Last night my wife asked me if it was worth it to write, or knit, or perform any creative endeavor. “Everything has been done,” she said. “What is the point?”
We were a bit in our cups and I tried to articulate the following:
When you express yourself through any artistic endeavor – writing, painting, designing knit patterns like the misses is trying to talk herself into – what you are (hopefully) doing is taking extent things and ideas, running them through your personal filters, and put them together in new ways that no one has ever seen before.
The universe forgives so, so much, but I expect it is unrelenting onfolks who have art inside them but refuse to let it out. That’s an unforgivable transgression.
See, the only thing that makes sense, the only logical purpose of man in a universe that acts as a complete system is that we are the universe’s attempt to understand itself. And art is the language we use to do it.
Art is one of the languages. Scientific inquiry is certainly a part of that as well, as is mathematics and medicine. But art is the keynote. Art takes the most complicated and arduous subjects and parses them down, elegantly, into a well turned sentence. Or image. Or song.
Art is how we communicate with one another, and art is how we communicate with the Universe.
Lets say you have a half assed novle inside of you. Say its derivative, say its based on a book you read that you thought would be better if you just tweeked it a bit and changed the ending. Say its that bad but it burns inside you. You want to do it but you are afraid it will suck. Or you don’t see the point because its 90% identical to the source material, and you don’t see the point.
I say write that motherfucker. Put it out into the universe, make it a part of the collective unconsciousness. Better still, do it and then put it up on some online site somewhere and let folks read it for free. Take it higher, get it published and let strangers find it.
Let them hate it. Let them rip it to shreads and call you an idiot for ever putting two words together.
Your work will possibly inspire someone, who’se work will possibly inspire someone, and they might just create something great.
You owe it to the Universe to sing your song. Its your job, and as a current resident of New England, I can’t put it much more seriously than that. Its your job, do your job.
The entire universe of work – cultivating food, enforcing order, building shelters, healing the sick, and taking care of the dead – is a life support system for Art.
And it all matters – cat videos, dirty limerics, skull tattoos, RPG dungeons, prop comedy, urban legends, soap operas, and skipping rhymes. It all expresses the human experience, and it all influences the human experience. Every artistic endeavor is at once the thing itself, and a criticisim of the thing itself, and a window into the Universe, and a missive to the Universe about itself.
In that way, every bit of art is a Love Letter.
Universe I love you. Universe, I can’t stop thinking about you. Universe, this is how you make me feel. You make me so happy and angry and terrified and confused and bored and horny and delighted. You make me feel so important, you make me feel so insiginificant.
The individual point of view is Context. Imagine yourself to be a beacon of human experience. The Universe can map you and all the other beacons around you, and by doing so it sees a picture of Itself. Whether or not it realizes that it is doing so, or if it even has a consciousness that could possibly allow it to recognize patterns, is completely immaterial.
Art equals perception plus experience plus technique plus medium plus drive.
And magic. Addeudum: possibly plus magic.
Magic is a convienant term, but what it really is is the sum total of everything we don’t understand. Through art we make amazing leaps in logic and perception. Its similar to how one man can throw a ball to another who catches it – neither of them do the math that would describe the force, direction, arc, perabala and so forth to describe the throw. One simply throws, one catches, and the mind puts our experience into play to make it happen.
Aprecriating art is instincitive. You don’t have to explain music to a child, she hears the music and claps her hands. All art is like that.