Tuesday, October 19, 2010

out on the weekend

Well. It’s another train, heading south backwards. New laptop out, bike hung like fresh beef in the big new racks. And I’m travelling from a relatively new origin to a less common destination, shades of change. But not so huge, the basic narrative, the characters and dialogue, huge chunks of the scenery, indeed, whole scenes, could be cannibalised from earlier episodes. We hold change like we do risk - very poorly assessed. We latch onto minor detail without considering context or bigger picture. We confuse a bit of minor redecoration with real change, and we mistake risk for danger.

Much, I suspect, has to do with control, with power. We choose to believe that those things we have control over In some way, those areas of our lives in which we have agency, are the important ones, and overestimate the degree of change our actions therein actually represent. This is why we spend so much money on DIY. And hair care. Which is interesting, as it points to a consequence. Them as wants to sell you stuff know all this, so they actively spend a lot of time, energy and money telling you the vast array of their relatively inconsequential tat represents a powerful toolkit to deliver real, significant and lasting change in your life. Yes, your life - here and now. You, yes you, are just one small step, one little purchase away from new! A brand new life! A brand new world! A branded new you. With highlights and body. And new wallpaper.

Except your not of course. You are the same you, only a bit poorer and maybe a tad more neurotic or deluded. Shopping won’t change your history, or your DNA. Well, not yet anyway. But, it may change your future, then that’s also what they say about voting. Which is sold as the ultimate power choice. What’s more it’s free. Well, freeish. I mean, it’s not like voting affects our taxes. Or the result of an election could see us loose our jobs. Or end up with us in a war. Or anything.

Besides, I always thought branding was what happened to cows… and we all know what happens to them.

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