“Each and every one of us has been born into a given historical reality, ruled by particular norms and values, and managed by a unique economic and political system. We take this reality for granted, thinking it is natural, inevitable and immutable. We forget that our world was created by an accidental chain of events, and that history shaped not only our technology, politics and society, but also our thoughts, fears and dreams. The cold hand of the past emerges from the grave of our ancestors, grips us by the neck and directs our gaze towards a single future. We have felt that grip from the moment we were born, so we assume that it is a natural and inescapable part of who we are. Therefore we seldom try to shake ourselves free, and envision alternative futures.”
― Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
The wisdom contained in this passage alone encapsulates what “Model + Follow = Success” aims to relay. Cultural programming otherwise known as Mother Culture, gives rise to the many facets of what influences individual’s realities and perspectives. It not only is a predetermination to generations before now and those yet to come but serves as a societal mechanism, designed to churn out people who can easily find purpose within the confines of what another determines as natural and subsequently, the course of our lives. The question that I was asked when pursuing my Art degrees in college was, “Why are you here?”. This same question was asked not only to me but to everyone else in the classroom. The answers provided ranged from, “I want to make more money”, “I want to become x,y,z”, “I want to make a living”. The most impactful answer that most could not zero in on was “I am here so I can be successful”. Whether you believe it or not, higher education institutions are a business. Every business has a model in which it’s practices and services are carried out with the goal of profit in mind. Let’s put a pin in that for a moment. So, we have established to a certain degree, at least from my own scenario and perspective, that people often pursue this now traditional and expected act that symbolizes the sole effort of someone who wishes to be successful. This idea of success is one that is facilitated but also perpetuated by the institutions that lead many developing minds to become what they are and find their purpose in life. But, and this is a big but….this is simply a model for what culture has developed and impressed upon every one of us-if you want to be successful, go to school. If you want to be______ or do _____ then follow this model because it will make you successful. Granted, there is a myriad of grey areas and various arguments that can be made in opposition to what I say. However, without digressing further, let’s move forward with these ideas in mind. You. The individual that you are, came into this world with a preordained path that has been in the making since the agricultural revolution. Our destinies are not our own. Mother Culture presses it’s agenda onto us right from birth. We merely are assimilating to this idea of success. We inherently follow this model with the hope and belief that it will elevate our status in life or grant us the power to achieve our dreams. This in reality only further dilutes our willingness to think outside the bounds of this reality but rather attempt to creatively work within them. I am just as guilty as you for following such a model. Am I anymore successful than the individual who believes they have not acquiesced? No. We are no different. The measure of success alone is yet another model set in place. The idea my life or your life will be any more complete once we live in a house, drive a certain car, or even care responsibly for our children never guarantees anything and leaves the individual that much more delusional and dissatisfied. In short, I am no different than any other person and because of this I am now roughly $77,000 in debt from student loans. Do I harbor animosity towards this fact? No, not at all. But, like any artist in the attempt to be clever, I have incorporated into this visually simplistic piece aspects of this interesting microcosm some, if not all exist in. Each of us programmed to follow a model in pursuit of a greater existence in this form that we understand as success. For these reasons, this NFT will be listed at the sum total of my own student debt. A cheeky attempt to pay it off? Sure! But, this piece will forever represent my decision and in turn be a visual reminder of these ideas and models that we and myself included, subscribe to. Like a bottomless well, we throw the life blood of society in hopes we net a profitable return.
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