Put the influencer to death (and bring back the hobbyist)

The birth of the “influencer” has led to death of hobbies. And that is excruciating. Now, everything is a side hustle. With the hidden narrative that what we spend time on must give us a pay check.

It’s a little known fact that the Industrial Revolution did not come from academia and science but from people without formal study. Vicars, insurance clerks, librarians – safe jobs that require little mental and emotional energy to complete. But we don’t learn that in school.

School taught us about Einstein’s theories. But not much about him. So we’re all led to believe he was a super successful scientist who spent all day, every day, concocting theoretical science. But he didn’t. He worked as a clerk at an insurance firm for much of his life, concocting experiments on evenings and weekends.

He did this so that his work wasn’t corrupted by academia or publishing papers for money – much like the broken academic system is today. This isn’t the romantic story of the man behind the theory of relativity, so we aren’t taught it in school.

It’s the same with art.

Today, thanks to idiotic life coaches spouting nonsense about “following your true passion” and “you can be anything you want to be”, we have a generation of people who believe they can turn their “art” into a career.

Most of this is bullshit.

When you need to pay for rent and food your art gets corrupted. The only way to create fantastic and timeless artwork is to do so without the need for it to provide for you. That’s why many revered artists came to fame after their death. Some were starving artists. Other, smarter ones, like Hemingway who wrote for the Kansas City Star, and paid their way through honest work before earning enough from art.

This all seems to have been forgotten. Or, I suspect, left out of the common narrative. We now have an entire industry around the idea that “you too can become me” – and that is fucking toxic.

So, let’s get back to the time of hobbies. Create without the need for it to be about anything more than a true expression of yourself.

Joseph Pack

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