The whole world is out to get you. All the signs are there. You never get a lucky break. People always treat you like dirt. And the few people who are nice? They’re after something, obviously. Everyone else is on a life-long personal vendetta to make your existence slightly more unpleasant: the people at the bank, your boss, politicians, that team you support who always loses just to spite you, and random children & animals who insist on walking in front of you when you’re so busy mulling the sorry state of the world.
Go on, admit it. You’ve had all this go through your head at some point. But some of you have this going through your head all the time. There, you see, you were just thinking it right now. To you, ladies and gentlemen of the persecuted elite, I tip my hat in awe. I would like to come up to each one of you personally, and shake your hand. Because to truly believe and live with the faith that the entire human race and stray rocks are out to make your life miserable, requires a level of self-confidence and ego that is tremendous. With that level of confidence in yourself you must all be the most creative and productive people in the world!
Why the awkward silence? What is this you say? You’re neither creative nor productive? I think I can explain the problem. Like all good human stories it starts a long time ago, on a tree far far away. The early mammals were likely always running away from dinosaurs. Hey, I don’t care if it’s true, it just looks much cooler in my head this way. So anyway, since they had to always keep an eye out for the supporting cast of Jurassic Park around every tree bark, they developed a drug habit. Every time there was the possibility of danger, their brain sent out a signal which pumped their blood with a wonderful energy drink called adrenaline. Suddenly they were filled with the instinct and energy to fight or escape whatever threatened them (fight or flight).
This drug habit worked out well for them. It meant more of these little mammals survived and avoided becoming buffalo wings for some hungry dino. Of course, back then they weren’t called buffalo wings because buffalo hadn’t been invented yet, but I digress. Eventually the dinos died out for having played too dangerously on the cosmic stock market, and the little scurrying creatures survived due to their frugal lifestyle. But the drug habit continued, because there were always new things to be threatened by.
Over the aeons, those mammals evolved and moved into caves to get away from deadly predators, and then into buildings. But while the old predators had died out and been forced into the entertainment industry, our drug lust didn’t stop. It’s quite difficult to break a 100 million year old habit. It still has its uses, of course, when you’re trying to save yourself from a burning building, or you’re trying to throw yourself out of the way of a runaway bus, but how often do those things happen to you? Not regularly, I hope. The rest of the time, our adrenaline-junkie brains make up imaginary dinos for us to run from.
Back when we were still in the caves, one or two trouble makers found a solution. They were the first to say things like, “To hell with all that hunting, man!”, and, “I’m never going to work for THE (cave) MAN,” and, “Make finger paintings not dangerous bare-fisted battle with a woolly mammoth.” Those were the first human beings that realised there was a way without the drug they had been used to, and that there was a drug with a much bigger high: creativity. Not only did they realise that getting rid of the adrenaline gifted them with the spark of creativity, but also that the spark of creative thinking helped set them free from the flight and fright feeling. This is why they went on to invent spears, solid walls, fortresses, and eventually frozen chicken.
Obviously, the rest of the population of fine upstanding cave dwellers thought these proto-artists and proto-inventors were nuts. Sure they went on tours of the neighbouring painted cave on their holidays, and sure they started copying those strange spear things the weirdos had come up with because it made the hunt less tiresome, but they weren’t falling for any of this creativity rubbish. No, they were still old fashioned, traditional people, and they preferred their drugs in adrenaline shaped bottles, thank you very much! So while the art and invention was being developed in one corner they created something more sinister in the other: gossip, and the news. You see, now it didn’t matter if dinos were chasing you, you could just hear about how dinos allegedly chased someone else and the adrenaline would taste just as good, the stress would feel just as real, and you could constantly scurry around like it was the good old days on the trees.
It was inevitable, because giving in to baser instincts is easy. Creativity is also an instinct, but one that only flourishes when the parasitic influences of fear and aggression have been removed from the equation. The cave painters knew that. Giving in was easy for them too, but keeping their heads and being creative human beings in spite of all the chemicals rushing through their blood that told them otherwise, was hard. Like those early pioneers, even today some people choose this hard path, in whatever field of endeavour they might be, because painting is not the only creative act. They choose to ignore the most powerful antagonist, their own basic natures, to do more and be more. Who would you respect, someone who always takes the easy way through everything, never achieving their best, or someone who takes the hard route, ever striving towards their best? Are there any doubts as to why the whole world is not jumping with joy every time they see you?
So, embrace the fact that you are human and meant for more than scurrying around headless. First I suggest you go break your ridiculous addiction to the news and current events, and then come back and talk to me when you are sober. I promise, I will welcome you with a warm embrace, each and every one of you. We can sit together and laugh about the good old caveman days, when the whole world was out to get you.