I was talking with a friend of mine last night about control. We were relaxing a little after a half-successful film shoot, in which we shut down before completing the evening’s tasks due to technical failure. He looked to me and mused, “I want to be in control of everything.”
Well, that’s the trick, isn’t it?
In our natural state, we really aren’t in control of anything, ever. I can utilize electronic equipment that was manufactured by a machine overseas and sold to me at a reasonable price six years later on eBay, but how am I to control defects in the hardware? I’m not. Last night one of our batteries proved to be faulty, but who’s fault is that? We can’t sit around blaming each other for selecting that particular battery at the store; it was out of our control.
Society has rules in place that put people in control, of situations, of others, but are they really in control, or simply given a position where wrestling for that elusive control may prove easier or even temporarily successful? A shift manager can’t guarantee the people he has control over will obey his commands, and the birth of organized labor is living proof that total control is, at best, short-lived and fleeting.
Even inside our own bodies, we don’t have control. My thoughts and my actions aren’t always in agreement, if they were I could just think I should be thinner. My will turns out to be no will at all, but merely desire.
If I want to be thinner, or more muscular, or more contemporary standards attractive, I have to put in a lot of work. I’m giving up any control I might have had, allowing exercise and healthy eating to take over, giving up cheeseburgers for salads with fat free dressing, even giving the control my body has over protecting itself from the elements to the barber.
That last bit might suggest society has tangible control, by forcing me into proper grooming practices. But nay I say, since we as a society continuously buck against the norms that govern our way of life. But why? Are we a society of rebels?
Attractive changes constantly, and begs the question: does it change because we have control over what we like, or does it change because we have no control over who we are, and just change our likes accordingly?
In the 80s, every model was rail thin. To a lesser degree, society as a whole was much thinner than today. Today, we have an emerging plus-size model culture, and even the “regular” models are becoming far less bony. Is this because tolerance and acceptance has begun to include larger women, or because we as a whole are becoming larger, forcing our ideas of what is attractive and sexy to change, since we have no real control over it happening?
Not that we need any more to eat, but there’s some food for thought.
What of the millions of people that suffer from some form of mental illness? Can they even pretend they have any semblance of control? Maybe the worst of the lot are the only ones that can truly believe they are in control, as they suffer from delusions.
For the rest of us, we’re stuck with inspirational poster nonsense that tells us to “take control,” which immediately suggests that control is something we don’t have. And when we’ve taken that control, whom do we give it to? I certainly don’t have it; my control has been relinquished to the Ab exercise device I bought, leaving me with only a desire to use the device. What controls you, I wonder, and can you take it back? Good luck, either way.
This video shows several generations worth of being told what’s good to look at. The best part is a classroom of girls in negligees doing the Hucklebuck. Some things never go out of fashion.