We all consume too much, and create too little. Perhaps that's the fault of the mass media, but it's also the realm of (arguably) the best creators with the widest audience. Being part of that audience should be used for inspiration though, it shouldn't merely be entertainment despite the big producers' pandering to the concept of quick and easy content on which they get rich but fail to make an impression.
So you consume a piece of content; a book, an album, a film, maybe even a topic on a website. Are you going to ponder what you've just taken in? Maybe it was rubbish, throw-away entertainment used to switch off your mind and it's done the trick quite nicely. Perhaps it was something just a tad more meaningful, indeed it could've been something altogether more profound. If the latter, I really do hope you gave it the attention it deserved, and I hope you engaged your brain, thought about the topic, and didn't disregard it as if it was daytime TV. Hopefully you weren't making cups of tea and texting your mates throughout.
So you've appreciated something. You've really taken it aboard and you've applied some energy to understand it. Maybe it's brightened your day or perhaps you know something that you didn't before. Maybe you've reflected upon yourself. Maybe all of the above, and you've saved the thought, catalogued it in the immense filing system of your memory.
Hopefully it'll resurface in the not too distant future and you'll regurgitate it into some form of output. Maybe you'll pass it onto a friend or colleague and make their day, or maybe it'll just make an interesting point in a conversation. It's a contribution.
Or maybe it's been swirling around in your thoughts for a while. Does it warrant an expression, a creation, the creation of a whole new concept? Maybe you'll pick up a camcorder, or stare at the keyboard for a minute before the words flow outwards and onto the screen, or maybe you'll stick to simpler, age-old solutions by putting pen to paper. It's a contribution.
Contributions to your world and the people in it, adding to your surroundings and passing on some piece of intellectual interest. Perhaps in the the most modest of ways, or maybe on the most epic of scales. To be consumed immediately, or to be discovered and aired some time in the future. It's something offered, released for criticism and praise, it's something passed on for better or worse.
And what are the benefits of creation and contribution? Something changed. You've added to the world and altered an outcome. Of a conversation. Or a stance. A decision perhaps. Even a course of action, a path. Maybe, without knowing it, you've changed the direction of a life. But then again, maybe you thought nothing, questioned nothing, created nothing, and ultimately changed nothing at all.
Graham's blog: politics, poetry, and introspection