Work by Maartje van Deursen
Are you a puppet?
Can you afford to just sit there and let other people predict or plan your next move? Let advertisers, who have studied and understood your mechanisms better than you do yourself, set triggers and traps? Should you just gaze ambivalently as others pull your strings? Have you allowed your free will to doze off ? Are you no more than a collection of survival mechanisms and habits? High time to wake up? Take life by the horns and make up your own mind?
The hunter gatherer in all of us is looking for easy prey, low fruits to pick. We are preprogramed to find the easiest way to do things with a minimum of effort and maximum efficiency. But discovering the easiest way is part of the journey, the struggle we cannot afford to miss. If you let someone else do the hard work for you, don’t you think that will come at a price? Oh yes, the price tag or special offer might appear low and irresistible. Is it really? Commerce has to make money to exist, fair enough, but how much is enough? Isn’t it an illusion to think that you are smarter than retailers?
The price we pay
So the true price we pay is that we get less than we could have had. Dr Retail promises that – if we’re good puppets – it’ll be better next time. Ultimately we are buying disappointment.
Seeking out something unique, discovering designer-makers, commissioning work; these are all activities that require commitment, confidence and nerve. But both the journey and the destination were more fulfilling because there was more than just the simple exchange of coin and object. You will have found life’s horns, which is not an easy thing to do, or more people would be doing it.