Being Inspired (Part 1)
In the end what makes someone great is not ability or natural talent. It’s receptibility. If we have any sort of true definition of inspiration (something being “inspired”) then the shift goes from the person making the stuff to the spirit inspiring it.
We have all sat through novice performances of someone who definitely believed they were inspired but clearly (painfully) were not. They may have loved it dearly, but natural talent and grace were clearly missing. What of such people and occasions?
Were they missing the real voice of inspiration? Was it a bad spirit? Were they simply misguided and confused? Did they stubbornly refuse to hear correctly the actual truth (they were forcing it rather than receiving it)? Good questions.
Such exceptions are important to study but probably prove the rule more than break it. Inspiration finds its way to the right people. And the right people may not have the most talent and may at first be hard to believe are inspired. She picks who she will.
Over the centuries we can also think of a handful of people who became the right people for their generation without proper training or background in their area. They were exceptions to the rule that showed what mattered most.
What some call the “zeitgeist” is simply the ability to animate (or be animated) by the spirit of the age. Certain people are picked as mouthpieces for their time. Against all odds they make it to a place of authority or renown where their voice is heard.
Why them? Why their voice? We don’t know, except to say it seems like the forces of nature came together to make it happen. There is a sense of destiny, inevitability, mystery. God worked in them to get something across or done.
It almost seems there is a common thread of reluctance, or at least passive reception. Think of Jospeh. He had dreams. Yes. Vision? Yes. Passively received. David. He had ambition. Yes. Courage? Yes. Was not seeking to be king.
Those with too much specific ambition to get a certain category or recognition seem to be missing the point. Even if they do end up “winning,” what have they won? Not the hearts of the people. The people are attracted to the zeitgeist.
It’s why Youtube can’t support already-made-it celebrities. They have already “won” their prize, Youtube is essentially for people who refuse to play the traditional systems and can still, through perceived natural processes, win a category.
How someone succeeds matters to people today (far more than it used to). Their story is an inevitable part of their branding. People’s work is not taken at face value (think the local FW poet who used an Asian alias to get the same work denied published).
We have purists at every step of the way, checking not the credentials of our last name or pedigree (artifacts of the past), but making sure we did not get an unfair advantage. Content is not enough today, we have to have a story!