Horses & Water
“I may make you feel, but I can’t make you think”. Anyone who engages in creative efforts confronts this dilemma: The horse can be led to the well, but refuses to drink. You paint, you sculpt, you compose, you write. The only measure of your success is the number of horses you entice to bend their neck. Art for art’s sake is nonsense. “Oh, I only paint for myself.” “I’m writing this epic novel, but I’ll lock it in a vault and throw away the key.” “I burn all my paintings.” Anyone who puts brush to canvas or a noun before a verb harbours the secret fantasy that someone, somewhere, sometime, will discover it and marvel. Everyone seeks purpose and validation. What is this driving need for purpose? What drives a person to create?
I know you feel, but has it made you think? Thinking?
How far it goes, how fast it runs, this creation? That is the value of its worth. Or does it balk at the gate? “Another day’s useless energy spent.” The things that we invest in a creation, time, talent, vision. When we tithe, we’re asked to offer up a tenth. When we create, we’re offering up 100% of time and maybe talent. But that’s not quite enough without the vision component. That’s what makes thirsty horses drink, what makes the observer think.
This expenditure of energy, time, and talent must create something. The finished product itself cannot stand alone. It must be shared and re-shared, driven by the vision of its creator. It is the vision that is shared. The creation is just a tool, a means of lifting the veil, uncovering the vision. A successful creation is a cooperative affair, a bargain between maker and consumer. The maker must offer something that evokes or provokes, incites or inspires. The audience must be willing to be open to the idea, the vision must be engaged.
Think Picasso’s Guernica. How many souls has it stirred? Michelangelo’s David. How many spirits has it raised? Shakespeare’s sonnets. Tolkien’s Middle Earth, Bach’s Requiem Mass. Where would they be without receptive minds to see and hear?
How sad if the tree falls and there’s nobody to hear.
Then, in the end, we are all “Thick as a Brick”.