Like it or not, humans are a race of artists
04-22-2008, 08:41 PM
Like it or not, humans are a race of artists
The Winter of War, the Summer of Art
by Jon Rappoport (from this link)
APRIL 11, 2007.
You could call this a manifesto.
You could also call me a fool, or crazy, for proposing what follows. You might be right, but I don't think so.
Revolution always seems mad at first. It disrupts the smooth and acceptable flow of suffering and boredom.
People adjust to a certain amount of failure and calamity, and if you try to take that away, for any reason, they tend to bare their teeth and dig in their claws.
At any rate, revolution worthy of the name is always about an answer to the question: what are human beings ?
What is at the core of a human being ?
What unspecified desire that gives new meaning to the idea of liberation is buried deep in the psyche ?
And if that desire is lifted to the surface, in a salvage operation, and bathed in light, will everyone suddenly become too embarrassed to continue to live in the old way or the new way or any way?
Will people, therefore, pretend the revelation never occurred ?
Will a better and more effective version of amnesia sweep through the population like an epidemic ?
If civilization is supposed to be a structure that progresses over time, and if that progression is aimed at the satisfaction of its citizens, then we need to prod and poke that word "satisfaction," to see what it means.
Is satisfaction about more material goods---about an amount that goes beyond the ability of a person to enjoy what he has ?
Are more and more people accumulating so much that most of it goes to waste ?
While others have nothing ?
Is satisfaction about fewer wars and fewer numbers of people suffering the consequences of war ? If so, I don't see a great deal of progress on that point.
It seems that everyone and his brother has "a new paradigm" in his pocket these days. So instead of offering another one to add to the pile, like the hundredth toy on Christmas day, I'll speak to the idea of what a genuinely new paradigm would do.
It would, first and foremost, lift people beyond the range of repeating emotions that keep them in a doldrum of suffocating boredom; it would lift people beyond the need for violence, war, and destruction.
It would place them in a new perceptual field, where they view their options with different eyes.
It would stimulate the introduction of imagination and creating---not as a mere pastime---but as a way of life. As a way of profound SATISFACTION.
It would, in fact, give rise to art on all fronts.
It would induce people to become artists.
As, perhaps, they once were.
It would lift all boats to a new height, from which people would draw on the same experiences and feelings and energies that formerly led them into boredom or violence---but now those elements would be used and transformed in the invention of art.
Art: music, painting, writing, theater ... what empty words they have become. Why not inject them with electric life ?
Suppose life was about art, and the past was fuel for that fire.
Does such a development seem like a terrible thing ?
Or does it seem like a renaissance at the core ?
Does such a development seem like a step on the road to satisfaction ?
I believe so, and as bizarre as my proposal may sound, I make it.
Someone has to.
Where are we heading ?
Toward the planet as some final mass entertainment center, where billions distract themselves from impossible problems ?
Is the planet destined to be nothing more than Audience ?
Passive audience ?
Is that the last gasp ?
Or could we change course and make the active invention of art the goal ?
Could we turn mesmerized watchers into artists ?
I believe it's what history has been pointing toward, if we read it correctly, and if we factor in the buried impulses and desires of the psyche.
Suppose we could all create our own art ?
Suppose we left the perverse madness of acting out these creative energies on the battlefield behind us ?
Might that amount to SATISFACTION ?
One of the key figures of the 20th century, Buckminster Fuller, knew, in the 1940s, that the human race had the means to offer the essentials of life---food, clothing, shelter, education---to every human on Earth.
He knew that, as technology progressed, the ability to provide these essentials would become easier.
Fuller also saw the looming presence of automation in industry as an inevitable wave. Massive numbers of people would be thrown out of work. In America and other industrialized nations, we are already seeing a shadow of that, in the form of outsourcing.
What makes outsourcing possible is the advance of communication and transport---both technical factors. So although we may not be witnessing, yet, millions of people escorted off the premises of giant corporate facilities, we are, in effect, experiencing a reflection and a harbinger of it.
A corporation in Baltimore can contract many of its functions to India and China, because computers talk instantly over great distances, and goods made thousands of miles from America can be assembled there swiftly and shipped swiftly back here for purchase.
Fuller said that massive unemployment could be looked at as a boon, a windfall, rather than a tragedy, if the empty time could be filled in with far-reaching education for the unemployed.
He didn't mean new job training. He meant learning in the widest possible sense.
