we are all artists.

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  • colin_s

    This is a personal philosophy / concept of human nature, would be down to kick around as a debate / hear what y'all think.

    The phrase artist is one that most people I know who are 'artists' are a bit reluctant to adopt. The modern terminology is usually applied to historic figures who excelled at a medium of expression. Consequently, at least in America under what I've experienced, those who don't offer a talent subset that equates to those ideas would be laughed at were they to say "I am an artist."

    But I don't think that's the truth.

    My thesis is that all humans are capable of excellence in at least one specific area. That, given the opportunity and exposure, all people can contribute in a way to their community-as well as society at large-in a way that is substantially meaningful.

    Use of those who excel in general, non-artistic culture can be used as strong examples. Michael Jordan is an artist when it comes to basketball. Tesla was an artist with electricity. Donald Trump is an artist when it comes to grifters.

    My point is that, were society ever to grow to a place where people would be free to explore their nature as opposed to being locked into the options presented by a primarily oppressive power structure, many more individuals would have a chance to not only feel fulfilled by their own lives but that fulfillment would lead to a better, greater humanity.

    It could be cooking, coding, parenthood, social outreach, flying, gardening, building, city planning, international diplomacy, translation, history ... even law and its protections (there might even be a good cop out there). We already have these notions in terms of awarding greatness in fields of professions, and broader awards for contributions to the world like the MacAruthur and Nobel prizes ... but as the idea of art is generally considered undefinable, what if that is to say that is because it can potentially apply to everyone, and everything? And that our goals as humans working together should be to figure out how to promote and help one another in exploring and attaining our true potential?

  • helloeatbreathedrive2

    All in all, great stuff man. I'm personally doing almost all I can before I kick it, and more. That's whats pushing me everyday. I'm sure its the same for all friends and creators here. Best of luck :)

  • robotron3k0

    Sorry but you are not talking about art at all. Not one bit. You're actually talking about ambition. Ambition is missing link to being a creator, and while everyone may have one skill they are great at, very few will have the ambition of an MJ, Tesla or a Trump to pursue to the max. Because ambition is random, sporadic and does not strike everyone. Sometimes rich, smart people get it, sometimes poor dumb people get it. But not everyone has it. Ambition is everything.

    • the american economic system only applauds ambition if it can benefit from the results. discovery and creation are not necessarily aligned with thatcolin_s
    • opportunity is often gifted or inherited - ambition is a factor but the market often defines what people are allowed the chance to see their work throughcolin_s
    • and if you believe the market is fair and truly free than this debate is over because we will not be able to see eye to eye on the sidescolin_s
    • Colin_s you are mistakenly equating ambition with what the market will bear..cannonball1978
    • I'm not talking about market ambition, wtf? I'm talking about get off your ass and do something creative type of ambition. Art is the by product.robotron3k
    • robo i was referring to that most people, because of systems out of their control, are not granted the opportunity to explore ambition, regardlesscolin_s
    • and that perhaps it is the fault of those systems, and with a different concept of society every individual would be afforded such a chance to excelcolin_s
    • and that exploration of the personal and immediate would benefit society at large - whereas our state of affairs largely depends on specific benefactorscolin_s
  • notype4

    this should be FP and should have 100+ upvotes

    "And that our goals as humans working together should be to figure out how to promote and help one another in exploring and attaining our true potential? "

    Profound reminder.

    • Profound reminder that no matter how technological advance we get, we will never be like that.Maaku
    • Why should we be like that? While these are nice goals for someone, not everyone shares these values, nor should they have to.cannonball1978
    • Basically, stop telling me to be a fucking collectivist.cannonball1978
  • nb3

    You'll always have cynics who say "we will never be like that" and you'll have optimists who say "some day we'll get there". The cynics are technically correct, but it doesn't really matter because the point isn't to achieve perfection.

    The point is to find peace and purpose in the journey towards it.

  • nb1

    What I'm saying is that Yoda was wrong.

