source: artland magazine. edits.

Never Abandon Your Flow.

Not the answer you want.

The annoying fact that achieving economic wellbeing in a capitalist society is by no means commensurate to happiness, and that it may in fact kill our little souls is a subject that has been studied since the very time that capitalism began transforming our world.

Durkheim, the author of Le Suicide, lived through the period of the most acute industrialization, seeing poor rural life transformed into a grey world of steel, mass-production and immense efficiency, a capitalism in its purest form, which by the end of the 19th century began rapidly lifting people out of poverty and creating a middle-class city life of relative social security that we know today.

Yet, strangely, the new economic system, working as well as it did, was driving people to suicide at an ever increasing rate. You could say that capitalism has this bad habit of withdrawing from us activities that complete us. Even at peak efficiency, capitalism creates pockets of air that have to be filled with senseless task robots to keep the economic machine growing

Millions of second-hand jobs performing artificial duties keep the capitalist society intact. These may or may not make sense in the bigger picture: Some of these synthetic occupations are necessary to keep a larger capitalist organ alive. Other times they are woefully redundant, required only to sustain some dead end junction that the capitalist machine erred to take, perhaps to gratify the few on top because, after all, it is a system driven by greed not worth-seeking.

One way or the other, they have a great tendency to make a misery out of our lives. This is an old topic, but it gets continually reinvented because we are still hurting from the same sense of emptiness.

A thing that is, of course, very important to my generation of the post-2000 internet offspring is self-improvement. We especially like to reduce complex issues into life hack youtube videos.

The overwhelming doctrine of this life hacking is that everything can be mastered, that we can make our existence infinitely better after watching a 3 minute redux of a life work of one philosopher or the other.

One popular theme is wrapping the question of life purpose in, like, a thousand year old asian philosophical idea, explaining in a maddeningly plain tone that to find purpose, one has to do what one likes, is good at, but also something that the world needs and pays for.

This is incredibly gratifying and mostly agreeable. It can also work! But, you know, it mostly doesn’t because “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working*. — Picasso

A short-form life hack is a great inspiration, one that gives you a feeling of infinite possibilities, but that reduces the extent of real world implications.

Few vocations meet all 4 practical conditions to survive the real world. In fact, in the creative space of things (you know, art), flexing what you do to the 4 said requirements can make you begin hating what you do altogether and abandon it.

And that’s bad, for finding the activity that consumes you, that you can get lost in the flow of, is happiness. In this ocean of life hacking videos, productivity guides and good energy vibes, maybe a credo of defiance has some merit. F* the world and don’t wait for the audience, it may never come. The work is the prize.

Anyway that’s what I am doing. Just please, if you once find your flow, never abandon it.

Not for sale.

It is terrifying that most of us choose to forget that we’ve found our flow. Because, yes, we’ve all been there, lost in the fever of making, time traveling hours and hours of work without effort, without must. Only then in those hours, were we free, forgetting the triviality of our petty selves.

The flow comes and goes, but mostly goes. A rare drug that cannot be bought. No amount of begging, screaming, kicking can get it. No, its price is the highest there is; not everyone knows.

What, you ask? Doing a thing that completes you: authoring a dense midnight text, painting an unhappy face, opening a tacky flower shop, designing a house, creating just about anything that has B after A.

But let’s be clear about this — whatever it is — it cannot be bastardized by money, submit to the common tastes or serve a transactional purpose. Not for sale.

There will be no stucco & angels, no fake baroque in that house of yours, nor glass walls and concrete floors — counterfeit leftovers of Mies. No, nothing that compliments the passé tastes of fellow men.

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George Salapa

George Salapa

Founder finstora. Thoughts on money & culture. Some poetry. Mostly recycled literature. Wrote for Forbes and Venturebeat before.