We make choices at every moment. Some conscious, some unconscious. Some informed and others less so. Art is the choice of a conscious aesthetic. It can be a painting that captures a particular moment and place. Music that evokes a feeling or makes our hips move. It can be the black wool sweater that we choose instead of the blue one or the heavy handled coffee cup instead of the porcelain tea cup. Our lives are the masterpieces we create. Why would we not want beauty and grace? Imagine a world without the glorious architecture of a cathedral, devoid of Swan Lake, or missing Mozart. Take away the works of Van Gogh, Rothko, Shakespeare, Charlie Chaplain, or any of a thousand other artists, writers, actors, and musicians. Could you live with no music? No poetry? No stories? How can we divorce ourselves from the creative? From art? The false notion of a “cultural elite” versus everyone else creates a manufactured disparity.
This article in Salon titled “No Sympathy for the Creative Classes” saddened me greatly.
In addition to the Murphy Brown Wars that brought the idea of a cultural elite and began the push to widen the disparity between the right and the left in the US, this notion that everything has to fit a business model is all pervasive. And perverse. Why does a government have to be run as a business? Why is this the underlying assumption? While this notion is directing fiscal choices, it is evident from the following:
1. the mounting national debt,
2. the growing divide between the “haves” and “have nots,”
3. the shrinking middle class,
4. lack of opportunity for younger people coupled with the crippling cost of education,
5. and the lack of fulfillment on the promise that if we give allowances, subsidies, and tax credits to “business” it will benefit everyone,
that running the country as a business is NOT working the way things are defined. Where are our ethics? Regulation is a good thing. Regulation protects people and makes business operate fairly. It won’t kill business as is always trotted out as a false belief system. The working poor are vilified for their lack of wealth and it is often declared that they too could succeed if they work hard. Such a hard edged myth. Perhaps, conservatives are afraid of creativity and working hard and this is why they don’t want a level playing field with regulations that would require creative solutions. Why as a people should we continue to hand the corporate giants and their almost godlike CEO’s the power to rape the world of resources and concentrate wealth into the hands of a few? Why should our people only be measured by their wealth, what they consume, or the manhours they work? Why should we make the assumption that an orchestra is producing a “product” and if the product isn’t wildly supported it should be asset stripped?
The religion of now is economics. Ayn Rand was the prophet and the Chicago School of Economics has reduced everyone. When will we retrieve our humanity? Government is by the people and for the people. Government should take care of people. How will we define ourselves?
Artists, writers, dancers, musicians, actors– all the people engaged in the creative fields, work. We work hard. We are passionate about what we do. We lift the minds of others above the anthill drama of the day to day. We make it possible for others to have choices, to experience, to feel, and to dream. We broaden the scope of and enrich individual lives.
What choice as a society should we make? To support the creative endeavors and choose to reinforce that which opens minds and hearts and takes us beyond merely being workers?
Or… should we limit the vision of how we see ourselves.