    There is no do or do not. There is only try.

  • PhanLo8

  • cannonball19784

    We all have the inbuilt capacity to be artists, but no, we are not all artists. We are only artists if we are excelling at the art of something, which few of us can do.

    • I guess he means we are all potentially artistsset
  • deadsperm2

    Although I salute the good intentions behind this. I have to ask:
    What about those of us that don't wish to excel in any activity?
    I get obsessed with a topic for about 2 or 3 years and explore that until I find a new interest. I have two unrelated professional activities from which I make a measly living. I'm currently thinking of changing that all together although I don't fell any pressure to do so.I never felt like I had any pressing material or intellectual needs.
    I'm living the life!

    • You're still making those things your art, your expression, if only for a few years. I'm very similar.set
  • set8

    Completely agree colin_s.

    I often fantasise of a world in which humanity has finally grown up and finally works together as a whole. Technology takes care of all the menial jobs that nobody wants to do, while people are left with time and freedom to pursue their passions, their arts, whatever it may be. Nature seems to find a way, when in alignment, and I always romanticised the thought that if everyone truly followed their passion, somehow it would work out and all necessary forms of jobs, nurses, teachers, scientists, cooks, whatever, would be covered by people who are truly passionate about it, and want to do it for no other reason.

    There is such a wealth of individuality and uniqueness within the human species that I honestly believe we could live like that, one day. No money, no business, no tax, no us and them, just all resources shared equally for every person. We need to grow up first though, we've evolved from tribe mentality and have been further manipulated in to capitalism and us vs them mentality, but I think there's at least hope of evolving past that. I guess we need to get to a point where nobody wants any more than any one else, but rather wants to move forward and benefit together as a species.

    It's romantic and fanciful and we're a fucking way away, but you never know :)

    • I just shared this with my best mate. Bizarre as we were chatting about something so related to this on google chat as I saw this. He loved it (as do I).fadein11
    • This is almost too positive Set. Good stuff.PhanLo
    • just saw Cory Doctorow on the w/e, great talk... one take away was "it will all be so great, if we don't screw it up..."jpgjpg
    • Thanks Set, maybe the next big opportunity will be in guiding people who were "automated-off" to identify what their passions are.martinadolfsson
    • The danger is we could be headed in the opposite direction if we keep destroying the environment. We might be living at the time of peak abundance right now.yuekit
    • Nice, set!maquito
    • +1utopian
  • PeterPancake3

    Creativity, ambition, whatever you want to call it, is a curiously human preoccupation. Funny to compare us to the rest of nature, in that respect - at least as individuals.

    Like, what's the most a shrew can achieve in a lifetime? How much impact can one penguin have on the future of existence?That snail you saw the other day, will s(he) achieve greatness?

    I suppose an individual creature can evolve an adaption and change the course of history that way, but that's unknowing. Excluding the accidental, then, it's only really us privileged, smelly hulks that have the drive to do more than the basic requirements of life. Blessed be.

    • I think all life wants for more. Wants to strive to become better than it is. That's the very nature of evolution. It's just far more apparent with us.set
    • Personally I don't evolution is through freak accidents, I believe life changes itself through its intentions and desires.set
    • Don't believe *set
    • The differential is the scale. A crow will use creativity to dislodge a grub from a tree trunk, but it will never dream of building a cable-stayed bridge.PeterPancake
    • A chimp might have the ambition to lead the troop, but won't ever aim to be the Chief Economist of the IMF.PeterPancake
    • @set: Lamarck would be proud.
      @pp: I don't much doubt your position, but humans are utterly blind to cultures outwith their own locality, never mind species
      Nairn
    • True, most of the time. Regardless our impacts, +ive and -ive are huge compared to non-human nature. You have to wonder where this 'unharmony' will lead us.PeterPancake
  • Morning_star0

    Great art emerges from struggle, tension, violence, tragedy, oppression, death, war, disease, tyranny, uncertainty, confusion, mental unhealthiness, lost love, broken hearts, etc etc.

