Tuesday, June 16, 2020

How a Virus Can Turn You into an Artist

Well friends, it looks like Covid-19 doesn’t want us to go back to “normal.” The virus is flaring up in about twenty U.S. states, and is surging in India and Brazil.  All signs point to the continued need to minimize contact with others.  2020 seems the year that wants us to practice being alone.  The invisible foe is forcing us to become more detached from the world. And there’s something else.

I think the pandemic is forcing us to realize we’re all artists.  I mean that in a very specific way.  We’re artists in the way we perceive the world, each in our peculiar style, so to speak.  Some have a talent for painting a livable picture; others have a knack for creating disasters.

One thing we need to remember: we cannot get out of our consciousness.  Whatever you do and wherever you go, the only home you have is your mind.  You can get out of your body, but never out of your mind or consciousness.  We’re stuck with ourselves on a long journey..

It’s a funny thing, consciousness.  It’s your private gateway to worlds of bliss, beauty and wonder.  It’s also your private dungeon, torture chamber, and theater of nightmares.  So many possibilities!  And much vertigo!

But that’s the point: the artist in us is the decider.  Or should be. We can make the choices and consciously shape our picture of reality.  Artists do the same, shape sound into music, visual impressions into landscapes and portraits, words into dialogue and poetry. We are the shapers of our own lives, our inner selves and outer deeds.  The alternative is to leave our souls to others to tinker with and possibly destroy.  

We’re all artists in the way we compose, balance, and express our experience, our feelings, the bliss, the boredom, the pain.  Every act, thought, feeling is ours to reject or embrace, mold or maul.  It’s all there for us to weave into the artwork of our unfolding lives.

Normally, we don’t think of our lives as a piece of art we’re working on day and night—that’s because most of it is going on subconsciously.  But here’s the danger.  If we fail to form our own world-picture, our own art of living, others will stamp theirs on us until we forget who we are.  

You become an artist when you’re forced to be alone in a confined space.  You take command of your mind or it takes command of you.  That’s a minute by minute wrestling match. The mind is a restless bastard.  When you have fewer options you’re forced to be more creative, more decisive with what you have at hand. In the end, life is an art of improvisation.   Genius, said the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, is what happens when your back is up against the wall.  The pandemic is our wall.

For the intersection between painting and psychic phenomena, see https://paintingthepsyche.com

1 comment:

Tim said...

Interesting post. Funny how materialism takes something we can never know for sure is there (an external world made of matter) & assumes it is the cause of the only thing we can ever know for sure is there (our consciousness). Maybe this whole ordeal will make people look deeper into themselves, that would be a silver lining for sure.

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