Riffing on my previous post: The Arts have the potential to get us to stop for a moment, cool our jets, focus. Great art does that and more. It gives us license to think in entirely new ways about old and new things, and if we let it, pushes us to stop thinking in self-destructive ways that continuously block access to the world. It mainlines awareness of the Other. It mainlines at least a temporary escape from our egos, which is the first step in the journey toward true connections to the Not-me.
As mentioned, this escape is harder than it’s ever been for we humans, and we don’t have the built-in support systems of yore. On a daily basis, we’re pushed into the reverse of that journey. Every time we pick up the phone to call some office, our doctors, this or that corporation, we first have to go through AI gatekeepers that ask us to labor, when we’re supposed to be the patient or customer — to struggle all too long to simply reach someone for help. A painting, a song, a novel, doesn’t ask us to jump through a thousand arbitrary hoops just to get to that music, novel, or painting. If it’s in our hands, our eyes, our ears, it’s there. It’s all there.
We’ve been led to believe that “civilization” requires complex and supposedly “sophisticated” layers of technology on top of the earth and between each one of us. We’ve been told, directly and indirectly, that our civilization is vastly superior to those in the past. But what if all of that is just self-serving claptrap, designed to keep us in the dark while we struggle to see past the far too intense white light and white noise swamping us? What if our civilization is actually killing our ability to be fully human, with other humans, within the context of the once natural world?
I think hidden within the core of art lies mystery and pain, and paradoxically, both inadequate and profound explorations of human dilemmas like those mentioned above. As in, our greatest examples of highly skilled expression still fall short of “it.” And because we’re human, they always will. The journey is all, and on and on we go.
Some recent paintings, with the main Krita brush being Waterpaint Hard Edges: