Creative Lassitudes and Agony

 

Is it naive to say that I am naive to assume that all people are capable of some sort of art or greater calling and thus by mere probability I should be finding these individuals on every turn of my path? I have become rather curious and now am torn by two sides of a delicate coin that may either label me as an optimist or a sanctimonious pseudo-esthete, for I haven’t been meeting as many of these "doers" as I have liked, and the ones that I have met, have been lackluster in soul at best. Is an impression of deficiency one to be cast, or that of a zeitgeist of sloth? 

Let me clarify to say that I speak not only of artists in the general sense, but also of anyone who aims to serve a higher purpose; entrepreneurs, philanthropists, thinkers, benefactors of loftier virtues etc. 

What can be the cause of this creative lassitude? Why aren’t more people embracing the possible freedom and purpose our current day western society allows? Don’t we have limitless resources the presumed information utopia (the internet) has provided? I believe the flowerbed of creature comforts has stricken more than one person with a malaise of inaction, and in addition, there are overwhelming factors that accumulate to further deter people from following their goals and desires. 

-Rokni Haerizadeh

-Rokni Haerizadeh

Lethargy

Let’s get the most insidious reason out of the way; lethargy. An individual who can’t muster the strength to get up out of bed can’t be expected to create anything of value. Lack of motivation follows lack of creativity follows lack of action with the result being a horse that won’t be led to water. But do we care much for this horse? Likely not. They are an uninspiring triviality without much more to add to this abstract other than to be passively noted. I have met countless legions of this folk and prolonged exposure has caused me to assume their traits. Their torpor is alluring and relaxing and regardless of the benefit of the doubt you may give them, their most successful quality will always stay that of a Sisyphean weight on your shoulders. This mental modality is contagious and one of which to be well aware. 

Agony

Creation takes agony; a viciously misinterpreted word and ubiquitously experienced state. This agony is twofold primarily and infinite secondarily. E.E. Cummings stated that "the agony lies in the fact that we stand no chance of being appreciated". The first obstacle out of the gate is doubt looming over the first inkling of a creative thought, doubt of anyone recognizing and validating one’s ideas. Unless you are of Kierkegaardian or Kanye’en confidence, which can be governed neither by words nor by magic, even the developmental stages of your creativity float in treacherous waters kicking your mental vigor to exhaustion. To be on the receiving end of "I don’t think my ideas are good enough" is that of frail apathy due to tiresome boredom of hearing that helpless anthem for the umpteenth time. But to our own cries we are oblivious! This is because they are feelings and not logical thoughts. We incubate doubt and strangle our children before they can become those darlings we will have to eventually kill. Consider moments of vacillation, as Virginia Woolf put it,  when you consider yourself both "the divinest genius or the greatest fool", to be completely natural.

After the success of conquering this initial vanguard, next the artist is faced with throwing on the vestments of every predecessor; consistency. Ye olde adage "Rome wasn’t built in a day" hails the countless works that stand as the foundation of modern thought and society. All of these achievements took time. They took time because consistency takes time and the terrors of consistency lie in the incurable side-effect of sacrifice: sacrifice of socializing, sacrifice of excessive leisure, sacrifice of vices, sacrifice of even intimate relationships. A weighty exchange, no? Marina Abramović said "great artists result from the sacrifices that you make to your personal life" and this trade-off rests only in the deep love and faith one has for their work. This phrase also grounds and gives hope to those who don’t believe they are of Newtonian capacity of mind because Abramović describes her potential hard-working individual as "great" only because of their sweat equity. 

The infinite agony of the artist is the infinite loop of the two mentioned ingredients. Only belief as a state of being will overcome, or at least allow one to become accustomed to, the constant trials. 

Perhaps my chance interlocutors haven’t yet found their cause. Why should I expect everyone to tolerate this agony of doubt and sacrifice when something worth that suffering isn’t just casually checked out at the library? Who am I to look upon others as lazy or incapable? Have I myself found this cause or am I only starting to realizing how naive it is to assume that every bathtub will have its gin? 

Regardless of the hoops and turns and storms and spurs of inconvenient hardships mourned, when the sun sets down beyond tomorrow only a select few can hope to harbour the immortal rhythm of the sages, and one I esteem particularly says this;

Look into yourself, reader; for you must find Art there, if at all. At this you protest vigorously: but suppose I follow your curious advice, suppose I look into myself and suppose I do not find Art? What then? Do you mean to tell me that I must forever abandon my hope of becoming an Artist? Absolutely! Art is not something which may or may not be acquired, it is something which you are not or which you are.
— E.E. Cummings

 

But I, as you, must remember only one thing - without folly there would be no wisdom. Now I will gather my things and try to figure out what folly I can fathom for the ends of wisdom attained.