Updated: Jan 14
"When they discover the centre of the universe, a lot of people will be very disappointed that they are not in it"
Well here's a polemic one but one I think is important. I have actually been thinking of this one for a while but two factors brought out in the urge to write about it today;
Having recently re-read the pretty darn decent "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" by Mark Manson (if you haven't read it, I urge you to do so).
Watching mediocre writers get all hissy whenever someone tells them their work is not perfect.
So, Alan, is this a bad mood you are in today? No Sir/Ma'am/Other it is not, simply a realistic assessment of what I see around me but thank you for asking.
We live a world where everything comes easily; news, information, entertainment, fantasy, desire, products, movies, love, even groceries; they all come right to our device in the blink of an eye and the click of a mouse. Everything is easy and comes when we want it to, pretty much. I want a movie to watch? I go to website Z and stream it, watch it, my need is satisfied, one bunny is now happy! Is it a good thing, though, that everything is easy? Well...
I watch my Facebook feed, my Instagram feed (if it's actually also called that, I don't know) and I see it all the time..
Oh! My x, y and z is doing this and I feel so, like oh about it, please pity me!
Life is awful and we all need to commit suicide and write sad poems about it so people will like our pages and make us cool.
My random musings about the nature of how important my suffering is are going to be the Unholy Grail of vampiric, suicidal,S&M, magical creatures with gender uncertainty issues!
The list goes on and on. There is a ready and immediate place for people to express themselves immediately and, to a degree, anonymously, and express themselves they do. The lonely and rejected can (and this is where it starts to get really ironic) meet lots of other lonely and rejected people so they can share their feelings of loneliness and rejection together. It's becoming dangerous though, look at that whole "Blue Whale" game and "13 Reasons Whu-Ay-Uh-Aaaaay Did they make it??".Ooooh let's commit suicide and self harm the enthusiastic teenagers cry! What the sweet and holy f is going on??
Entitlement, that's what. The world owes me something. I am important. My feelings are important. You must listen to me. You must allow me to express myself. You must accept me for what I am. You cannot judge me. You cannot criticise me.
Excuse me but why? If I must accept you in all your grey non-confOrmist conformity, then you had better accept me in mine and, in the words of the great Denis Leary;
I'm asshole and proud of it!
When it comes to being forced, pushed and obligated to accept someone because they feel that I should. No Sir/Ma'am/Other I am not obliged in any way, shape or form to do what you want me to. If your entitled right to do such things is to be accepted by me, my right to disagree with you in an asshole-like fashion is equally acceptable, correct?
Ok then, I am glad we agree, thank you.
Another field of entitlement has clearly affected us all and is right out there. I bet you most of us have used it. I know I have, our little dirty secret called "Self Publishing"...ooooh I said a dirty word! It used to be called, a long time ago, "Vanity publishing" but they realised that didn't sell too well as people really do not like having the negative sides of themselves revealed do they? Unless they're of that group of folks who talk about those kinds of feelings a lot, that is! It is what it is though, we are appealing to our own vanity are we not, somewhat? Think about it and drop me some ideas in the comments, ok? I'll skip over that and press on.
We are certain, we are definite that we have produced a masterpiece and it should be made known to the world entire lest they wither and die in it's absence. As many of you know, pre self publishing, getting your Magnum Opus into print was a Herculean effort very few achieved. We could spend our entire lives trying; canvassing agents, entering contests, submitting to circulars and journals or magazines. We could spent 5, 10, 15, 20 years or more getting rejection slip after rejection slip and that was if we were lucky! Most of the time we got nada, nothing, zipperoo! I've been there, many of us have. it was rough but, you know what? We kept at it and here we are today.
Now do you know what the opposite of entitled is? I believe it is this; knowing what you are, what your limitations are and just accepting them, being at home in your own skin. You need no validation from anyone and so do what you like because it's pleasant. You expect nothing from anyone and so, when you fail to receive it, you're not disappointed, you're actually sort of relieved because that's less hard work isn't it?
In my opinion these entitled writers are never going to be successful, not in the long term. No more than these recycled pop groups, TV, books and movies will, they will rise, they will vanish, they will be forgotten. Why? There is so much information overload out there that lastest best thing will soon be replaced by next best thing before the former can even blink.
How can we be successful then? We have to learn how to grow, to not be entitled, to not be arrogant and think that we can do no wrong. We must be prepared to be a failure, to be discovered and exposed as failures and then have the wherewithal to stand up, dust off our pants and ask the most important question in the universe;
"What did we learn from that then?"