Unpopular Opinion

Unpopular Music Biz Truth – Technology Makes Us Assholes but Love is the Solution so it might be ok…I think.

Louis CK has it right in his assessment of the “meh” generation. We live in the most amazing, technologically advanced and privileged time in human history, but everyone is bored. We all know we are the benefactors of ages of human struggle and advancement. We all know how lucky we are to have been born in this time, over any other time. So what is with us?

Life is a gift and the real world, the one outside of our laptop’s, iphone’s, netflix, tablet, twitter feed blah blah blah is this amazing place full of beauty, knowledge, creativity, experiences. etc. Its relatively safe here. All of the essentials to our survival are in abundance. Nonessential things created by people to improve the quality of our time here, also in masses of abundance. How much more awesome do things need to get before people notice.

Technology brings positive things obviously, but the negative things are often invisible. The culture of “meh” is an effect of the media environment. With all of the amazing things that technology has given us (Euphonic Sound for one LOL) it has also changed us into creatures our grand parents would barely recognize as fellow humans (lucky for them they don’t have to see this).

In my life instead of worrying about being eaten by lizards or gathering food during regular outbreaks of starvation, I exist in a world that allowed me to play music, build audio gear and a recording studio, study music and production, etc. I’m able to dedicate my life to a non-essential thing. Don’t get me wrong music is extremely essential at making the world a better place to live, but its not a basic like food, shelter, air , water, fire. Most of human existence before us (and still the reality of billions today in other parts of the world) didn’t have the luxury to make such “frivolous’ life choices. So why are we such un-impressed narcissistic assholes? And what can be done about it?

Media theorist Marshall McLuhan said, to paraphrase; Study the media to gain an understanding of it’s effects. Once you do that, program a response or counter measure. In the current case we are not doing that (we’ve never done that in a meaningful way). Instead we just say “meh.” We are given “meh” and we feel “meh.”

But not artists and creative types right? I don’t know about that, as much as I love musicians (especially the ones in Toronto) I see a lot of bored looking cats going through the motions. I don’t think any of us are immune to the effects of the media environment. Its when I see “meh” culture invading the personalities of the people I’ve always loved most, musicians, that I feel the need to talk about this.

This notion of, everyones an asshole now, is best introduced through humour (from Louis CK, a comedian, who is an artist, who by definition is ahead of the curve). It is the purpose of art to guide human existence safely through its development. McLuhan said that art is like a Noah’s Arc and that artists were like the antennae of the human species. There is a message in Louis bit that we need to get.

With a new awareness we have to try to not let our gadgets and media access turn us into narcissists. At the heart of it love is the counter measure. And we all have to design our own unique application of the love solution. You will know you are onto something when you start becoming less narcissistic and more giving and involved with other people doing things you and they love. We can’t be assholes, the future of humanity is depending on us not to be now. If you are already not an asshole, still try to be even less of one, but pretty much continue on in your efforts :)

A true study of the world we live in involves things McLuhan discussed (Today known as Media Theory or Media Ecology. Or just, study of environment). Media literacy and awareness of its effects points out solutions fairly obviously. What is not obvious is what the real effects of the media environment are. This has had people misunderstanding the problem and chasing after the wrong solutions since McLuhan pointed it out in the 1950s. Go down a rabbit hole of amazing environmental knowledge and study some Media Ecology (start with Marshall McLuhan’s book, “Understanding Media”). Or if you don’t have time for that just know this,

It’s all love or we stop being human.

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