Learning that resulted in innovation.
I'm taking that one step further.
Education as transformation, resulting in artists creating art, prolifically, everywhere.
The human being as creator.
I maintain that this is where we have been heading for some centuries.
We just don't know it yet.
In a world where no one wants for the essentials of survival, free time would not become a horrific struggle. It might be the prelude to a massive outpouring of invention.
Education. Not the kind of authoritarian training that makes people hate what they learn.
The kind of education that leads to self-education.
The open door.
Believe me, I understand the enormity of the problems associated with what I'm proposing here. I see the pitfalls and the risks. I see the holes.
But we are presently well on the way to ever more massive problems and pitfalls and calamities and holes, with the system we have. We're not winning.
We're catering, more and more, to the lowest common denominators in all of us. And those denominators foreshadow deeper boredom of the spirit, and deeper and wider wars.
I have seen a number of people save their lives and their hopes and their visions and their souls by finding art. By making the leap and creating it.
They become titanically new, and yet more themselves.
They discover a new platform from which to live and act.
Watching this happen is like seeing a person perform emergency surgery on himself and emerge, resurrected.
A new paradigm would show that both boredom of the spirit and violence are twin disasters built on the stifling of the creative impulse.
Put a floundering and crazed fish back into water, and he swims away with speed and comfort and hope and ecstasy. Put a human (trained or not) into a place where he can create art, and he swims in exactly that way.
Yes, there are many, many, many people who will deliver a round of excuses.
"I'm not an artist." "I don't know anything about art." "I have no talent." "I'm not trained." "I'm not interested." But over time, these essentially cultural artifacts can dissolve.
The problem with most of the spiritual systems devised by human beings is that they leave out, conspicuously, the creative act.
I find that to be an enormous fact.
I take that fact as a sign of the malaise of the human race.
Desire, buried. Expression, submerged.
Conditioning applied to make humans into androids---androids who can laugh at only one thing: the prospect of creating.
"Millions and millions and billions of people becoming artists? Are you out of your mind? People are herd animals. They need dogs to move them around into the right places."
Yet, when I look into the psyches of people, I see something else. Frustration, turmoil, surrounding the ecstatic storm of creating that never materializes.
It disintegrates into the Collective taboo.
The result: soul-numbing layers of boredom, and violence (as a futile effort to make art out of death and killing).
I say futile, but if you examine various organizations of religion going back a few thousand years, you'll find all sorts of art dedicated to that very theme.
Let us forward a new theme: THE HUMAN BEING AS ARTIST.
Suppose that were the novel platform ?
You should know I write all this from a position that is somewhat self-serving.
For the last 45 years, I have worked as a writer and painter. Whether artists admit it or not, they like to have company.
They seek the company of other artists who are not entirely swallowed up in the commerce of the game, and who are not swimming in mind-controlled Disneyesque swamps of pastel rainbows and grinning plastic doily power. ("I painted my nails a new shade of pink. I'm Raphael.")
But beyond any personal agenda, I suggest the human being as artist is also cold fact.
There is no getting around it, and I don't want to try to get around it.
The old phrase, "lives of quiet desperation," was unconsciously fashioned over the graves of people who abandoned the creative impulse and opted for the Maze.
Also called, pillar to post.
What scientists call black holes and anti-matter and dwarf stars and supernovae and space storms also applies to the vast energies of the psyche. If you cap that well and move on by leaving the great and varied creative impulse behind, you simply postpone an inevitable eruption.
Like it or not, humans are a race of artists, and our roamings over the land and our struggles have brought us to the point where our hard-won technical knowledge can produce the time necessary to engage in what we truly have come here to do.
For all of our preposterous fronts and cover stories and disguises and self-induced amnesia, we are the Giants. No amount of lying changes that one iota.
Deny it, twist it, sublimate it, talk it down to a foolish little perspective, condemn it, scoff at it, invent gods who outlaw it.
It still stands.
It will always stand.
Why should we create a myth for the next century that is full of pity for each other, that makes us smaller and smaller, when we can open the gates to our inherent power ?
Why should we keep acting out a ritual of "sympathetic" diminishment, when each one of us can climb the heights ?
Grant the essentials of life and survival to every human being, and they create.
We would see an outpouring that would make, by comparison, hurricanes breezes in bottles.
The psyche, the soul, unleashed.
Do you have that kind of faith, or do you want to maintain the basic tyranny ?
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