This summer has been one of great growth and transformation for me, in part because of my involvement at Camp Now. Maze’s emphasis on living in the now has prompted me to ask numerous times during the day how what I am doing is meaningful or useful to me, which has helped me be more productive in the things I care about. I was able to focus my energy into making time to talk to engaging people, read, draw, write, and research topics such as the history of oil, alternative energy technology, compare drug use of different countries through history in relation to cultural development, consumerism, the social development in the US, and the catalysts of this development. In this age of information everything is readily available, it is easy to get lost in a subject that is irrelevant to one’s life. However I think a little knowledge about a lot of things is good for me at this point, because I am not sure I want to pursue a career in what I’ll be majoring in at college.
At the restaurant I work at, I was expanding my resume and perhaps improving my social skills, but otherwise not doing anything for myself. I care a lot about going to college and the work was not terrible, but waitressing is not the career for me. I read a short story by Kurt Vonnegut that theorized all human suffering came from being trapped in a body, and having to worry about feeding it and keeping it warm. I have found that there are so many people who can be satisfied with just being able to make enough money to pay their bills, and while their level of fulfillment in life may be the same as mine, it is scary that I may be like them one day. I have also found that a career in art is equally if not more risky than waitressing. The upside to a career in art is that at least for the beginning one will be working in something they are genuinely passionate about. However to make any money an artist needs to first be good enough to market themselves or attract an agent, and then be cautious that the audience or agent does not change their art into something less genuine and more commercial. Lizzie West walked away from a label because what she was doing under their guidance no longer felt genuine. We live in a culture where integrity is not financially rewarded, and for many financing their lifestyle has become more of a priority than keeping their integrity.
The work I do at Camp Now is meaningful to me because I am often making things or researching. While there is some boring work like printing or copying text, I am making art, which I love, and am working at a company whose philosophies align with mine, which is very important to me. I am also working with so many great artists such as G.E.Fox, which creates an environment of mutual inspiration and motivation. One project that was really engaging for me was making the peace flags. I researched spiritual symbols and their meanings, and the belief system they came from, and drew the symbol on the front of the flag and wrote a short description on the back. I am personally an atheist, but I think a general knowledge of religion is important for everyone who engages with anyone else to have, because it is such a relevant part of modern culture.
My time at Camp Now has expanded my understanding of Crealitation. The philosophy behind the course is that one can create their own reality by focusing their energy on the things they care about. The course makes one re-evaluate their values, assess their goals, and think of what they can do to achieve the goals. These activities should be a close to daily ritual, but can be so easy to forget between work, school, time with family and friends, and the constantly available entertainment. The course also takes one through a philosophical journey of self-exploration through assignments, various artwork, stories, and questions. In summary, Crealitation is a self-help tool, that will help one re-focus themselves to start living a meaningful life. While it is not the only way to learn how to live a genuine life in harmony with others, I can see the philosophy catching on.
This summer I have had a lot of time to think about what motivates me, and why I surround myself with the people I do. I enjoy spending time with people who make me think, and people who are passionate about the things they do. I find that meaning to me, or what motivates me in life is creating things and expanding my knowledge. I think this is because I enjoy being productive, thinking, and talking through ideas with people who care about thinking about similar things as me. I think happiness comes from growth, and knowing that your time was not wasted, which brings me to “the process is the point,” a phrase Maze often uses. This makes sense to me because while accomplishment is important, the most growth and production happens in the process. Enjoyment and fulfillment of a product, say a piece of artwork, research paper or accomplished goal, can only last so long. It is the process that one gains the most meaningful aspects of the project.
If I were to look back on this moment from the future I would be looking at the start of something new. I will be moving to Manhattan where I will be always surrounded by people and activity, something I am very excited about. While there are so many corporate robots and consumers in the city, the upside is that because there is such a big market, people are willing to take bigger risks in doing what they are passionate about, like starting a startup company for something they care about or pursuing a career in art. I don’t know if I’ll live in the city after college because it is so expensive, but I would like to be a part if this growth and activity for at least the time I am figuring out my career. This summer has also prepared me for my new life in that I know myself better, and know what kind of person I want to be.