Ways of the West
I was reading about the critical reception of a new tv show, Westworld after binge watching the first season so far, and I read a line that was oddly resonant with the message of the show. The line, which I found on wikipedia under the section detailing the Audience Viewership, simply said:
“The U.S. series premiere attracted 1.96 million viewers, with 0.8 million in the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic.“
What caught my eye was the fact that the 18 to 49 year old demographic was “coveted” by advertisers. But it makes sense. That’s the age group that matters most to advertisers, the age group where people begin buying the most things. The age group of disposable incomes, of needs, and desires. They are the consumers. In a sense, they are the newcomers, the ones who ravage this wasteland with their uncontrollable desires. The ones for whom the unknown gods shape the land, and cater to their savage whims.
But in another sense, for these people in the 18 to 49 demographic, how much of their reality is governed by these unknown gods of advertising? All for the sake of a purchase. How much of our social interactions are crafted by another ad man who has to make a sale so that he can pay next month’s mortgage? And how much of our life is a spectacle, a performance? To feed the narratives.
Just a thought. Maybe we are all both god and man, and ours is a world where we selfishly create the godliness and manhood in each other over and over. Maybe the gods in our world know not that they are gods over others, and reign selfishly, like a man, and for this, other men suffer, and in their suffering become gods. Maybe in our search for authenticity and meaning, we usurp the role of god over the lives of others.
Creation shapes the creator, just as much as the creator shapes his creation.