Buddha didn't charge a buck to rub his belly
Uncle Ben from Spider Man said "With Great Power, comes Great Responsibility". Has everyone not seen this movie? Have you heard this saying before? It's true. It's not up for debate. And we see the science behind it everyday.
Here's an example, lets say you are the dad in a family. Well, as dad you have the power to decide things for your family. You have legal authority and the power to choose where your children go to school (finances permitting). But you also have the responsibility to act accordingly. What do I mean? Hmmm... if your child gets in trouble at school you, being responsible for the child, will get called in to go to a meeting. Then, while meeting with other people in positions of power (the Principle), you decide to defend your child (who may or may not be in the wrong) by saying "well Hitler didn't even beat up his own classmates" on Passover, you may come under scrutiny. Facing your own judgement to the deciding powers of the school. The school may decide to boot your kid and choose to not deal with you, the parent that makes really extreme comments when trying to handle an issue. When you begin to recognize this behavior as inappropriate, it's called accountability. Having accountability is the responsibility of power. Odd example, but illustrating the smaller everyday powers / responsibilities we encounter is essential to take the next step.
Now, put it on a grander scale where lets say you are the Press Secretary for the White House. And you make a blatantly false claim stating "Hitler didn't even gas his own people" to create the perspective of how righteous your are and how horrible the situation with the foreign leader you are dealing with is. You run your mouth and because of the great power of your position, your responsibility is greater. Greater meaning to be more keen and accurate with statements. When we are at the top of our power pyramid in any social structure, being accountable is crucial. Being accountable for our actions gives us a truer sense for the power and responsibility we have. Accountability makes us treat issues with more respect and discernment. It ultimately makes us realize that we are what we are doing, not what we think of ourselves.
America has an infatuation with grandeur. From "Being Number 1" to World Policing to "Speak English" to the Olympics, when it comes to a World View we are classic narcissists. But the most glaring thing I see in our reflection is what we are all experiencing in our culture, a ginormous lack of accountability / responsibility. We all want to be the best but don't want the accountability that gets us there. And folks, accountability is AWESOME! It's humbling, it's embarrassing & humiliating at times, it's difficult & tough to recognize, it claims ownership of failure, it's so many things! But the boiled down truth is, that it creates character. That "Good Ol' Days when men were men" type of character, when guys opened the car door for women... huh when's the last time you did that? Which leads me into my issue, Jaden Smith. As difficult as this is to type, he is wicked influential and [somehow] the future - If you believe, like Whitney Houston and myself, that the children are our future. And after this past election, I do not doubt one day Jaden Smith and Kendall Kardashian may even be co-Presidents. "Co-Presidenting" may become a "thing" so no one has to be accountable to loosing. Each fame baby's celebrity parents will hand the baton over to them (which is how Hollywood, now Politics and the wealthy & powerful work - see *nepotism) and they will have influence over all children [with access to cable]. Well, they already do. And Jaden and Kendall are dolts. <- I say that in a loving, all kids are idiots way.
Jaden tweets "I just want to inspire the youth". And promotes a persona of a philosopher (*see any of Jaden's tweets). But hocks his clothing line via twitter (including soliciting for a Ceo [sic] to help with the business aspect). You can buy his 30 dollar t-shirts, that he probably designed himself! But how does one go from selling Tees to being considered a philosopher? Or just an inspirational person? I get a young Kanye vibe - I'll save the world through my overpriced clothing line. Bad Kanye! See what you're creating? The long and short answer is this - you do not gain the depth of Plato because you try to speak [tweet] poetically. Faux poetry, if you ask me. And unless tweeting becomes a new type of poem like the Haiku, you ain't a 140 character poet.
Here's how things got confused. There's no accountability. Zero. It's not anyones fault, see *a little accountability joke*.... Jaden has simply confused wealth for being important. Better put, our society has confused wealth with importance. Let's pretend Jaden's yearning to be inspirational leads him to want to be a modern day Buddha. He's off to a decent start, being wealthy from birth. The only issue is that (in short, real short, my apologies Buddha) once Buddha saw all the pain in the world, he sacrificed all he had and took on the suffering. Ultimately, taking accountability for others pain to see how to end it. I'm guessing the earliest derivation of the slang term "woke" that kids are using originates with Buddha [Or did I make that up cause never in the history of saying "woke" has anyone thought that deeply into it's origins]. Back to Buddha - After witnessing the suffering, Buddha went into this rad meditation (again paraphrasing here). Buddha then had an "awakening" or became "Woke" and gave the world some killer insight on suffering, material wealth, and noble truths (sorry moving things along). So back to the mistaken identity of wealth as importance/inspiration. If Jaden had disowned his family's wealth, ran off to a 3rd world country and began creating clothes for the impoverished, or just began a clothing line after running off leaving the wealth behind - I think we'd all agree the kid is inspirational. He didn't, in fact what inspired this blog post was the fact that he's well aware of the financial disparity in this country and instead of creating a clothing line anyone could afford, he used his "Name Fame" to sell kids obscenely overpriced clothing (of which, the quality does not seem to match the quantity he's asking for).
