What have we traded?


Consumerism is like a giant parasite latched onto our creativity.

When we were hunter-gatherers, we would experience novelty and adventure by moving territory and encountering new plants and animals, maybe other tribes, beautiful landscapes. We would look at what was on offer in the huge malls of the savannahs and tall forests until we spotted what we were looking for – bush meat. This was our bargain hunt! We’d hunt it down in adrenalin filled chases and despatch the animal in ingenious and daring ways.

Later that evening, we would rejoice in our successful shopping expedition by feasting on our catch and round the camp fire we would regale each other with stories of daring-do, of incredible displays of courage and show off the scars of our campaign. Later still, music and dancing would spontaneously be spirited out of the bones of the dead animals. The pounding rhythms and hypnotic movements shadowed by the dancing flames of the fire under the shimmering stars would intoxicate everyone.

Then some of the hunters would disappear into the bowels of a cave, armed with torchlight and pigments. Deep inside the rock, they would attempt to communicate with invisible others and tell them of their joy of living in the connected web of things.

Tens of thousands of years later we re-visit those caves and in the startling colours and lines, we uncomprehendingly marvel at our own history. It is like a fantastic dream of impossible highs.

This was the life we had. This was the life of purpose and ineffable magnificence.

And what have we traded it for?

Like simple savages, we have traded our entire way of life in exchange for a few gewgaws offered by the corporate adventurer. From them, we have accepted the safe routine of herded shopping instead of the risky, unpredictable hunt, they have sold us the idea of cinema instead of our own campfire stories, and we accept their worthless celebrity gods instead of our own priceless wonder at the thrill of existence.

In this way we have learned to deny our creativity. We have learned to reduce our ambition to one of browsing online; we willingly starve ourselves of any nutrition so that we become mere shadows of what we once were. Our heritage has been obliterated by the parasite that we invented. In the same way that entire species were wiped out by the appearance of human hunters, so now those hunters themselves face extinction from a new species of corporate parasite that kill you softly and slowly with the numbing venom of all consuming ennui.

Creativity is a remembering of the time before the parasite. When we allow ourselves the pleasure of creative play we begin to recall some of the rhythms and movements that we must have enjoyed under the shimmering stars only a heartbeat ago. Life had greater purpose when we made our own lives. We can still reclaim that territory.

We’ve had the industrial revolution, the information revolution; the next revolution will be creative.

2 Responses to “What have we traded?”

  1. I settle over 60 dollars monthly for my cable television.
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    can go for free download movies.

  2. Having read this I thought it was extremely informative.
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