, it’s just a discussion about an attempt. We’re losing individuality to this conglomeration of online experiences. So this is about attempting to create a verbal blueprint to somehow find those unique ideas. How do you detach yourself from the pull of all that you see and read and hear from the influx of the world wide web in your life, in order to get in your own head and draw from your own individual experiences, your own personal knowledge stores, your heritage, your story, your gut? How do you get to and then permanently dwell in your own originality?
I’m not talking about being different. God, no. Please. I hope we all see the harm in being different just for the sake of not being the same. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the blueprint. I’m talking about original ideas and thoughts that the world so desperately needs that only you could possibly conceive. I’m talking about being able to clear away the confusion of who you think you should be, who you wish you were, what you wish you had, what you think you need and discovering who you already are. Find out who you are in there and just think about that person. Sit and think. Get to know that person—vaguely identifying, loosely defining, warmly embracing, fully accepting. Once you have a firm grasp on who you are, start thinking about things. About the world, about what inspires you, about what disgusts you. Then, right after you found yourself in there, forget about yourself, and just think thoughts. Do it without entanglements. Forget about the freaking internet, your predicaments, insecurities, religion, dogma, judgments, doubts, stresses, forget about all that. I will too. Think about everything you don’t know but could learn. Think about everything you think you know but are probably wrong about. Let’s think. Think about ideas. Let’s think thoughts. Let’s see what happens.