Productivity vs Product
Why keeping busy is the antithesis of creating value
Lately, I haven’t written much for my Substack. I’ve been busy and distracted in the real world, and Twitter has become boring. One question I’ve pondered lately is the tension between product and productivity. Until you force yourself to produce an original creation, you don’t understand the amount of extra thought it takes to create that original creation. Sparks of inspiration can lead to streaks of content, but in between, the problem of creation becomes laborious when topics are dreary, dull, or overdone by others.
I think this is a problem for anyone trying to create novel things. Most of society rewards productivity as an end as well as measuring production. Productivity for its own sake is lauded such that it’s a large part of the multibillion-dollar self-help industry. The “hustle,” the “grind,” and other colloquial, informal terms for productivity are necessary for social climbing. Hustling can undoubtedly turn your life into a very comfortable one if your niche keeps rewarding the climb.
“Just do it,” says Nike. Do what, though? The [thing], of course, like subscribing
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Keep climbing as long as you’re inoffensive to ordinary sensibilities. Without going on a Jordan Petersonian tangent, the post-truth postmodern world punishes nonconformity even if it’s a positive. Much of the complaints on social media are centered around entertainment media becoming aggressively political. I find that exhausting, both politicizing and complaining about entertainment media. So much entertainment is vapid, and the vogue is esoteric leftist causes, so for our sins, we have tedious leftist causes rammed down our throats in our periods of relaxation or sloth.
I think postmodernism gives too much credit to this world phenomena having a historical, philosophical, or material causation. Instead, this is the Peri-Boomer age. The mass of the Baby Boomer cultural movements and vices coexist with the world's traumatic shocks of the World Wars such that novelty in entertainment consists of remakes of old cultural products. This all-absorbing gravity well created by the Boomer mass materialism consumes the successive generations, where we’ve become militant narcissists. We’ve become intolerant of trial and error, risk, failure, and trying something new.
Failures are now recorded, measured, and mocked on social media. Vices are exploited for money, often by the afflicted. Instead, we drive our nation’s youths into jobs bereft of meaning and fault people for seeking alternative paths. Stay in your lane or be punished. Climb endlessly up the social ladder!
This rant is all to say that the culture of productivity is at odds with creating the product. Working 8+ hours daily, with commutes on either end prevents creativity. Often, making something of value requires someone to take steps back before steps forward. Here the social and economic pressures make it difficult for talented people without the means to build.
I think those who want mass social welfare or say that this is the place for the academy are both wrong. Many people overestimate their willingness to work for their ambitions or sacrifice. Both social welfare and academia encourage slothfulness of the people who keep the country moving along. For every person who used COVID to catapult themselves or dramatically change their lives (myself included), countless people did very little and went back to normal. There is nothing wrong with that; many people are motivated to have an everyday life.
Creating a product requires discipline and vision. While this is just a Substack I made for my entertainment, I hope to impart the occasional interesting observation from writing. Creating content, especially written pieces, YouTube content, podcasts, etc., require patronage and followership to make them worthwhile. No one expects everyone to give money; however, giving compliments and encouraging discussion is how you can foster an environment for creation and make the world a little brighter.