Thoughts on Control

This has been a somewhat profound, if not informative week. Figured I’d talk out loud, sometimes that helps. Not all of these things are true, they’re just things I’ve been thinking about and trying to wrap my head around.

Any purposeful act is inherently selfish. Art is the most self centered of all endeavors. Every object we create is an representation of a perfect value we cannot personally achieve. This is true even in irony, for everything we attack holds its opposite up as an alternative. This does not mean we should not create, as its opposite, consumption, does not solve this moral dilemma. If creation is a selfish act, consumption serves only to satisfy someone’s else power trip.

Denial is the ultimate form of control. If all acts are selfish, denying someone the opportunity to act is the easiest way to establish authority. You can almost never make someone do what you want, but you can easily prevent them from doing what they want. Once authority is established, it is not readily challenged. Instead the denied will seek out another person to impose their authority over, passing the shame of their failure onto someone else, and establishing a hierarchy of control.

The obvious form of denial is prevention of an act. Another form is to deny consumption. Upon the creation of an act, the person will seek out others to consume whatever they have created. If you deny this consumption and refuse to acknowledge their act, you have hindered, if not defeated them. This is civil disobedience, but it can applied to broader situations than what we typically associate it with. Turning off your TV or ignoring a phone call is civil disobedience.

Repetition is the key to all success. In song, a chorus is more memorable than the verse, simply because you hear it three times instead of once. Any act, done once can be interpreted in a variety of ways by both the person acting and the person consuming. It can be misread, forgotten or ignored. But a pattern of similar acts establishes clear, defined meaning. A repeated act establishes more authority with each repetition, whether it deserves it or not. Persistence is more important than value.

Objects and acts do not have singular meanings. Meaning is created by the consumer, not the author. The author can guide the consumer, but ultimately has no control. The author must ask permission of the consumer to accept his act.

In this way the world is actually inverted, with the power vested solely in the hands of the large consuming population, who only grant permission to be controlled by means of acknowledgment and acceptance.


About Aaron Mitchell
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