The Business of Talk, musings on Emotional Capitalism.
My husband and I have distinctly different personalities. Anyone that knows us even briefly, might say that we could even be polar opposites. He’s an introvert and I’m an extrovert. I love to socialize, he loves to have quiet time. I love Podcasts, he still reads a paper.
So you can only imagine, that when I begrudgingly confessed to him that I was exploring expanding my career into “thought leadership”, I braved myself for his reaction and in his usual man of few words ways, promptly asked “What?” Which really meant, that he couldn’t understand how that could even be a business, let alone a career?
He is in constant fascination of our great countries’ capitalistic way of “SPINNING” old words and ideas into a new and more palatable way of speaking by taking outdated and negatively charged terminology and giving them a positive twist. All with the intention of sparking in us a whole new desire to “buy” or buy into things. By no means is he outdated himself, even in the old school ways he devours the news and is totally up on the latest trends, but that doesn’t deter him from finding this “spinning” a somewhat silly concept.
One of his latest favorites is the trending concept of calling a “pop-up” store a “bodega” vs. the outdated concept of a five and dime or the corner store. How could this new label be turned into a desirable and even “chic” place where food goods might be mixed with high-end couture, just for the intriguing juxtaposition of outside the box marketing, and yet I hear it’s the latest thing in New York and other cities where fashion is king.
Another newfangled term that hit very close to home for us was the idea that a “developer”, which can have all kinds of negative connotations, might simply be called a builder or an even more fantastically described as a “neighborhood start-up creator.” Likewise, a “renter” is being reimagined as a “member” or a “club associate”.
This ever-expanding social spinning is always a point of amusement for him and he entertains me with debates on how ridiculous it all is.
I have to admit, however, that as amusing as we may find it, these semantics at their core, are a concept that we have to constantly check in with, so that it’s not being taken too seriously and that we all in our hearts know what authentic truth is.
In this growing age of the “cold intimacy” of social media, we need to keep our wits about us and not allow the seduction of “fake news” to penetrate what we know to be true. How do we do this, when we are bombarded by a constant barrage of new terms entering the mainstream? I say, by continuously asking ourselves whether something feels right in our hearts.
Yes, as much as we have become a thinking society, versus a doing or industrialized society, I believe we need to become a feeling society. What do I mean by that? We need to understand that connecting our hearts to our minds is the truest way to spot a lie versus a truth. In essence, I believe this is what “mindfulness” really is. I’ve always said that if we were designed to just be doers, we would have been called human doers instead of human beings. Oh no, guess what, I think I just talked my way into my own wordsmith twist!
My point is that at our core we all crave peace, beauty, well-being (another popular trending term) and connection… to each other and to our fellow man. We are all in the constant pursuit of Happiness, pursuit being the operative term but it constantly eludes us just our of reach, because nothing is ever enough. Honestly, we just can’t see the forest for the trees because there is always the next thing to acquire! We are being constantly sold something that we feel we must have, but truly do not need. Simply because that is what Capitalism is all about. This is our American method of operation, and I will be the first to tell you that I wouldn’t really want to have it any other way. I enjoy and relish the freedoms of creatively “spinning” my life as I see fit, but I know that I have to constantly be very aware that you can fall prey to the effects of Emotional Capitalism in the blink of an eye, and that these predator like marketing claws are always in a state of attack. Discernment is the only way to fight back.
My husband would say its all so very simple, just breath and be, and he always reminds me to ask, “Do you really NEED that?”
Bea Pila is an award-winning interior designer with 30 years of residential and commercial experience. Bea’s work has been recognized by ASID and the International Design Awards and featured by U.S. News and World Report, Houzz, and Elle Décor, among others. She is the pioneer of Design Enlightenment, a process for aligning people’s interior spaces with their interior selves.