There are certainly enough social evils and enormous problems in the world to keep good-hearted people busy for a few lifetimes. What we can do to help is almost as limitless as the problems themselves. So much to do. And the problems are legitimate. They are serious. They are felt, currently. They are being experienced by someone right now. And I, potentially, could do something about it. The fact that I’m thinking about it makes it so.
In light of this incredible human capacity to care, to innovate, and to help, how could we not spend our time actually doing just that? How could we waste our precious little here sorting out emotional details within us, narcissistically looking inward?
And that right there may be the right question about the nature of art. Is art, by its very nature, inward focused on the artist’s own journey only? Or, is art, by nature, focused on the real world around all of us and the human problems we all face? Have you seen the documentary Conflict yet on Netflix?
Maybe some will point out that might be one and the same. In other words, the inward journey of an outward focused person who is wide aware will and should reflect the struggle in us all to make a positive difference. It may be more direct than we think.
Think of it, who does not struggle first inwardly? It could be argued that all of man’s battles start inside. If we, no since we as artist’s get to address such internal tensions do we not have an amazing capacity and power for change? Ok, we may not directly be effecting human lives in desperate need, but indirectly we could be softening the hearts of those that could, and encouraging the hearts of those that do. And, of course, we are not only an artist anyway.
What if we were to think of a piece as an address to a group of humanitarian workers? How would the message translate? Or, what if were addressed to the people who were actually suffering. Would they understand or resonate with it?
And maybe, at the end of the day, there is not really that much separating the sufferers from the helpers. In other words, those are physical needs are so apparently different, our emotional or soul level existence is ultimately one and the same.
On a different scale we all deal with figuring out what to do, wondering if we are doing the right thing, trying to do what’s best, pushing ourselves to great extremes at times in order to. We all struggle with human existence in similar ways. And perhaps that is art’s great contribution to the human race. Perhaps it is what reminds us that we are ALL on the same journey, just at different parts. Sure some will refuse to go along with life but even those consequences are universal. There may be a hierarchy of needs, but sooner or later we are dealing with ourselves. Once and if we get to food and shelter, then we have plenty of other problems to deal with.
The good news is, we can endure and even enjoy them together!