Something is really bothering me this morning. It is something that bothers me frequently, to the point of being annoying. It doesn’t have to be my problem. I don’t know why I take such offense at it. I don’t know why it turns my stomach and ruins my mood. I would rather not let it. The thing is hard to describe (and non-specific, in case you were wondering). I’m hoping that if I attempt to describe it, it will help me get over it. The thing is something like this:
When the hype around something exceeds its result.
That, at least, is the quantitative end of the thing that bothers me. How it is even quantified is ambiguous, though. Money? (How much it costs per unit of benefit per person?) Attention? (Number of press articles per unit of benefit per person?) Effort? (Number of volunteer hours solicited per unit of benefit per person? This one is circular: the volunteering benefits the volunteer, but at some point that’s akin to saying slavery builds character.) There is some tipping point where it begins to offend my sensibilities.
Easier is the qualitative measure. I know it has to do with the motivations of those doing the thing. We all do things for ourselves first and others second. That cannot be avoided. (Art, by its very definition, is done for ourselves first, and if it benefits others then that is an added bonus. And perhaps what differentiates in some measure good art from bad is the extent that it does benefit others. I.e. connects with others. The same could be said for business.)
The qualitative measure of the thing is what motivations are communicated. The thing is for the “greater good.” It is “non-profit.” Not just those either, but how self-referential the thing is. You should support the thing because it is good. What is the good of the thing? The good of the thing is that it is good.
(I started a non-profit. What I am talking about is not specific to non- profits, again just in case you were wondering. I have soul searched on my motivations in that project and have determined we were not in the same category as what I’m trying to get my head around. But when something annoys one so much, one must consider the fact that it is because it is exposing ugly things in one’s own life, and so I must follow that piece of this thread.)
The qualitative measuring can be done semantically. I think it is something like the difference between, “I have these gifts and these passions, and am using them within the context of this good thing” and “I am doing this good thing so as to validate my gifts and passions.”
This loops back to Lacan and the narcissistic nature of love. It has to do with brand and communication in an era where we all brand-manage ourselves on a daily basis. In September I start a new job where I will be in charge of technology, but also a co-brand manager in some sense. There is a confluence of threads occurring at present that I hope will provide clarity and purpose in my own endeavors as well as a peace when I observe thinly veiled narcissism in others’.