Consumer or Creator?

You probably heard about the fact that media companies and social media networks fight over the amount of people using their services. Be it movie or video distribution companies, blogging platforms or social media in general, they fight for your attention, and you often hear or read the idea that, although most of them are free or really cheap, the actual currency they trade is your attention and the product they sell is… yourself. And so, you lose tremendous amounts of time online, while scrolling for new stuff on your mobile phone or computer. Every bit of information is efficiently promoted so as to be easily consumed (or swallowed); texts are scarce and images are easy to understand, colors are skillfully crafted and the message goes straight into your subconscious mind. In other words, an entire industry has been developed to focus your attention to it and make you stay connected for as much time as possible.

The problem with being trained (or tamed) to be a consumer is that, after a while, you get bored. And so, you either land in a state of mind of complete meaninglessness, or you initiate an addictive behavior of seeking more and more entertainment, something that will surely fail to satisfy your dependence but increase it even more. Consequently, a lot of people are arguing about the solution to this boredom mixed with compulsive behavior. And the simple and straightforward solution is an increase in one’s creativity and giving priority and time to creative activities. This will likely make the switch from a consumer state of mind (which is passive) to a creator state of mind (which is active), because you’ll be using different parts of your brain.

I want to ask you if you’re aware of this phenomenon. Did you hear or read about it? If yes, what are you doing to increase your creativity? Is there any creative activity you’re currently pursuing? What is that activity or what are those activities? Do you feel different when you’re in the position of creating something new compared to being in the position of consuming stuff made by somebody else (or even made by robots, by artificial intelligence)? Do you feel a sense of reward when creating original content?


Read also Boredom & Inner Orientation.

4 thoughts on “Consumer or Creator?

  1. Wave

    I am not a creator and that’s fine, it is not a priority for me at this point. I tried to develop some hobbies awhile back, nothing stuck so that’s not going to work for me either. For myself, the one way in which I can stop wasting time is by remembering to do more things that are really meaningful for me (a walk at the beach, listening to music that I like). But I didn’t quite grasp this fully, I was wondering if you have some guidance or what is your perspective in this direction.

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    1. I didn’t really understand what you’re talking about: grasping what? Doing more meaningful stuff or developing new hobbies?
      If you’re talking about new hobbies, the only thing to do is try new stuff and see what suits you. You don’t have to enjoy everything but you can do an activity at least once, because what we imagine about something might be different from what we feel when we’re actually doing it.
      If you’re talking about meaningful stuff, it depends on what level of understanding or experience you are. Some things remain meaningful along the entire life, others are for only a short period of time, being relevant for a particular life lesson.
      As a general remark, being creative is not something for everyone, it’s not a purpose for everyone. However, everybody can be and is creative; for instance, so as to write your comment here… you had to be creative. 🙂

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      1. Wave

        Thank you for your answer, and I have another question if you don’t mind. Do you have any advice on building confidence (and self-esteem), some practical steps that one could take or maybe a good (practical not phylosophical :)) book that you could recommend. I have worked recently on a simple exercise, to try and see positive things in myself, and I have noticed that I am feeling better around people, even people reacting to me differently. I wish I had done this years ago. I am wondering what I could do next to keep the momentum and turn it into a more permanent change. Thank you for the great work you are doing on this website.

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      2. Confidence or self-esteem are general things and one can’t work directly with them. The question is, what do you do, or feel, or think, that makes you believe you lack confidence or self-esteem? What exactly makes you say you lack confidence/esteem? By analyzing those situations or circumstances when you feel this way, you might understand what is going on and what you need to learn or develop in you. Books on esteem or confidence remain only general books, talking about general things and trying to cover all possible aspects that might lead to lack of confidence/esteem, but you need to be more specific so as to work more focused. Seeing the positive is a helpful exercise for those who tend to see the negative stuff more easier, and it helps re-balancing one’s life, but one step forward might be becoming aware that life is not about good or bad things or situations, but about things with several characteristics and neutral events, and it is us who give the qualities of being good or bad to the things surrounding us or to the events we experience. It is hard for me to recommend one book or another; there are professional books on irrational beliefs like those of Jeffrey Young (advanced CBT) but there are also more spiritual works, like those of Alan Watts. I have a reading list on this blog (see the right side if on computer, to the bottom if you’re on mobile) and there you could find some of the books I read myself. Those marked in red were particularly helpful for me.

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