For a moment picture the Earth floating through space, this lonely ball of rock placed with exactitude in our solar system, the perfect distance from the Sun for life to begin and flourish, this planet surrounded by other heavenly bodies, all spinning on their axis in what we have called the ‘Universe’. And as we start to move into our world through the clouds, we can begin to see the shapes of blue and green where the aquatic worlds float under the surface and mammals stretch across the land comprised of towns, cities, deserts, mountains, forests and jungles. And what seem like ants from a distance are human beings living within their social structures, their evolved environments, their religions, their economies, their quotidian affairs utilizing some of the most advanced technology enhancing their lives, like never before. We definitely are living in a world of wonder, creativity and leisure. With the touch of a finger, we can access a colossal amount of information that will undoubtably add interest and inform our lives incredibly.
And what do we do collectively?
Take selfies. Repeatedly. Add filters. Keep checking to see how many views and likes. And then another selfie. Me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me! One, it seems, can never take enough selfies.
Hold on did you not just hear about this incredible world we are living in? The history before ‘you’ and the possibilities after ‘you’ that are ahead. I’m not trying to give you an existential crisis here, but at times I think my head might just explode at the sheer sensational wonder of it all! There is more to this world than you!
Welcome to the era of ‘False Celebrity’. Of course, this is nothing new, but in the grand scheme of things we are still in a very nascent period. We are still very childlike and regressing. And let’s face it, we have yet to realise just how incredibly insignificant we are. Don’t get me wrong I’m aware of how important we ‘think’ we are. In mid-2019 Google reported that its Android devices take 93 million selfies… wait for it… a day!
Since the advent of social media, it seems everybody thinks they have a story to tell or something to add to humanities output. They may very well, but let’s be honest 99% of these stories are pretty dull and their output pointless. They are uneventful. They are hardly the foundation of a celebrity. They are hardly worth celebrating. Not that life in itself shouldn’t be celebrated, of course it should, but there is a difference between a picture of your dinner and writing ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’.
Now when I think of a celebrity, I think of person who has a body of work. A body of work they put together through blood, sweat and tears. A body of work they put their lives on the line for. A body of work they had to do, because they simply felt compelled, because they had to do it at all costs, because it had to be done regardless of the consequences economically or at the risk of loss of popularity. A body of work that deals with universal truths and therefore touches many of us. You know, like Olly Murrs.
The point I’m making is, ‘celebrity’ was not the original goal. It wasn’t the reason for doing what they did, it was a concomitant.
Sure, most performers and artists want their work to be celebrated and them in turn for creating it, but the art came first. There’s the important part. There’s the point.
There is a very insightful quote from the Bhagavad Gita that deals with this subject perfectly:
“You have the right to work, but for the work’s sake only. You have no right to the fruits of work. Desire for the fruits of work must never be your motive in working. Never give way to laziness, either.
Perform every action with your heart fixed on the Supreme Lord. Renounce attachment to the fruits. Be even-tempered in success and failure: for it is this evenness of temper which is meant by yoga.
Work done with anxiety about results is far inferior to work done without such anxiety, in the calm of self-surrender. Seek refuge in the knowledge of Brahma. They who work selfishly for results are miserable.”
Think of all the people you know that want to be famous, for nothing more than being famous. Are they happy? Are they fulfilled? Are they simply hypnotized by reality TV and social media and their own egos?
The only real part of the art is in the act of creation. I would go so far as to say it is a sacred place. It’s when the artist disappears. They’re not happy. They’re not sad. They just ‘are’. They ‘be’. There is nothing to be gained. There is just the ‘act’.
Collectively we have become seduced by the ‘fruits’, apathetic and inattentive, posting selfies for likes in a fast-track-to-fame fashion making us miserable every time our posts aren’t seen, liked or shared enough. This is an indication of a depressed society. How can anyone be happy if they are constantly chasing fame for what they ‘look’ like, when they don’t even look like ‘themselves’ due to the filters they use when they’re chasing the fame? The irony here is hilarious and yet saddening. No wonder people feel so vulnerable, anxious and depressed. They have no foundation. They are in a state of ‘want’, of ‘need’, of constant ‘insecurity’.
There is so much more to this world than our solipsistic selves, the ‘I’, the ‘me’ and the quicker we realise this, the healthier, more grounded and happier we will be.
You know, like Gemma Collins.