Stop Apologizing for Your Art! (Dammit!)

Since joining WordPress three months ago, I have noticed a fascinating trend regarding artists and their lack of confidence. In fact, I began compiling a list of apologies that I have found on posts here and there.

1.            A new drawing, but I’m not satisfied with the result. I did too many mistakes on this one. But I’ll say myself finished and move on to my next project

2.            Honestly, I was kind of lacking inspiration for today’s photo

3.            Not very good just hope you like it and please don’t laugh.

4.            …not so good though, but still work in progress.

5.            Bear in mind, we are rigorously timed and there are all kinds of visual distractions when you’re trying to concentrate

6.            I messed it up! Oh well, posting it anyways.

Listen, if you’re going to post it, believe in it. Let’s be honest: you are posting it because you are actually proud of it. You want the praise, so you post. But this exposes you to possible criticism, so you hedge your bet and provide a disclaimer, an apology. Problem solved—you can get some praise and avoid the criticism. But here’s the real problem— if you don’t believe it, no one else will.

Did Mr. Hirst shrink in his apartment and say, “oh boy, people have been putting fish in tanks for centuries.”? No, he said, “Check this out, morons, it’s the biggest damn thing you’ve ever seen outside the Natural History Museum, so pay up!”

Did Bob Dylan go on stage apologizing for his crappy singing voice? No way! He had something to say!

Did Kurt Cobain start each concert like this,”Hey guys, I only know a couple of chords, but I just wanted to show you what I was kind of working on, when I can squeeze it in. Keep in mind, most of this still needs some work.”

Heck no, you go out there like Rothko and Pollock and believe in it!

Most likely, you can write better than Thomas Wolfe, draw better than Grandma Moses or Basquiat or Banksy, and sing better than Bob Dylan. So keep working and own it.

One more thing…. If you take this to the limit, you will find that in every argument, art always wins. Critics can bash it, ignorami can hate it, but in the end the art just stands there, showing everyone a mirror of themselves. Art’s just art, but people will have to live with the way they acted around it.

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Meaninglessness Matters, Nihilism Doesn’t. Part 2 in the Series on Meaninglessness.

In this second installment, in trying to understand the liberating and redemptive power of meaninglessness, let’s separate the wheat from the chaff. Let’s slice off some of the nonsense that philosophy has handed down to us. Let’s get back down to the clean dirt of mother earth:

Meaninglessness is not Nihilism. Nihilism is not worth considering. A nihilist, driven to certain desperate straits or torments, will abandon his fake philosophy and begin striving for better conditions. Bereft of the luxury of pretending that nothing matters, he begins to work for things that do matter to him, even if it’s only his next meal. So much for Nihilism. No, meaninglessness is not a place where nothing matters. On the contrary, meaninglessness is a place where things do matter. It is a place where hearts desperately crave meaning and purpose, but cannot latch on, or have become conscious of the circularity and distressingly human-centric aspect of life here on earth.

The things that we pursue here do matter, and it is important to live well. Before moving on to more nourishing notions in future posts, I wanted to make sure that I explain that with these essays I am not here to wallow in the imaginary problems of the well-fed. Existentialism is not a way to occupy a mind unoccupied by crushing want. It is an honest attempt to live truthfully and well, according to the heart, and against all dogma.

This series is focused on how to live well in practical terms. Please don’t harbor any thoughts that any of this is supposed to veer off into the clouds. What we want is to recognize that life is ours to embrace, and that things do matter, but we must come to terms with the true nature of meaning and meaninglessness if we are to improve ourselves, the way we treat others, and our lot here on this beautiful planet.

A Short FAEBLE on Rebellion. By DAEZLE

     In a certain country there lived a ruthless commander of the King’s army. This man had established a rigid law, and any infraction was punishable by death. Although the army lived in dread, their obedience and conformity led them to many victories. They moved and fought with one mind, like a school of fish darting here and there.

     One day, it came to the commander’s attention that the enemy was hiding somewhere deep in the woods near the borders of his country. This news came to him from the sole survivor of a scouting party that had left a week before. “What happened to your comrades?” the commander asked. “Sir, we ran low on supplies and the others ate some large mushrooms that grew in the woods. I was ill and had no appetite. The mushrooms were poisonous and the others died.”

     The next morning, the commander sent for his two best scouts, known for their loyalty and unquestioning obedience. He said to them, “This is my command: Find the location of the enemy. As I command you to survive, you must not eat the mushrooms that are in the forest.” With that, the two scouts ran into the woods.

     After two weeks, the commander believed that the scouts had died like the others. However, one of them finally returned, looking exhausted and dirty.

     “Tell me,” said the commander, “what happened and where is the other?”

     “We went in different directions, but I soon got lost, and so, it appears, did my comrade. I found him lying dead in the field of mushrooms, his stomach bloated and flies on his face. As I had also run out of food, I too sat down and ate the mushrooms, and they kept me alive.”

     The commander, who was inflexible in his law, ordered some other soldiers to take the scout over to the wall and execute him. Before putting the scout to death, the commander said to him,” You knew me to be ruthless and inflexible. Why did you break my rule?”

     The scout looked up and replied,” I broke your rule in order to obey your ultimate command, which was to survive and locate the enemy. When I was a boy, I lived in the woods and my grandmother taught me which plants were poisonous, and which ones were good. Others died because they broke your rule. But because I broke your rule, I lived. Furthermore, the enemy lies in ambush on a bluff nineteen miles to the east”

     The commander turned to his officers, “Untie this rebel and give him a commission. He will be second only to me.”