How is it our culture continues to condition people to believe that wealth = inspiration / character / self worth? My first assessment goes like this - Making a lot of money means I have done something right, so how could I be wrong if I am rich? But that statement is a trap, a severe entitlement trap that we can address another time. Now.. Why do some and Jaden himself believe that because The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air finally stopped being such a 90's Lothario and had children (Jaden), that his child is more inspirational than average? I personally don't think he's inspirational at all. If anything, kind of a disappointment. He starred in the remake of The Karate Kid and it was nothing special - if Jaden was truly inspirational, he would have inspired Hollywood not to do that. He stars in The Get Down (which is a rad frigging Netflix show) and doesn't steal a scene. Now Jaden's dad (like him or not) is an animated and energized talent on screen so can you understand my disappointment? But, I do not fault Jaden for lacking the talent his dad has. I fault him for claiming the rights to it. Jaden is being accountable for "being a celebrity" when really a more accurate acountability to his fame is Will and Jada bumping uglies. His dad's story is inspirational.. "In West Philadelphia born and raised..." And Jaden's dad wrote a theme song for A SEASON! (This was wayyyy before Olaf and Disney tried jumping on the Summer Song bandwagon) "Summertime" gets radio play across the nation as soon as that first 80 degree day hits. So there is a lot to admire about a guy who writes theme songs for seasons. But his dad waxing poetically about sunny weather certainly doesn't give his son the ability to "inspire the youth".
What is he accountable for? The truth is that his dad entertained everyone in the 90's. But what Jaden claims to be is a successful rapper/actor/fashionista/inspirational speaker... without having done anything, just by being born... Which is phony. He never had to be accountable for the multiple failures it takes to create the success. Not claiming he has not had successes or failures (again did you see The Karate Kid remake? nah didn't think so. Boom - Failure). But when money suspends your ability to truly fail, like starving artist living in a car kind of failure, then your achievements are not real either.
Let me get back to the Philosophy thing because a great mind and mentor of mine made a poignant point saying "there is no George Carlin of today". This statement echoed in my mind, and I subtly began a search. Every comic I listened to, every tweet I read, every podcast, every post, everything I did I began to see if I could find someone like George Carlin who was a radical philosopher comic of modern day. But as talented as people are in this internet age, I still can not seem to find anyone close to philosophizing like Carlin did. But I did continue to come across Jaden Smiths attempts on philosophy.. well self-centered philosophy. Which is an odd philosophy style that is wicked popular on the internet.
Jaden, in a GQ article, makes claims aggrandizing himself to Galileo. Says he will go to MIT and says he has already sat in on lectures (which is a pretty rad thing to do - I see why the ego's inflated a bit). And that he wants to teach kids to stop being so scared. From the GQ article....
His goal in life is simple: “I just want to teach people how to be comfortable. Stop being so scared.” Wear a dress maybe, like he has. Study something no one told you to study. Tweet the first thing that comes into your head.
Now I guess that is a noble concept.. but it's wealth ignorant. When you travel the world, sit in on MIT lectures, design your own clothes and don't have to worry if your parents can afford to keep the heat on in the house - I can see how you could be so out of touch. How you think everyone should be brave, a noble thought. Though not everyone can afford to not shop at good will, never mind being a guy and buying a fashionable dress to wear in season. But how do you confuse your wealth-courage with being Galileo? I guess Galileo designed what would become the thermometer and designing clothes are both designing things? This... This is what I'm talking about, zero accountability to the fact that without his dad's money this kid would be grinding it out in public school and stressed over if his parents can even afford for him to go to college, never mind getting in. And instead of using his power for good, ya know create an affordable line of clothing that doesn't look like you designed it at home, he is using his "Name Fame" to remind the gullible public that wealth = important.
Buddha never charged anyone a buck to rub his belly for luck. And even though Buddha looks nothing like the big bellied imagery of what we think him to be (Buddha starved himself almost to death). Buddha didn't awake from his meditation enlightened and begin selling Enlightenment t-shirts to the masses. He didn't charge for his wisdom. Maybe Jaden is more Philosopher of Capitalism? Smarten up.
With All Due Respect.