(Cover Image & Source: 250 Best Movies Of All Time @ Philadelphia Magazine)
…In the age of the modern capitalism and consumerism, at the dawn of the new century, we experience one of the biggest cancers of our society, progressive ignorance (which I mentioned in few of my previous posts, and especially in the post What is Libertas Nova?), a disease that was created when our society transfered from the Age of Scarcity when the majority of the world´s population had to fight for the food and other basic resources in the predominated agricultural society, to the Age of Abundance directed by the third industrial, so called digital revolution, where the majority of the world´s population has just too much of everything, in a world where the biggest problem is the overload of food and other physical goods, and above all the information that we “digest” every day through tons of diferent media sources, from old-type newspapers and radio programs to TV stations and the Mother of All Modern Media, the almighty Internet.
So, how come that in all of this abundance, with all of this information´s overload, we have a symptom called progressive ignorance, something that could bring our civilization to its bitter end?
The main problem is not that we don´t have enough of information, but in that most of it is pure junk that has no value whatsoever. Nevertheless, the majority of modern people, especially the youth, are digesting it (and brainwashing themselves at the same time) almost every minute they spend on their precious digital devices, through the so called social network platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
So, what can we, as a modern and technologically advanced society, do to prevent or even stop this ridiculous and malevolent behaviour?
We can do only one thing, that can be described with only one, but very important word:
A word that came to my mind just recently, when I discovered a very interesting book among the shelves of the Stockholm´s Central City Library.
The name of the book is quite short and simple, “Curation (The Power of Selection In A World Of Excess)” by the author Michael Bhaskar, which I would recommend for all of you to read it.
In this book, the author, praised by the literature and business community inasmuch, for all of his books and works in this area, explains what curation really is, how it has become one of the most important tools in fighting against the overload of physical goods and information that we curently suffering from, and most importantly, how we can use these tools efficiently to eradicate useless and insignificant information, and thus give more space to the data and goods that have more value and significance to our modern society, in short terms, to create the works of the greatest importance and quality.
“…Curation answers the question of how we live in a world where problems are often about having too much. Acts of selecting, refining and arranging to add value…help us overcome overload…” (quote from the book)
“We no longer go hungry, but we face an obesity pandemic. We generate more data but also more noise. We´re constantly entertained, but ever more distracted. We are richer, but more indebted, and we are working longer hours. Excess choice is a daily feature of our lives.” (quote from the book)
The world of the future should be in creating quality, not quantity.
Few years ago, when I was still back in my homeland Croatia, and its capital Zagreb, at the beginning of creating this blog, I made one special small, but significant online project called “Čitam, gledam, slušam…” (en. “I read, I watch, I listen…”), with its main purpose to educate and entertain blog visitors, and inspire them to read more quality books, watch more quality movies and TV series and listen more quality music albums. After every chapter of these creative online classrooms, as I called them, which included reading one book, watching one movie/TV series episode/s and listening one music album, I tried to start a discussion with the intention to make some sort of quality critical reviews regarding the topics that I had previously mentioned.
All of that time, I was one of those, naturally, that had also read books of different genres (mostly classics, science fiction and popular science), watch movies and TV series (classics, science fiction, comedies, action, thriller, drama, historical, etc.) and listen various music albums (classics, hard rock & heavy metal, psychodelic, blues and jazz, disco, electronic, instrumental, spiritual, etc.).
In doing so, I have not only learned about different (sub)genres, but also of different qualities of the mentioned popular and underground art areas. I could compare and understand what make some song, movie or book so much better and interesting than the others, no matter how much good or bad critics that work has got since the day it was published. More the less, all of those masterpieces, if I can call them that, have many common guidelines, like e.g. they carry strong messages about the subjects that they are talking about, powerfull dialogues and screenplays, colorful descriptions of places and it´s characters, complex melodies etc.
Like e.g., I could mention the famous opening line of the “Anna Karenina”, masterpiece of literature work by Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoj:
“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Or “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville:
“Call me Ishmael.”
The same could be said for:
“The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” by Douglas Adams (one of my favourite parody sci-fi book):
“Far Out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.”
“1984.” By George Orwell (the Big Brother book):
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
The list could go on, and similar could be said for many fantastic music albums/songs and their smashing instrumental riffs and powerfull lyrics like “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” by Pink Floyd; “One” by Metallica, “Symphony Nr. 9” by Ludwig van Beethoven, “The Barber of Seville” by Gioacchino Rossini (the most famous opera in the world), “The Sound of Silence” and “El Condor Pasa” by Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel (the later being the cover of the old Peruvian traditional song), “Rockit” by Herbie Hancock, “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers (also the name of the famous western TV series with K. Rogers in the main acting role), “Gangsta´s Paradise” by Coolio etc.
For every different genre and subgenre of the popular, classic and/or traditional music you could find some masterpiece, that just has that something special that makes it so unique and wonderfull to listen.
Also, movies like “The Grapes of Wrath” with Henry Fonda, “The Wizard of Oz” with Judy Garland, “The Godfather” with Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, “Gone With the Wind” with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, “Casablanca” with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, “The Breakfast at Tiffany´s” with Audrey Hepburn, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” with Clint Eastwood, “Lawrence of Arabia” with Peter S. O´Toole and Anthony Quinn, “Modern Times” with Charles Chaplin, “West Side Story” (a famous American musical), “Citizen Kane” with Orson Welles, “Vertigo” with James Stewart, “A Trip to the Moon” by Georges Méliès (I wrote about him in the post Georges Méliès u svijetu fantazije i opticke iluzije…), “The General” by Buster Keaton, etc., are of those in a tens of thousands that you can call real masterpieces of “moving pictures”.
As I said before, in the last couple of years, and especially when I came to Munich, Germany at the end of the summer 2017., I started to absorb many of those great movies, music albums (that I watched and listened mostly through the allmighty YouTube video channels), and latelly, a lot of different books, mostly of the popular genres.
So, in the last few weeks I have read books about Nobel Prizes, Vatican City, Life of William Shakespeare, Curation methods (as I mentioned before in this post), James Joyce etc., watched a lot of old classic movies (from the first short videos of Brothers Lumiere and T. A. Edison in 1880s to the masterpieces of the 1950s/1960s Golden Age, as well as many sci-fi and horror movies (movie genres that I still like the most)).
I had also wrote something about the early silent movie masterpieces in the blog post about Buster Keaton (which is along with Charles Chaplin, Stanley Laurel, Oliver Hardy and Brothers Marx, one of the best comedians of the early cinema movies).
The last that I started to explore are some, for me new genres and subgenres of popular music, like Hip Hop, Indie Folk, Caribbean Zouk (a succesor of very famous Lambada), Broken Beat and Lo Fi.
So, at the very end, all that I wanted to say in this long post that even do we have so much things today, especially if we are talking about the world of art, we have to find the best ways to filter the real masterpieces from the junk that we can see, listen or read on the daily basis.
We have to find the way how to create the best of the best, and to maintain that quality level of creativity, which we managed to do quite nicely in the last 10 000 years, but somehow lost it today, in this world of overloaded mess.