Posts tagged ‘Self-Actualization’

March 22, 2017

An Occasion of Near Spiritual Significance

Shouldn’t art be the residue of life and not the main thing?

This novel thought struck me while I was brushing my remaining teeth. I held on to it and as soon as I got out of the shower I wrote it down.

Unless writing is the means by which one earns one’s livelihood, isn’t it more important to live? If one enjoys writing, then write, but if one has to bribe oneself to do it, if it isn’t financially rewarding – or rewarding on any level beyond this dubious notion of actualizing oneself – and if nobody is reading it, then why bother? Why sacrifice potentially enriching experience in order to engage in an act that nobody else, oneself included, benefits from? Surely art shouldn’t be prioritized over life? And even if one is compelled to do it professionally or out of some misguided sense of purpose, even then isn’t it more important to experience life than to examine and transcribe it?

Maybe there are a few cases of supremely gifted individuals whose works are sufficiently edifying and entertaining that the prioritization of art over life – or the more exalted status of art as life – is justifiable.

It is doubtful, however, for the vast majority of people that call themselves or think of themselves as artists, that on their deathbeds they will look back and value their creative or professional achievements over love and the living of life.

But perhaps what one values most on one’s deathbed isn’t the most reliable index of worth.

Anyway, I’m not on my deathbed, I’m just sitting at this desk.

August 18, 2012

Kill Off Your Expectations, Settle In

Hour after hour, day after day, year after year, decade after decade, consumed by this precious illusion of service to the pen: priceless time that might have been used to benefit others, from which I might even have derived pleasure. And what have I received in return for this self-serving – if that – satisfaction of having actualized myself? Poverty and solitude have been the chief rewards. And what, actually, am I actualizing? Do I have anything to say that is worth saying at all or that hasn’t been said better before, that might justify this massive investment of time and energy, this insistence on keeping going, this unflagging commitment to a lost cause, as if it were a sacred act and not a sickness born of vanity?  What would happen if I didn’t do it? Nothing. Nobody would notice. It wouldn’t make any difference to anybody… other than myself. And I would probably be a lot better off without it. As a compensatory last resort there’s always the myth of posthumous glory. But to receive that one has to die first. How inconvenient. I must put that on my to-do list. It would completely validate the work, of course. The only problem is that I haven’t done the work. I must also put that on my to-do list.