“Art is the reflection that the human soul sends back, dazzled by the splendor of the beautiful.”
Hello, young Padawan
Prepare yourself well before reading this post because, of the seven dwarfs, today, I will be Grumpy!
I hear more and more often that there will no longer be any David Gilmour, Slash, Eric Clapton, Van Halen, or any Cliff Burton, Lemmy Kilmister, Geezer Butler, or Duff McKagan in the future. I hear more and more often that people of generations Y and Z no longer know how to learn art, culture and do not have the patience for it anymore. But why? What makes us say that talent is dead, that the spark of artistic genius of humanity is forever extinguished?
To answer this question to which I have a little idea (even twenty, ed), not to be too long and especially not to go in all directions, we will focus here on one essential element: time. The time of our era and what we do with it, … or not.
The modest point of view of a “Xers” (generation X) on the art of 2020.
The myth of the gift
First, let’s be honest: genius does not happen overnight. Nobody got up in the morning being a genius. Indeed, it takes several thousand awakenings for this, sometimes a few shortened nights.
If you imagine that Mozart started playing to perfection the first time he sat behind a harpsichord, you are mistaken. He was a prodigy child, certainly, but there are thousands and thousands of hours of work with his musician father behind the phenomenon. The boy was a Jackson five from another era.
You can’t improvise yourself as an opera singer performing Figaro without false notes after two weeks of lessons in a theater of 2000 people. Or at the microphone and with a shitty voice, lol. If finally, you believed (would you have believed it? Ed) that Slash could play some guitar solos after three days of practice, how to tell you, you’re fooling yourself, to stay polite.
The gift is one thing, but work, perseverance, commitment, repetition, patience, passion, and pugnacity are others. Mastering, to use this example again, the art of playing a musical instrument takes years and sometimes, ten years.
In another century, where we had to send pigeons to transmit our messages to friends, we had the notion of time. You just had to walk in a forest to realize that the beauty of a hundred-year-old oak had not been made in a day. Indeed, a hundred years earlier, this beautiful tree, so majestic, was only an acorn.
The hell of modernity
We live in a phenomenal era. Phenomenally amazing in terms of technology, but phenomenally terrible for everything related art and creation.
Today everything is done at lightning speed; our whole life is calibrated on the snapshot. The Internet is a fantastic medium, because we have access to billions of sources of knowledge and information, even if we have to sort it out (well, this does not change our historical media, ed). All these technological facilities are supposed to save us time, but we have less and less of it. So there is a concern.
Our lives burn out in an instant. We live longer, we have more time than before but we do less things, at least fewer things for ourselves. When do we take the time to learn, to cultivate ourselves? Do we still have the patience for it?
General or artistic culture has become rarer because it requires much more investment than playing candy crush. It takes time, persistence, and passion to learn to play a musical instrument, to master the art of poetry, drawing, sculpture … Roma was not made in one day, and technologies make us impatient for everything.
We are now lost in the needed time for learning things, like a cuckoo clock that has only one “coo”. But we are neither software, nor robots, and this necessary time to learn seems today humanly impossible to invest for many of us, as we are used to having, immediately.
Metanoia, if you want to.
Entertainment. I am not against this word. What I dislike is what we do with it today. A few centuries back, even hobbies required commitment: embroidery, knitting, reading, stamp collection, board games, painting … so the chasm between leisure and culture was not so big, and often, a hobby was a culture. Nowadays, we have idiots in reality shows, repetitive games on smartphones, we scroll through pages of social networks for hours. We are as hypnotized, watching what we call “entertainment.”
Are our days so lacking in meaning and beauty, that we have the frantic need to regress in the evening in front of abysmally empty content? Yes of course.
Our lives are emotionally very difficult when several generations back, they were physically difficult. Today it is no longer the bodies that are tortured, but the spirits.
So one has to go into hypnosis in front of this nonsense to reduce the pain of the mind, to forget the enslavement of everyday life, or at least to try to forget it.
(Note: I am of course talking about the countries that are equipped to be able to read this blog, since the other half of the globe lives “as before” for us, in the pain of the body. It goes without saying, so I say it anyway).
Our perception is what needs to change. Let’s reverse our thinking and open our eyes to the precious time that all these technologies waste for nothing. How much time gone, scrolling through the feed of this or that social network, watching the lives of others.
It is time for the caterpillar to realize that it is a butterfly. What if we bet to make our personal lives so wonderful and rich that the society could no longer reach us emotionally?
Did you know that our days are identical to those of Beethoven? Yep. Twenty-four hours in both camps. And we have the technology in addition, meaning that technically, we have an advantage. At the time, there was no washing machine, GPS or microwave. This means that you can play the organ as well as him since you no longer even have to wash your panties by yourself. But please put earplugs on to play, huh. “What ?!!!” No nothing.
We have a choice: half an hour on Twitter or half an hour practice on the guitar. For me, the choice is up to the music. Metanoia (note: in the philosophical sense, of course).
Yes to technologies as a tool, meaning those that save us time, knowledge, but for those which stupefy us, enslave us and make us gray and sad, without talent, without passion, without knowledge, it is a no. If we all decide together that social media should be an exchange of knowledge and art rather than nonsense, waste of time and free wickedness (and, if it is free, you are the product, ed) we can raise ourselves intellectually, artistically, discover new inspirations and watch the appearance of new geniuses.
Let’s take back the power over our own time, let’s put down our phones, and open books, garden, listen to music, take a guitar or learn the piano. We are no less able and talented than previous generations, we are just less patient because we are being robbed of our precious time by social networks and other modern media.
Our eyes can no longer see, so let us guide them towards the path of art, the path of beauty, of interest, of passion. To find your passion, it’s very simple: Try everything that comes your way. Starting with the areas that attract your attention, what you like to do because you can only invest your time in what you are going to have the patience for. Indeed, a talent, as we saw above, is above all an ability that we develop. And to develop it, you just have to take the time.
Whether you enjoy swimming, skiing, sewing, jams, knitting, mechanics, DIY, music, or growing strawberries, you know what you have to do: develop your talent. Your brain, your well-being, your happiness, and humanity will return it to you a hundredfold!
Passionately yours. 🎸