Marie Kondo’s catchphrase is prescient when it comes to our physical objects. But “sparking joy” takes on new meaning when it comes to the content that we create. In a world where materialism and consumption dominate our existence, a new lens is necessary to pierce through the static of our programmed lives.
“Spark joy” is nothing new — it’s simply a new lens (the old lens on life is obviously in the trash).
The media feeds us new catchphrases. But it’s all the same concepts, distilled through entertainment that facilitate cultural programming. This type of “infotainment” is designed to make us think we’re in control.
But too often we’re merely changing the channel on an endless “reality tunnel” or simulation of what you see to be Truth.
You can stop reading now if these thoughts don’t “spark joy.”
Perception creates our reality. If we don’t question our perception, we’re fed algorithms that get more delicious and convenient as time goes on. Time passes, and sooner or later we don’t even realize that we’re chewing on cardboard, wondering where all of our nutrients went.
It’s time for a new way to move through the world based on an inner Operating System that allows us to peel back the layers of our preprogrammed selves.
Content sparks joy when we create from an embodied place. And I’m not referring to the digital platitudes of posts, eBooks and white papers. Giving your customers what they want should always spark joy, especially when it’s content that truly connects with your customers.
But it’s no longer enough.
Our culture benefits greatly from people staying disconnected from their deepest inner truths.
We’re being called to awaken and to awaken deeper. We’re collectively giving birth to a new way of being — and when we create content from this new frequency and identity, we can evolve into higher versions of ourselves.
Creative thinking is not the act of “inventing” something but rather consists of thinking in an unprogrammed way.” — John Baines, The Stellar Man
Much of the Kim Kardashian-style content of today runs on a program, fueled by narcissism and ego-driven metrics. Algorithms further perpetuate these falsities.
Even if you’re not into “mainstream” culture, the counterculturalism on the other end of the spectrum is not much better. According to this article in The Atlantic, conspiracy theories work so well on Youtube because the conspiratorial mindset is threaded through the social fabric of the platform.
The medium is still the message.
In 1964, Marshall McLuhan theorized that the characteristics of the medium itself influence the audience more than the content. Content creators and marketers cannot merely distribute cookie-cutter content and hope it gets traction. In a media-saturated world, we need to understand how the audience consumes information and factor in how they’ll react to the content based on the platform itself.
But it’s not only done through logic.
According to media scholar Taina Bucher, understanding how algorithms make people feel is crucial if we want to understand their social power. Her research develops the notion of the algorithmic imaginary, which argues that how we think about the function of algorithms, not only produces different moods but also acts as a feedback loop for the Facebook algorithm itself.
This begs the only question: How do we break out of the simulation?
Technology enables and informs our choices. But how do we know if we’re blindly doing whatever our technology is telling us to do?
If we rip out the script, we’ll need to replace it with something.
That something is Truth.
We don’t need to destroy technology. But we do need to become aware of how we’re running our programs.
“Marketing used to be about creating a myth and telling. Now it’s now about finding a truth and sharing it.” Marc Mathieu
Marketers today need to not only be great thinkers but Awakened Beings. We need to not only possess keen intellect but possess elevated states of consciousness.
This means that we can’t simply be in love with the concept of Truth. We need to exist as its embodied essence through deep presence. When we integrate modern marketing with human potential practices, we can consider our customers from a spiritual perspective and as a whole person — body, mind, spirit and emotion.
Content sparks Joy when we question our perception.
When we align with the Truth of our essence, we’ll have more presence. And we’ll feel more connection with our humanity because our programs aren’t running on an old script.
Not all of our content needs to spark Joy (we’ll leave that to the unicorn memes).
But content should spark surprise, which in turn, elicits a narrative that unfolds over time.
This is a draft passage from my next book: Myth, Meaning and Marketing: How Content Creates Reality, available for pre-order soon!