Posted by kari.petroschmidt
There’s something that’s always appealed to me about Karl Largerfeld. He’s a workaholic, going so far as to practice the Uberman sleep schedule (something to which I’ve always aspired but never quite gotten around to… watch this space). He’s obsessed with creativity and learning, he wants to know everything. And he’s intelligent and immensely successful. When I listen to him speak I get the sense of an individual on the edge of existence; the razor sharp point of imagination and experience.
And to be honest, a part of me loves the arrogance. Of course, total confidence in any individual attracts us. I guess it’s saying fuck it to the insecurities, doubts, fears, like who cares? These hang-ups and neuroses are such a waste of time when we could be creating and experiencing. But it’s a delicate balance. There’s a danger in arrogance. The second we think we know everything we start to impede our learning process, in particular what we can learn from others.
So, does Lagerfeld exist simply to expose the weakness and lack of ability in others? I don’t think so. Firstly, I think the hard work aspect is the most significant part of his ethos. Referencing an inferior ‘other’ is a mechanism to emphasize the importance of his work, which to him is everything.
“I don’t like to act because my life is a pantomime anyway”
Secondly, there’s a tongue and cheek bravado to a lot of what Lagerfeld says, due to the fact that the man is a bit of a creation/meme in himself (“I don’t like to act because my life is a pantomime anyway”). I think we can take it with a grain of salt. After all, why would anyone who is so immersed in beauty, creation and knowledge, care about bringing other people down? Other people and their inadequacies, whatever they are, become irrelevant surely? Or I would say, conversely, you’d only want to infect others with that sense of self-actualization you yourself achieve from having a higher purpose. Knowing how inspired, connected and productive it has made you feel, the universe could only be better for it. It’s that whole Mark Twain quote, “Really great people make you feel that you too, can become great.” So this idea of ‘uselessness’ acts as a motivator for those of us who do believe in achievement in the same way as Lagerfeld, hence why his quote is so appealing, despite any unwillingness we may have to belittle others on our journey to ‘success’/’enlightenment’/’fulfilment’/whatever. We will work harder, we can be like Karl, we’ll never be useless, we will be great.
True, this is speculation. Perhaps Lagerfeld doesn’t care about motivating us (note, it doesn’t actually matter as we can still find motivation through him regardless of his intentions). Regardless he relates a subtle understanding of this balance between arrogance and humility that I spoke of earlier, oblique as it may seem on the surface of things. He states,“you must never think that you saw it all, you have always the eyes open… it’s very dangerous to think you know it all.”