Spend a lot of time in a certain space and it becomes understandable. I don’t care how dumb you think you are, you spend 5 years studying aerospace engineering by the end of your 5th year writing 45 line equations on windows will seem normal. What was before a full and complete painting turns into a connect-the-dot exercise. Familiarity is, in many cases, the destroyer of wonder. The equation for heat transfer that was so wondrous and perfect is now just a series of logical steps that maybe you yourself could have made at some point. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s what I’m trying to say: our unfamiliarity is the oftentimes the root of our fascination.
And it’s even worse if there’s an industry to it because then “what’s worked” in the industry has streamlined all practices. Creativity is dead as anyone venturing outside the narrow definition of the industry’s self-defined best practices is too crazy or too dumb to survive. And sure someone can enter a space and say they can resist all that influence; all that sway from all the successful people in that space but I don’t buy it. Call me a naysayer, but if I were a director and I lived in Hollywood and ate dinner with Hollywood directors, watched movies by only Hollywood directors, read books by Hollywood directors (if they write books, maybe they don’t) then you think I’d be able to create something that different from Hollywood directors? Maybe, if I’m a phenom, a haircut above the rest of them in terms of ingenuity but nothing more than that. Remember, Stanley Kubrick lived in England most of his late life and in my mind it’s almost fact that he was the most creative auteur to get behind a camera.
My original point is this: me being unfamiliar with something, say the cheeseburger at In-N-Out, fuels my fascination. However, if I learn that they get their buns from Puritan Bakery, their patties from xyz farm and their sauce is really just mayo and food coloring then it doesn’t seem so special anymore. The magic is gone.
And if there’s an industry to that space—if the path of growth is defined for you then your exploration will be limited and so will your ingenuity.
The saving grace is, in some cases, truly understanding something makes you even more in awe than before. For example, I had no idea what the fuck went into making a website but after taking a web programming class at my university, I now get really captivated by strong, well-done web pages.
But it sucks because it’s still earthly, it’s still human. It’s not an awe of a man pulling 10 rabbits out of a top-hat, rather it’s an awe of a man who has worked tirelessly to perfect the angle of the trick, the presentation, intro, verbal pacing etc. I’m not losing my shit over how impossible that was as much as I’m over eager to give the guy a handshake for his commitment to his craft.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”