The other day someone asked me why I don’t like Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and while I can’t in good conscience enjoy a show that negatively impacts humanity more than it positively impacts us, I realised that saying this just makes me sound like an elitist dickhead – especially to people that love the show and would take it as a direct affront to themselves. So I thought about it further, and decided to write out a logic-based reason why I don’t like this show – one which people cannot logically derive offense from.
The Kardashians may be totally decent and lovely people, and that’s awesome. It’s also redundant, because we will never know the real them due to the fact that they are all carefully constructed personalities in one big old brand. My issue with the show is not a beef with any particular person. What I see is the sum of its parts – including the consequences of its existence in a world already oversaturated with materialism, judgmental attitudes, capitalism, greed, jealousy and low self-esteem.
If there was a show about Elon Musk swanning around the house with his family and talking all sorts of shit about dick, I would definitely watch it – because that’s a person I respect the shit out of. But that would also be a paradox because Elon Musk devotes all of his available resources – time, money and mentality – to continually trying to make the world a better place with concrete plans and products, and his involvement in a TV show about himself doing mundane things would be so far beneath his character that if it did happen, he would probably no longer be someone I respect. He is so engrossed in the work that he is trying to achieve, that he was pretty unenthusiastic that a recent biography was being written about him – he’s simply more concerned with getting people to understand what his companies really do and why it is important for mankind. He could not give a fuck about social things like branding and self-image (he hates the idea of advertising and abhors sales tactics so much that he refuses to sell Tesla cars in dealerships).
Getting back to the Kardashians ….
Priorities: everyone’s are different and that is totally okay. Maybe you don’t give a shit about anything beyond what you do in your immediate day, and the highlight of that day might be watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians. I get it; life totally sucks for a lot of people a lot of the time and we all need to do whatever we can to hang in there, so I’m not going to lambaste anybody for deriving pleasure from this show. The thing is, nothing about watching these Kardashians designing waist trainers and taking selfies aligns with any of my desires and priorities, which means that if I have a choice to watch it or not, why would I choose to do something that not only doesn’t serve my desires and priorities, but actively takes time away from the things that do? That’s it – that’s my reason. Nothing against the show, and nothing against those who watch it. I wish that more people could be cool with everyone having different priorities and stop trying to casually, jokingly, (but also why do you fucking persist with this) pressure people into sinking bulk time into a TV show. If I sat down and watched every TV show that someone raved at me about how amazing and special and different it is, I would be finished school before I was done with watching TV. Guess what; it’s 2016. Almost all TV shows are really good. Here’s one way you can be a better person; stop trying to force other people to watch your special show.
The fascinating thing about priorities though, is that they are like opinions – vastly different depending upon who you are speaking to. I’m not a vegan – I buy and consume animal products. That makes me a questionable person in the eyes of the more militant animal rights activists, but then on the flipside, they maybe don’t donate regularly to cancer research, or to Astronomers Without Borders, or any of the stuff that I’m passionate about. I do white collar volunteer work cataloging Maori artefacts in a museum, for fuck’s sake. That’s not helping anybody get a hot meal, or lowering global pollution levels, or saving any species. But Maori cultural preservation is a thing that is important to me (because historically speaking, most of the world fails in the treatment of, and importance placed upon, indigenous cultures), therefore that is where I prefer to direct my time.
And all of this is a good thing. Because if we all had the same priorities, then only some of the stuff in this world would be taken care of. Wouldn’t that be a fucked up situation? Cancer cured, but runaway climate change scheduled to kill us all within a few hundred years. Veganism adopted across the board, but all women’s shelters closed globally due to lack of funding and volunteers.
The key thing is that as long as everyone cares about something enough to make a decent effort to help that one cause, and can do their best to make smaller changes to other areas that might be on their radar (like buying one of those $5 KeepCups for your coffee), then on the whole, we are tackling most things across the board. That’s the whole thing. So, nobody’s priorities are more important than anyone else’s, what matters is how much conviction you have for your personal desires and concerns, and whether that conviction is enough for you to live a life that aligns with the core of who you are, and what you want. Pretty much like the Elon Musks of this world.
