A commonality in thinking amongst individuals who aren’t in creative fields almost (always) goes as follows: ‘So, what’s the backup plan?’ No one ever asks a teacher, an engineer, a doctor if they’ve got ‘something else to fall back on’. Its presumed that a teacher will teach, an engineer will build and a doctor will help heal. But, why are artists, writers, actors and everyone else pursuing lives in the arts less likely to do what they went to school for? As a society, we view the pursuits of artists as ‘eccentric’; some of us may even say that its a waste of time. What society fails to realize though, is that an artist is the totality of the of the understanding of human conditioning. We realize the importance of creativity to the advancement of our world. And, in the end, no matter what subject you study in school, be it science, math, physics, business, etcetera, ideas fuel the fire towards evolution. And, who better to inspire us than the artist, the philosopher, the dreamer? To take a quote from Dead Poets Society
‘…medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for’.
Artists hold a mirror up to everything overlooked. We remind man that life should set our souls ablaze; our pulses surging, quick as the beat of a hummingbird’s heart. Ask someone what their favorite part of plate tectonics is. Then ask them to recall their favorite book or record. Only then will you truly comprehend the meaning of existence.
What good is the teacher if they cannot understand the impact their teachings have on the lives of their students? What good is the doctor if he has no sense of empathy for his patients? It is the scientist that asks us worship truth and fact but the poet that tells us there is more to life than that. “Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history” Plato once said. And it is a crime against human nature to put our artists down; to tell our painters ‘good luck with that profession’ and our actors that they’ll inevitably spend more time waitressing than on the stage, where they belong. Creatives are the driving force behind that narrative that is life. Without our sensitive souls we might as well be extinct. An education that fosters independent thinking teaches us to admire what is idiosyncratic. Artists are the minds that revolutionize how we think, live and feel (Steve Jobs anyone? He was an artist in his own right even if he wasn’t painting pictures or carving marble sculptures). They demand, and deserve, respect. Once and for all.