Create, Don’t Consume
I came across a beautiful little piece of simple graffiti yesterday. It showed a kind of skeletal monkey figure, standing on a vortex, pointing to a message: “Create. Don’t Consume.”
What a beautiful, gracious, creative load of crap.
Let’s imagine a world in which people create, but don’t consume.
I picture a world full of people making things, which they put into big piles. No one ever sees these things, or uses them. The people simply keep creating more and more and more, with the piles growing higher and higher, everything that is created thrown away, wasted.
As the people create more and more, they starve. After all, they don’t consume anything. That means they don’t eat. But, before they starve to death, they die of dehydration.
So, we quickly end up with a world filled with garbage and human corpses. The person who created this bit of graffiti clearly doesn’t understand the most basic principles of ecology.
Besides that, our anonymous graffiti creator doesn’t follow her or his own advice. Yes, the graffiti was created, but in order for that to happen, paint was consumed. A patch of wall was consumed. By the look of the graffiti, a piece of cardboard for a stencil was consumed as well, and for that to take place, a sharp tool of some kind, such as a knife, razor, or pair of scissors, had to be consumed as well. These are not, except for the cardboard, renewable resources.
We need alternatives to the wasteful and abusive form of corporate economy that now dominates our world, under which people are treated as vapid consumers and commodities for labor rather than as full, complex, organic, intelligent and creative forms of life. In a healthy economy, we all have the opportunity to create and consume in meaningful ways. Creation and consumption can support each other, keeping the flow of energy and inspiration to the benefit of all. We need to think more deeply about the kinds of creation and consumption we engage in.
It won’t help anyone, however, if we merely switch on over to an alternative which values only one aspect of our humanity. Creation without consumption leads only to death.