Tuesday, 28 September 2010

why do it?

I suspect that the reason why many of us never fully make a committment to this creativity thing is because we can't somehow find a way to justify it to ourselves. How could we be so indulgent as to pursue something that appears to be entirely for ourselves, not serving others, not contributing to the greater good?

When you think about it, though, every young person starts off trying to find out 'what they want to do', and that's seen as being perfectly valid. You're somehow allowed, when young, to supposedly choose the thing 'that you really want to do'. You're even allowed to choose something crazy like art or music which won't earn you any money, if that's 'what you really want'.

The mad saddness is that with some exceptions, the vast majority of us really aren't sure, at 16, or even 18. And how on earth could we be, when you think about it? So many people end up in a rather unsatisfactory compromise, usually spurred on by cultural stories about where the money is, and it takes them some years before the fruit of such compromise appears on their tree. By this time, however, they may have mortgages, partners and children. And boy, do the stories change then. Whereas at 18 it was 'feel free to help yourself to whatever kind of life you think you fancy', a decade or so later it's more 'I/you can't possibly do something so viscerally attractive, so sumptous, so deeply, exotically enticing and satisfying. I have to do X, Y and Z, whether I feel like it or not.....'

Whatever the life is that we're living, it's a life that, at some point, we chose for ourselves. So why not choose again, later on, if the fruits on the tree start to taste bitter, or lose their flavour?

NB I know what the socialogical critique would have to say on my ideas about choice, but I might argue that it's middle-class patronising to suggest that people from different backgrounds to my own don't have a sense of agency in just the way that I do...


  1. Isn't it amazing just how smoothly the "world" runs when we all comply to the cultural restraints that we have let ourselves be brainwashed by?! Sometimes I wonder how things would be if we were back to basics and the old system of bartering...I think there would be alot more artists using their gifts and a far bigger appreciation and regard for them.

  2. Oh wow! How much do I agree with this, and Jenny's comments. Ahh! I am not alone.




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