Updated: Feb 13, 2020
The role of artist in society is one that is often wrapped in language that makes it very hard to understand what needs to actually be done by an artist. It is one thing to paint or sing but just because you write does not make it that thing that pushes humanity forward. What is happening when a piece of art changes the world?
The answer is in order to experience art you have to have a body. In the fact that all humans have bodies we can find our answer to what is happening when art really achieves what art does, which is make bodies move differently than they were before. Whether it be the new movements applied to new music through dance, or the inspired actor that arises from the person touched by good writing, or the pilgrimage to see a painting, how humans move changes when art is done right.
We started out so long ago barely what we are today, this is our evolutionary history, where we were like the animals we have done something radically different. What we have done is move unlike any animal before us. We have found ourselves dancing and singing, reading and writing, and in that we have found ourselves with astronauts in space. How we got moving is the story of the universe, what we do given we are moving is the story of humanity.
And where art plays its role is in our minds and in our actions, alongside our path from animal to whatever we will be we painted and sung for each other. In the each otherness of our actions we found ways to behave with each other that other animals find just out of their reach. Love is the set of movements humans make towards each other that most animals can not, however for humans we also have hate. And in hate we find orders of movements we have never seen, from airplanes dropping atomic weaponry, to the purposeful manipulation of pathogens to kill undesirables.
The course of human history has been an ebb and flow of movements abstracted from the other animals, we are still very much animals. In our bodies we find nothing truly new, just different proportions of things older than we are. In all of the other animals we find the answers to our organs, to our thoughts, to our lives. What we are can be answered through an analysis of what we are not, in the creatures and in the objects we can see. In our understanding of what we are, in our contemplations of self is where we find the higher order existence humans seem to be living.
No other animal can protect its children from us, yet we can protect our children from every other animal. Even the tiny little cells that can invade our bodies are losing the fight against us, where they once found opportunity they find a real war. Where we find ourselves in the order of things is so wildly different we have to ask the questions of how and why. In that analysis we find ourselves in constant conversation with ourselves, and it is where those conversations failed that we found us playing out our animal nature, war.
The best of the best art reminds us of our true nature, of our true origins and our true future. We are violent animals who learned to work together and that violence has not evolved out of us. At any time we can turn on each other and at every moment of human history we have turned on each other. And where we say we are trying to get is a place were we do not act towards each other as we do, and great art in all forms addresses this.
Think of the art you have experienced that truly touched you, when you had that experience all of a sudden you felt inspired to make different movements than you have, or helped you make those movements you always wanted to or didn’t. And this is the artist role in society, to see, hear, taste, understand things and reiterate them so people can make the movements they can not directly articulate. The writer gives us the words to talk, painter the ability to see our feelings so we can understand how we have to move in response to the whole of the world. The musicians help us deal with our bodies in motion, their rhythms make up the whole of why we are different, their dances allow us to learn to move together.
Our future is dependent on how people move today, tomorrow and everyday in between. Where our artist play their roles is in guiding our actions, in helping us reconcile what we should do so that we can act. War comes from the artist as much as peace, we need to remember this, it is always through word, image, and to the march of drums that we go to war. The future of war depends on the future of art. The soldiers do not fight without a story, and it is when the great artist shatters the story that allowed us to go to war which allow people to see clearly how we are moving that we stopped moving beast like towards each other.
We we continue our current wars is because our artist have not revealed to us how we got in to them, they are propagandist hiding what needs to be seen, they fail daily to really make us think about the bodies we destroy. They fail to make us truly feel connected to each other enough for us to take responsibility that everyone inside a country at war is guilty of killing each person that dies because of its declaration of freedom. Given our role as artist we have done an evil job given the freedoms we have and how we got them.
The past is hidden because the artist who should be hard working is lazy. Humans act selfishly because our artist have no idea what they are doing. The corruption of humanity comes when artist are guided by non-artist, a true artist is so independent they can see what no one else does, and they are no good at getting what everyone wants. Suicide, or a slow death in booze or drugs, madness, anxiety these are the real things artist experience. And it is in the attempt to be invited to the party, to be honored with a reward that every artist becomes demon, selling humanity out for personal pleasure.
No artist drank to feel good, drinking that much does not feel that good. No artist loved humans who didn’t love them for the pure joy of the beratement. No artist smelt the decaying flesh of another and felt how most people would wish to feel if had a wish. No brush stroke of a masters painting came the praise of the masses, it is the exact opposite. The writing of a sentence that changed the minds of everyone only came in a struggling isolation to communicate. The feelings of the artist are anxieties most humans avoid but we all experience.
The athlete understands, wake up and grind against the ordinary feelings my body gives me so i can achieve something nobody ever has. To be the first to move in a way no human has. The ability move in ways most humans can not imagine does not come from people who only have good feelings. It is the push through all that is horrible that gets the great to where they are.
Were all of humanity finds itself right now is on the edge of its seats waiting to be inspired, their inspiration will be acted out, and if it is to not be a violent cascade of old patterns of behavior with new technology then the artist needs to really understand their role in society. At some level we are failing at being humans and are rapidly acting out our animal nature. We are failing to communicate which means we are failing to organize ourselves.
Without our artist showing us and giving us the words and movements to make all we can do is be animals. Artist more now than ever are needed to solve problems and they have to become aware that all entertainment is propaganda. The point of art is not to distract but to raise awareness of human existence as it has been and how it could be. It is only in tyranny that we find ourselves disperate mentally from each other making movements toward each other physically because we forgot certain truths. Every human has a body, and all of our bodies are in motion, and if every human drank beer for the next 6 months we will live in a much different world than if we all picked up trash for the next 6 months. Who we are and how we move are no different we are as a people judged by what movements we make, and real art helps us make the right movements given we are already moving.