Saturday, May 2

trussed chickens

I got a new desk.

slotted in among old copies of unloved software at the bottom of the old desk's drawers, I found my old Straylight Run album. I have been looking for it for months. having read Neuromancer, I can now taste the warm caramel sauce of trivial satisfaction on top of Straylight's lovely music, because now I know exactly where they got their name.

back when I had a job, I quoted the lyrics of Dignity and Money and pondered the demands life is always making of us.

thinking about that job today, I recognize levels on which I could have been more invested, could have cared a bit more, could have adopted the same passion my employers had for their many enterprises. I never have been very good at caring about things.

one rather famous cartoonist/marketing blogger guy once said, 'the market for something to believe in is infinite.' that makes it sound like it should be so easy to sell belief--to dress it up all shiny and sleek and labeled, with convenient price tags and bar codes dangling fashionably from its neck.

but he didn't say something worth believing in. he just said something. and we do offer up our faith in all sorts of things. it's so easy to trust. almost magic, the way we walk every day over an invisible common ground of trust, without thinking much of it. and on top of it there are all the strings of hope we tie to this tool or that accessory, all the paper chains of wishful expectation about this event or that experience. we are all so full of desire.

so a company wants to sell something people can believe in. to do that they need some salesmen to believe in it too. failing that, they might settle for salesmen capable of convincing others to believe, without having to believe in it themselves. such cognitive dissonance comes just as easy as believing.

but we want to believe and we want people to believe in us. why doesn't it always happen like that? cue up that Straylight Run song again...

there is a price for all this faith. even if our hypothetical company is trying to sell something worth believing in, and even if it is run by honest and passionate people, what creeps in is the need for money. money to feed the family. money to pay the bills. money to hire employees. money for advertising. money climbs up to the top of the list.

wanting things cannot take the place of needing things. believing in things cannot take the place of needing things. so our ideas get strung up with price tags. our greatest ambitions are slaughtered by some very sharp and nonnegotiable demands. but it's okay. they grow back. really.

No comments: