One, 12, or Millions?
Poppies n Cream by Dan Campbell
The fact that many a man who goes his own way ends in ruin means nothing to one who has a vocation. He must obey his own law. Anyone with a vocation hears the voice of the inner man. He is called.
Carl Gustaf Jung
One, 12, or Millions?
How many social media followers would you like to have? One, 12, or millions?
This is a question I asked my grandkids, and that I am now asking you.
Be careful how you answer, for I am setting a trap.
If you say, “millions,” as my grandkids did, well…that would make sense in an economy that measures success by likes and followers, as ours currently does. I call it the “follower economy.”
But then you will have chosen Hitler, who certainly had his millions of followers. You will have passed over Jesus (12) and Vincent Van Gogh (1).
I am especially intrigued by Van Gogh. His only follower was his devoted brother, and I understand that not a single one of Vincent’s paintings sold during his lifetime. Van Gogh was daring to paint in a style that was, in his time, out of vogue. He was a rebel, an outlier, a “think different” character. That’s why we love him now.
But imagine how it felt to be Vincent Van Gogh back then…taking risks with only his brother and a few other rogues to encourage him. Imagine putting your stuff out there, time and time again, with only one Facebook follower, and one like. Imagine his moments of despair and loneliness.
Recently a woman I was dating asked me, “What makes you think anyone wants to read what you write?” The question stung my ego. I was taken aback by her frankness, and it took me a few deep breaths to regain my center.
“I have no idea that anyone wants to read what I write, but that’s not why I write. I write because I must.”
I don’t think she understood. Perhaps she has yet to hear her own Muse, whose call must be answered if one is to ever have a healthy soul. For me, I imagine creating content like having a baby. When the time comes to give birth, there is no stopping it. The child must be born. I write because I must.
I don’t know if I could ever create something that would garner millions of likes. Probably not. But then, with my low “clout” numbers, I am a pauper in the follower economy. Perhaps you, dear reader, are my one and only. Maybe you are the only one I was meant to touch with my words. For you then, I am grateful. Namaste.
As for the millions, I am steadily rewiring my ego, one delicate wire at a time, so that I might one day fully accept an answer to a prayer offered by author Byron Katie, who said:
“If I had a prayer, it would be this: God, spare me from the desire for love, approval, or appreciation.”
Books by Brant
For Christmas 2018, my brother, a pilot with American Airlines, gave me a gift that became the experience of a lifetime: 12 months of free travel anywhere American Airlines flies.
Thus began a year long journey that took me from the rocky coasts of Portugal, to the hot sands of Morocco, to the mangrove swamps of Panama, with many places beyond and between. In cheap hostels and the backwaters of the nomadic milieu, I discovered a treasure chest of colorful and fascinating people. I tell their stories and a bit of my own.
The trip became as much a spiritual and emotional journey inward as it was a literal outward one, and found me in a place those of you who are in the second half of life are likely to recognize.
With references to the philosophies of Carl Gustav Jung, Jesus, Bob Dylan, and the Buddha, Blue Skyways is an international romp by a man in his 60’s with not much more than a pack on his back, and still much to learn.
A suspense/thriller novel!
When a university student uses advanced software to analyze dreams from around the world, he discovers odd, unexplainable patterns in the data. Where one dream ends, another begins…even though the dreamers are strangers. Unique objects appear in one person’s dream and reappear in another's.
The patterns form a map pointing to an ancient, lost object, but when the student is mysteriously murdered, his deadbeat brother and estranged wife embark on an international race to recover the map's buried treasure. Along the way, the troubled couple are opposed by dark forces of the religious underworld, who launch a global pandemic to ensure the map's secret remains lost forever.