Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Vague Post about the Vagaries of Success

Travel is often advocated as a way to 'broaden oneself' a hypothesis testing that is the premises of 'An Idiot Abroad'. I think travelling is to some extent, not the experience it was pre-internet. Specifically pre-"globalisation", that is if you have money, to stay in hotels and shit, cuisine aside (and decreasingly so) countries are remarkably similar - as a consumer experience.

It all depends how deep you can dig (into a given culture, rather than your pockets). But one thing I discovered from travelling is that you get in situations, where you only exist, because you have money. I fucked up transfers between bank accounts, or got burgled on occassion and thus discovered that whilst being broke in say - Melbourne, where I have this social network (not facebook, but actual people who know who I am and wouldn't think twice about feeding and clothing me and possibly offering me shelter) is very different from being broke in Dusseldorf, a city where I know nothing and nobody. When you have money you can participate at a level that is superficial, you can buy the local cuisine. You can get somebody to repair your bike, you can find a roof to shelter under.

This experience of existing or not existing on the cash in my wallet gave me an insight into whether success is 'having a lot of money' I think superficially it solves a lot of problems. Money can for example secure you (as much as anything can be secured) permanent accomodation arrangements, but as the Sarah Silverman Show proved to us all, we are just one set of lost keys away from being homeless.

I went to school and I got a great ENTER score, that was .5 away from getting me into a doouble degree at Melbourne University and my first preference for accomodation on a crescent based college that year (2002 I think). For the amount of emphasis placed on the importance of my education, the awards I recieved and the post secondary colours I recieved to adorn my pocket, my education whilst sometimes stimulating is almost wholly irrelavent and inconsequential to my life as a pursuit of happiness.

One of the earliest 'Chiustream' videocasts by Bobby Chiu, he spoke about his early days as an artist when you struggled to publish your own art books to take to conventions which you loaded up in boxes with your friend into your second hand station wagon and drove across country and how even then, in the tough/make no money phase of your artistic career, that he would look back on those days and recall them as 'the good times'. I find myself sentimentally agreeing with Bobby Chiu, even though I am similarly projecting forward what I will look back on.

I just feel that 'fame' is a hollow and intrusive state, you are able to utilise it to solve certain problems, but it is more so than being rich, riddled with downsides. Like you can't just have friends. I imagine it is like the assymetry of running into an old friend that reads my blog, and facebook posts and yet publishes nothing themselves about their lives. We know eachother, but they know how I've spent the last 4 years, I don't even know which country they live in.

I imagine being famous is that x 10. I like just performing and creating for my peers, and I have these friends in a band that now tours and regularly plays festivals and even their local shows they 'headline' on a list that runs till 2am. Which is past my bedtime. Do they think nostalgicly of the days when they played the Tote, and knew everybody in the audience some how. Now I am anonymous amongst a bunch of people that I don't identify with watching them play, and they seldom emerge from backstage before or after the show to just say high.

Selfishly I preferred it when they did residencys, not headlining. They make money which solves other problems, but do they enjoy the gigs as much?

I don't know, people who do know are unable to define what success is (here's a hint, Economists don't know).

I will consider myself successful if I feel my existence is validated by people I respect and care about, and if my interactions with them are rich enough for me to go to bed and wake up each morning on the whole feeling positive. How to achieve that is a recipe that can be improvised by each of us. I'm pretty sure it doesn't require social media though.

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