To Hegel with your cre­ative dreams

Campaign Middle East - - NEWS -

In my cur­mud­geonly mid­dle age I find my­self dis­agree­ing with thinkers like Chase Jarvis, who you can read about on page 17. He is older than me but talks like a mil­len­nial, and says that we can all be what we want to be.

This mir­rors a ar­ti­cle I was read­ing re­cently about pro­po­nents of ‘Fire’. That’s an acro­nym for fi­nan­cial in­de­pen­dence, re­tire early. It refers to ex­treme sav­ing and fi­nan­cial plan­ning to let us quit our jobs in our 30s. I’ll ad­mit I’m a bit bit­ter I didn’t read it some years ago.

The con­cedes that Fire tends to favour the bet­ter off; it’s a lot harder for a shelf stacker to re­tire at 35 than it is for a banker.

The prob­lem I have is with the smug­ness at­tached to do­ing one’s own thing. Those prac­tis­ing Fire or liv­ing a new-found cre­ative life don’t nec­es­sar­ily lord it over the rest of us, but they of­ten sport a lack of con­sid­er­a­tion, like queue jumpers in traf­fic. They want what they want, and who cares about every­one else? Self in­ter­est takes pri­or­ity over re­spon­si­bil­ity to the greater good.

The 18th cen­tury Ger­man philoso­pher Ge­org Hegel says that any sta­tus quo (or ‘the­sis’, in his phra­sol­ogy), such as – in this case – rigid so­ci­ety, will pro­duce an ‘an­tithe­sis’. In this case, that is overly in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic hip­sters, pop­ulist lead­ers and Fire-breathers. But out of con­flict be­tween the two comes a ‘syn­the­sis’, some sort of happy medium. Such is the process of change, ac­cord­ing to Hegel.

On page 14, I have writ­ten about how Wave­maker is chang­ing. It ad­heres to a more Dar­winian phi­los­o­phy, though, with the two agency chiefs I spoke to ar­gu­ing for sur­vival of the most nim­ble in a fast- chang­ing mar­ket.

The fix­a­tion at Wave­maker on agility is akin to Jarvis’s belief that “this idea of get­ting on a path and hav­ing to stick it out is a nar­ra­tive that is no longer true”.

How­ever, Wave­maker’s flex­i­bil­ity is geared to­wards help­ing its clients, done in the ser­vice of oth­ers rather than – apart from in a busi­ness­sur­vival sense – it­self.

WPP is shak­ing up the sta­tus quo within the many agen­cies it holds. Wave­maker is a merger of MEC and Maxus; last month we saw VML wed to Y& R, and our lead news story in this is­sue is that a merger with Wun­der­man means the end to 154 years of the J Wal­ter Thomp­son agency name.

Per­haps those merg­ers are the an­ti­thet­i­cal re­ac­tion to an out­dated sta­tus quo. And per­haps the new, com­bined but flex­i­ble agen­cies are the syn­the­sis that will drive our in­dus­try for­ward.

Will they be staffed by fol­low­ers of Chase Jarvis, lift­ing the bushels from their cre­ative lamps?

And will I be as grumpily jeal­ous of them?

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