Priorities can, however, lead us into all sorts of places that we may never have intended on being. Following your priorities can be a slippery slope, so it’s really important to have a really good understanding of the things you want and the things you do. I feel like there is a high possibility that if humans colonise other planets in the future, the consensus might (should) be that religion is an Earthly construct for people who are unable to adapt to a more scientific way of thinking and is better left here, much like walking out of a playground to catch the bus, letting the infants squabble in their sandbox. Who wants to reach an age of science where we colonise a planet only to be followed to it by stubborn people who insist that their fictional religion should dictate the new way of life and its new laws? That’s archaic as fuck and it needs to stop. Faith is a lovely personal choice and can help some people immensely; organised religion is just destructive, limiting, and foolish. So if your top priority is religion, you need to have such conviction in that religion that you will happily stay on Earth with yo brethren in order to keep it, while the rest of humanity ventures forth into a new age of enlightenment, free from bullshit religious-driven politics and pettiness. By the way, I’m not foolish enough to state that there is no possibility of a higher force acting upon us, it’s just that you have to be missing a lot of critical thinking skills to believe blindly in a current man-made religion.
Welp, that was a hell of a tangent.
Anyway, back to priorities. Priorities lead us to places. My priorities are scientific, therefore someday I may end up helping to terraform Mars. Your priorities may be more Kardashian-esque, so you may end up with incredible hair and makeup skills and a sex tape. Your priorities are no more or less important than mine are, as long as it’s not something either of us wind up regretting on our deathbeds. The closer you align your priorities with who you are at your core and what you truly desire, the more you are going to love your life. Here are some combinations of priority and desire, and how they can fuck with us.
Priorities + Your innermost desires = A life of general contentedness and purpose.
This is the deal with people that seem to always be in the right place at the right time, people that are generally fulfilled, happy, stress-free and not obsessed with what others think of them. This is where I’m striving to be, which is a pretty stupid thing to say because this state is something that will only happen as a byproduct of acting in accordance with your true desires. You can’t strive to “be” here anymore than you can strive to be smart by reading one book. On a side note, one could argue that this is how psychopaths can remain so full of happiness and purpose while executing the stuff that most people consider dastardly and inhumane – because they actually are working from a place where they prioritise their innermost desires. That oughta give a few people nightmares tonight.
Priorities + No innermost desires = A “busy” life that leaves you feeling unfulfilled.
This is probably best shown by the “workaholic” stereotype, someone who would just work and work and work, miss out on their kids growing up, and all for what? A few extra thousand in the bank that you can never spend because you’re constantly working? On that note, this state can lead to many forms of “excessive” behaviour, ie. substance abuse, overexercising, overworking, fastidious cleaning, etc. Because when you are just “doing stuff” when your heart’s not in it, there’s never much satisfaction.
No priorities + Your innermost desires = A hedonistic life of wistful dreaming, followed by regrets.
This is a worrisome combination because the act of simply dreaming about stuff we want is usually enough to give us the instant dopamine/gratification we are after – and so it can go unchecked for a very long time. I know this, because this is how I spent literally all of my twenties, making bulk plans that I never followed through on, dreaming about all the cool shit I wanted out of life but never actually getting anything done. It definitely sucks to lose so much time to being “that guy”.
No priorities + No innermost desires = A life of empty hedonism, possibly with a good side of substance addiction
This is worrying, but at least you maybe blissfully unaware of this while it’s all happening, and you may even die in a happy stupor, knowing that you enjoyed your life. I feel like it would be an almost ecstatic experience to pinpoint your true desires and priorities after being in this state. It’s also probably the state where people are most vulnerable to religion and cults.
Basically, my recommendation is to pinpoint your innermost desire(s) and make your priorities feed into that. The pinpointing of desires is the hardest part (and not everybody even gets there), because we live in a very loud world where you can’t always be sure whether your desires are the things you truly want, or whether they are false desires that lead to social approval. Self-awareness is the hardest part, and maybe this is why people go off into the wilderness to “find themselves”, to quiet the obnoxious voices and opinions of the wider community. But what would I know? I’m just a regular jackoff that will probably never figure it out either!
Oh no … I have crazy-ranted my way through a blog that could easily be summed up in one motivational poster with the catchphrase “Happiness is knowing you you are”. That’s pretty embarrassing, but I’m still publishing this anyway because I can’t in good conscience throw away a 2000 word post, especially when that time should have been used to complete an assignment.
If you’re confused, that’s ok – this wasn’t a very well-written post and you’re probably quite disappointed that you didn’t get the vitriolic Kardashian rant you were so eagerly coveting. I’m terribly sorry my friend.
Love, Chelle xoxooxoxoxoxooxxo