“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.”
So now, it is not even one day sunny and warm to one day miserable and cold; it is changing on an hourly basis and every one seems to be experiencing these wild mood swings. It is as if we all held it together through the last of the winter and this up and down tease is just proving too much.
But we will all make it.
And up and down as well is everything that is singing and swinging through my life. I am seeing things, I know I have mentioned this before, come to rise that I have worked on for years and it is interesting to see what things they demand rise with them and which they demand be immediately discarded. I have found myself growing short tempered with idiocy. The other Ayn Rand quote I found today which I absolutely love is:
“The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident
which everybody had decided not to see.”
Which brings me back to the idea of values. If what we value shapes what we put our effort toward, we will always experience “success,” unless – of course there is an “unless” – what we value is something that is dependent on someone else’s validation. It is the difference between the poet who strives for their craft in order to become a strong enough writer to do justice to the theme and import of their inspiration and the poet who strives for their craft so that people will hear what they are saying. The latter is a case of values by validation and is already a set-up for failure, frustration, bitterness and usually, sub-par work. For the creation has no meaning to the poet except for the external validation it will garner.
If you make the validation, the audience, secondary or more preferably fourth or fifth on the list – the work breathes and grows. Its life and strength is not dependent on someone’s acceptance or the whim of a trend or fancy – it will wait and can wait because it has a life of its own apart from its author. Of course, the Achilles’ heel in that is swinging too far to the side of “it’s just not its time” in creating things without a respect for an audience. Sometimes we can also become hamstrung or blinkered in creating and fail to see that what we may be dedicated to is so….intensely selfish and self involved that its own value lies in its reflection of ourselves. That is perfectly fine if that is one’s intention and awareness. It is not fine when one aspires to speak for generations or to write of a universal experience or to somehow plug into the universal unconscious and create sublime work that influences lives.
It depends on what you believe the role of art is in life. There are many strong schools of opinion. There are the ones who believe that no poetry should ever reflect the presence of the poet nor aspire to anything then description. There is some that believe that artists and writers are the shamans of the human race. There are still others believe that it is all just selfish and juvenile self-indulgence.
Knowing what you believe to be the role of the artist and art in life is essential to maintaining the integrity of the creation. Even if you believe that art is just self-indulgence; know this, accept this, all these beliefs come with responsibilities. The more aware of and accepting of the responsibilities that come with our beliefs, the better we are able to lead lives that fulfill our values.
I will say this though: be wary the person who claims to value nothing as much as you should be wary of the person who claims to have values but cannot either define them, describe them or show any evidence of living by them in their lives.
Such people are what is melodramatically described as “the vampires among us.”
c.2011 Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved.