Her films are gorgeous, quirky, thought-provoking art you either love or hate. But more important, filmmaker Brit Marling’s career trajectory to film making stardom shows us your future. America’s future too.
Looking 30 years ahead a large majority of America sees its nation in decline. Less internationally relevant, even larger gaps between rich and poor, and even more tribalism highlight how Americans see America’s future.
Along with that bleak outlook is an even bleaker view of America’s (and the world’s) job inventory. More luminaries and “experts” agree: Artificial Intelligence will do to jobs what Netflix did to VHS.
According to at least one reputable economic firm, the future demands more than business as usual:
By the mid-2030s, up to 30% of jobs could be [automated], with slightly more men being affected in the long run as autonomous vehicles and other machines replace many manual tasks where their share of employment is higher. During the first and second waves, however, women could be at greater risk of automation due to their higher representation in clerical and other administrative functions .
That’s a recipe for massive social unrest. Don’t believe it? Look what happened to Greece when their youth unemployment reached 50%. The only difference: Automation will affect all ages, not only young people.
Luckily Greece rebounded without much bloodshed. Will America?
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I know America will get through the next 30 years. Bloodshed is highly unlikely. But on the other side of it all, America will not look like it does today.
That brings me back to Brit Marling.
Marling’s life illustrates what’s possible when people follow passions over societal, parental or even self-imposed career expectations. The Greatest Expectation of All – The American Dream – veers people way off track.
To clarify, here’s how Wikipedia describes The American Dream:
The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, the set of ideals (democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity and equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, as well as an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers. (emphasis mine)
The emphasis of that dream is “hard work”.
But hard work isn’t the best path to success. It can and does work. And almost everyone who “makes it” will say that’s what they did. But I’m telling you, that’s not what’s happening and that’s not what made them successful.
America is now at a point where circumstances will force Americans. They’ll have to give up notions that hard work creates success. What makes people successful – especially the very successful – is following your passion.
Over the next 30 years America will transition into this reality. It has to. Jobs are obsolete. So is hard work. That both remain today is no guarantee they’ll be here tomorrow.
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There are a LOT of examples I could share. But Marling’s is timely. One, because her newest Netflix show The OA dropped it’s Part II and it’s amazing. Two, because I love her quirky storytelling which explores themes dear to my heart. And three, because she chose passion over practicality, even though the practical route was blue-chip certified, guaranteeing her a seat at the elites’ table.
Kicking guaranteed success to the curb, she succeeded nevertheless. How? Following her passion.
Having trouble understanding the difference between passions and “working for a living”? Listen to Marling’s story.
Once a Goldman Sachs analyst, fast tracking in her mother’s footsteps, the job was making her sick. Doctors (supporters of the Capitalist Way) had a fix.
But Marling had a better idea: she quit Goldman Sachs and pursued her passion. The result? Successful films, an outstanding series currently on Netflix and a life she won’t trade for anything. All not possible had she literally swallowed the (anti-depression) pill in order to stay at Goldman Sachs.
Everyone can have their own version of her story. But not when they have to earn a living working a job. My passion is making it possible for everyone to do what Marling did. On a global scale.
With automation, societal structures weakening and the gap between rich and poor widening, more people realize status quo’s not cutting it. Even the one percent get it. Including this guy, this guy, this guy, and this guy. All one-percenters.
I know that new approach isn’t about “family wage jobs” or “American manufacturing” or “really great trade deals”. The new approach must ignite people’s passions. That’s the future I want to see. It’s the future Marling’s life choices illustrate are the way to go.
I know people want jobs. But that’s only because they’ve been conditioned out of reaching for their passions. Even some on Medium argue against following one’s passions.
That’s stupid advice in the wake of so many examples of people following their passions and reaching extraordinary success levels.
But Perry, what about those who struggle, never realizing success the likes of Marling and others?
That’s why we need a better national infrastructure. One that makes it easy for people to follow their passions. The reason so many fail following their passion isn’t so much because they suck at it. It’s because our society sucks at supporting them doing that.
That’s why we have the saying “don’t quit your day job.” That’s why so many advise against following your passion. Even though following your passion can work, our infrastructure is built against that. To me that’s a national disgrace. Especially for 21st Century nations.
The solution is not not following your passion. It’s changing the system so you can.
That’s what’s happening thanks to things like Artificial Intelligence, progressive ideology, and a growing number of people passionate about doing away with capitalism.
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Some complain about people criticizing government, the constitution, democracy or capitalism. Many of these people have no workable alternative. I get that criticism.
But I have a workable alternative. This story isn’t about that. But since some are loath to follow a link, I’ll outline its benefits.
With everyone’s necessities provided, each person becomes free. That means free to explore, develop and run with what fills their heart with glee, i.e. their passions. And, they have all their life to figure that out. No more having to spend most of your waking hours – and hours you should be sleeping – earning your living.
If this sounds interesting you might want to find out more. But again, that’s not why I’m writing this.
I’m writing this because Marling shows the best human output comes from passions. And don’t worry, there are as many people passionate about engineering, fabrication and public services such as transportation, sewer and the like as there are about film making, golf and playing video games.
Everyone is comparing today to the industrial revolution. I see it different.
This time, we have the technology, the awareness and the need to leap beyond a future that’s just an improvement over the past. We can make a quantum leap into a brand new reality for everybody.
I say the sooner the better.
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