If The Freelance Sound Men / Women Are A Civilisation, Are We On The Decline?

This is a bit of a strange topic really, the other day I was thinking about the industry overall and with all this opportunity and growth I wanted to write something to encourage more people to not just take advantage but how we can ensure we are all successful for longer.

There are 8 stages of a civilisation and the themes they go through are similar to any new group. See which one you think we are in and what we can do to correct any faults.

I will be using the same titles as the ones for the civilisations and then explain in context what I think.

1 - Bondage To Spirital Growth

This refers to how civilisations are formed through the hardship or oppression into a set of ideals and values. There is a need to seek solutions to problems

This to me speaks to when sound men and women where establishing themselves and the industry over all, almost the move from just images to the talkies. These times where setting the ground rules for the power of sound apart form just the musical score of the silent era.

2 - From Spiritual Growth To Great Courage

In civilisation terms after the suffering and formation of the collective, now comes time for even more sacrifice. Leaders emerge and there is a push to make the next generation greater than the last.

This marks the growth of the movies and thus the sound elements involved with even later advancements to give better experiences such as the Dolby and THX standards for cinemas.

3 - From Courage to Liberty

As a result of the courageous fight, the foe is vanquished and liberty and greater justice emerges. At this point a civilization comes forth, rooted in its greatest ideals.

This is covered by the massive advancements in the technology and even examples of unionisation in the US for a more just and fair state of affairs. our group is very much established and thriving.

4 - From Liberty to Abundance

Liberty ushers in greater prosperity, because a civilization is still functioning with the virtues of sacrifice and hard work. But then comes the first danger: abundance. Things that are in too great an abundance tend to weigh us down and take on a life of their own. At the same time, the struggles that engender wisdom and steel the soul to proper discipline and priorities move to the background.

This is where things start to get interesting as you could say the advancements and cheaper technology and even the liberty of media in general has caused abundance in epic proportions. The move away from the traditional values and even the complete loss or severe detachment from the previous generations causing an erosion of core values.

5 - From Abundance To Complacency

To be complacent means to be self-satisfied and increasingly unaware of serious trends that undermine health and the ability to thrive. Everything looks fine, so it must be fine. Yet foundations, resources, infrastructures, and necessary virtues are all crumbling. As virtues, disciplines, and ideals become ever more remote, those who raise alarms are labeled by the complacent as “killjoys” and considered extreme, harsh, or judgmental.

Could this be the point in which we are at now with the detactment and closed off nature of the original generations to the newer. Along with the limiting of communication and information and even groups shutting down some for opening up the secrets be breeding complacency?

People fighting for unions and more rules being shut down and seen as killing the game for other people that are having an easier and easier time getting into the group.

6 - From Complacency To Apathy

The word apathy comes from the Greek and refers to a lack of interest in, or passion for, the things that once animated and inspired. Due to the complacency of the previous stage, the growing lack of attention to disturbing trends advances to outright dismissal. Many seldom think or care about the sacrifices of previous generations and lose a sense that they must work for and contribute to the common good. “Civilization” suffers the serious blow of being replaced by personalization and privatization in growing degrees.

This is a danger of the culture spreading to different sectors with the break down of the core fundamentals within the groups. If this spreads to the outer range of content creators that feel the lack of interest in us devalues our services.

7 - From Apathy to Dependence

Increasing numbers of people lack the virtues and zeal necessary to work and contribute. The suffering and the sacrifices that built the culture are now a distant memory. As discipline and work increasingly seem “too hard,” dependence grows. The collective culture now tips in the direction of dependence. Suffering of any sort seems intolerable. But virtue is not seen as the solution. Having lived on the sacrifices of others for years, the civilization now insists that “others” must solve their woes. This ushers in growing demands for governmental, collective solutions. This in turns deepens dependence, as solutions move from personal virtue and local, family-based sacrifices to centralized ones.

This is when it really breaks down and we are all pitted against each other once an economic crash happens or other global turn happens. With the technology giving us the tools still we can feel we need to be cut off from others not in our greater circle.

8 - From Dependence Back to Bondage

As dependence increases, so does centralized power. Dependent people tend to become increasingly dysfunctional and desperate. Seeking a savior, they look to strong central leadership. But centralized power corrupts, and tends to usher in increasing intrusion by centralized power. Injustice and intrusion multiplies. But those in bondage know of no other solutions. Family and personal virtue (essential ingredients for any civilization) are now effectively replaced by an increasingly dark and despotic centralized control, hungry for more and more power. In this way, the civilization is gradually ended, because people in bondage no longer have the virtues necessary to fight.

In this instance the central power I think would refer to the bigger content creators like the Netflix or Amazon which will then be able to make even more content and have more control over our craft and rates.

Where from here?

Let me know your input unless we are nearer number 7 or 8 haha. Maybe history doesn't repeat itself but who knows.

Matt Price

Matt Price

I am a London Based Sound Mixer and Sound Recordist working on Feature Films, Creative Content, Documentaries and Commericials.

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