The main goal of the individual in human society is determining how one fits into the grand scheme of it all. What role does one play in the groups that we find ourselves a part of? We all contribute something to the world- but how does one determine one’s worth?
At some point in the early to mid-nineties there was a surge of belief in which all kids were taught that they had a form on inherit worth. I don’t think that anyone would find this to be concerning in the least- all human life, regardless of origin, is valuable. But it permeated into their minds that this meant that they could do no wrong as they were unconditionally valuable. This is fine for a kid to believe as it is part of the growing process to find out and understand one’s place in the world. Something happened though, something that nobody had apparently thought possible- these kids didn’t quite grow up all the way.
The toxic mindset that was injected into their unsuspecting lobes have created something awful. A beast without a master. Wild and dangerous- the belief that their “words” have higher value than their “works”. Let me explain exactly what I’m referring to. When I use the phrase “words” I’m speaking of one’s character and thoughts. When I use the phrase “works” I’m speaking of the actions that one takes and the accomplishments one achieves.
I hear it now- “What is so bad about people valuing ‘words’? Is that not important- who we are as people?”. Of course who someone is holds importance. We are all exactly who we are, nothing more nothing less. But “works”, what you do, truly define your life. There has been a misplacement of importance on the self and not on one’s actions. We’ve become a society owned by meaningless “words”.
Let me give you this example- Hillary Clinton. Off the bat here be aware that I do not care what your political leanings are and, frankly, you don’t care about mine. I’m sure that Trump has done less-than-fantastic things to and for the American people but Hillary is a prime candidate to show exactly what I’m referring to. Her (and all other) political campaigns are all based on “words”. The actions (“works”) taken by the candidates are often pushed to the side in favor of gas-bag promises and meaningless debates in which everyone is simultaneously talking about everything and saying nothing at all. Hillary, however, has a pretty mean track-record in terms of “works”. In her young political career she was allegedly involved in parts of Nixon’s “Watergate” scandal, then her actions resulted in the deaths of a handful of Americans in what is referred to the “2012 Benghazi Attack”, and moreover she abused her power and used a private e-mail server in which over thirty-thousand confidential U.S. Documents were released for everyone on the planet to see. Hillary’s “works” would label her in any other context as a traitor and absolutely a terrible choice for the leader of the free world. But the “words”- being a “politician”, “democrat”, “woman”, “white” are all things that are not “works” and shows that she is measured by “words”.
If that is too political let me bring it to the personal world. We’ve all been in relationships in which our significant other (or we ourselves) had said “I may not act like it but I love you/respect you/trust you/etc.”. Have you ever considered how self-serving and meaningless a statement like that is? If you buy a screwdriver and never use it is it useful? If you cook food and throw it in the garbage without eating it are you full? Feelings are important, of course, but if you don’t bring them into the real, physical world then they are just floating in the aether of your mind- locked behind a vessel unfit to carry them. I once read in a book (the name is escaping me at the moment) that you should never trust a knight whose armor shines like a mirror. You want to find the knight who is worn, tested, with notches in his sword and scars on his face. There is nothing less reliable than someone who is untested in the face of conflict. Ergo why it is so meaningless when you “don’t act like” something but “feel it”.
This whole idea really should scare the hell out of everyone. We used to be a world that cared about what you contributed to society or to your own circles. Now we have many, many people who lack any form of contribution ability or skill and they are attempting to trick everyone into believing that it’s okay.
Here’s a little anecdote from when I was a kid. I’ve played baseball for most of my natural life thus far and it all began with tee-ball. After tee-ball you moved up to coach-pitch (or slow pitch). After that you were finally on your own in-so-far-as who is on the field. This is when kids finally get the true taste of what it’s like to be a team as you are suddenly relying on the players on your left and right to do what you’ve practiced a million times. We had a relatively large team since the area I grew up in was pretty densely populated with young families. We had a rule where everyone got to play every single game, which was awesome. Everyone was given a fair chance to play and show their skills. The problem came in at the end of the year when we all got the same sized trophy. Me and the other good players looked at the booger-eating, grass-picking, hands-behind-the-back-eating-sunflowers-at-third-base kids who did not put in the same work get rewarded the same as us. We were the kids who always showed up early, left late, got together on the weekends between games, etc, and goddamn Glue-eating George was treated as if he worked as hard as we did.
Imagine working at a job for ten years. Ten years of hard work, dedication, and real nose-to-the-grindstone type work ethic. You’ve earned every single ounce of pay that you have and you feel fulfilled in your work. Then some new guy comes in and suddenly he’s making the same pay that you, a veteran. You find out that he has the same credentials that you had coming in ten years ago. There is no justifiable reason as to why this new person should be getting the same pay as you.
It is an amazing concept that we’re moving towards a world where everyone is started at the same baseline (in respect to social class standing). I want to stand beside my Asian brothers, Black sisters, Hispanic friends, Mormon, christian, etc and all begin the race together. But if I’m being beaten, or getting beaten, by someone I do not want us all to get the same reward; I want whoever worked the hardest to get the most. None of us inherently deserved more or less than the other at the beginning and where we start should not be where we all end.
To bring it all back; the generation that I’m a part of has a horrid problem in that nobody seems to want to contribute with “works”. Many of us define ourselves by our “words” but ultimately make zero mark on the world. I can say up and down all day that I’m a great writer (“words”) but that is meaningless if I cannot point to a real-world example of this. Heck Media is one of my “works”, what are yours?
-Brendan C. Bush, contributor and Co-Creator of Heck Media