Elsewhere, RossinDetroit has a pretty interesting point about cultivating creativity. To paraphrase him, the work he's currently doing is not mentally taxing, so he occupies his mind working out the details of his own projects. I responded, in part:
I know sometimes when I'm having trouble building something, I hit a wall just staring at the parts. I have to go do something else. But I have the sense that during that time I'm not actively working on it in my head, I'm just allowing all my assumptions to reset themselves. This allows me to re-ask important questions.I suspect that these are two kinds of mental work - mine behind the scenes and Ross's more conscious. They each require their own kind of quiet. I mean quiet in a general sense - any distraction, not just noise, disturbs quiet.
So, freedom from distractions cultivates creativity. On the other hand, marketing is a branch of psychology that constantly evolves to capture the attention of the members of society. It is a science of distraction.
My next thought is that what you can measure, you can manage. I firmly believe that one's energy and drive is not a fixed resource: if you're doing the right things, you can do more of everything. This applies in both personal and professional spheres.
So I propose an industrial revolution for the early 21st century, to parallel the one of the late 19th. This new industrial revolution will measure, and manage, distraction (including marketing) for the benefit of productivity. As new tools for measuring productivity become available, the power of undistracted people will become irrefutable. This will rein in marketing, and personal creativity will flourish. When someone brings no passion to their job, it will be obvious, and there will be tools to help them find a way to make a living doing something they love. Since money will no longer be the only thing we get out of our jobs, it will be socially acceptable to choose to earn less. The year 2100 will look back on the gray bureaucrats of 2000 with the same sorrow that we now feel towards the poisoned and disease-ridden laborers of the Civil War.
It'll be a better world.