    The utopian environment this thesis aims to nurture will inevitably lead to an equilibrium of mediocrity. It'll be devoid of exceptional people and exceptional art. I do not want to live, unstimulated, in a 'nice' world like that.

    If you're honest, i don't think you do too.

    • I agree with this.cannonball1978
    • Certainly some. Certainly not all and certainly not the best or most positive kind, in my experience.set
    • I think that "struggle, tension, violence, tragedy, oppression, death, war" etc etc is all a very necessary part of our human experience at this stage in our..set
    • .. evolution, but I also think its logical to evolve away from it.set
    • @Set Could you suggest a couple of examples of 'best' artists that don't commonly use the themes i've highlighted?Morning_star
  • sarahfailin2

    the century of the self is a great adam curtis documentary about how this hyper-individualistic idea of self-fulfillment is an entirely modern invention, and how governments and corporations have come to manipulate a self-centered drive towards consumeristic impulses.

    i like the idea that everyone can be fulfilled and express themselves, but it's also similar to that warhol idea that everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame. we all have our own tumbler/myspace/facebook. we do something sometime that gets the world's attention for 15 minutes or 15 seconds. we're *recognized.*

    humans are not like other animals in this impulse to express or actualize ourselves. in fact, we modern humans are not even like earlier humans, who were not driven by self-expression or self-actualization, but by more communal goals. the word 'self' was hardly in their vocabulary.

    people don't have to all be exceptional at something. we shouldn't think that we should need to find ourselves so in one way or another or else be worthless. even if you ARE, even if you're famous today, and everyone in the world knows your name, in just 1000 years you'll be dead and entirely forgotten about. the ultimate impact of your actions so mixed and diluted with the impacts of others so as to be entirely inextricable, undefined, and indistinguishable from everything else that's happened.

    i'm of the mind that while we draw these little boundaries around 'ourselves' and 'our' actions, that really everything and every action is bound up inextricably with everything else. we're not *doing* so much as we are *happening*

    • The idea that we naturally organize into groups the size of nations, if not towns is more idioticcannonball1978
    • shit i should watch that, hypernormalization is fantastic.colin_s
    • ^ yes!sarahfailin
  • shoes0

  • Nairn0

    This is not relevant to the point or intent of this thread, but if there's one thing I've learnt over the years, it's that the vast majority of people who choose to describe themselves as 'artists' are invariably anything but.

  • Maaku0

    Balance, hierarchy, contrast, anomaly, etc... can be taught. But we also feel. So yes, in a way we can all be designers and/or artists.
    I can also read a cookbook and make a nice dinner, but that doesn't make me a chef.

    • I don't really follow your point. If you take pride, passion, enjoyment and expression from cooking food, then that's art, whether you're a pro chef or not..set
  • Maaku0

    "I guess he means we are all potentially artists"

    More like we can all express ourselves creatively whether we have a degree on it or not :)

  • cherub0

    Nero's dying words were "Qualix pontifex pereo"

    translation: "What an artist dies in me."

    Now, aside from the notion that someone of his stature would be expected to leave the world some clever last words as a testament...

    Why would he say that? Was he qualified as an artist?

    • Correction: "Qualis artifex pereo"cherub
    • yer latin sucks dick broshoes
  • cherub0

    If we were to talk about design, and what qualifies one to be a designer, I think we could agree on some list of qualities that are necessary to be called a designer.

    But as soon as we involve the word art, it's like there is some mystical veil that cannot be penetrated. Like we don't know or can't know what a good artist is, in the same way we know what a good designer is.

    • I think the reason for that is that art is a lot more subjective than design. Design is problem solving. Art is whatever the fuck you want it to be.set
    • We can quantify and measure a problems being solved well or not. Art on the other hand has no purpose other than to be enjoyed, and enjoyment is subjective.set
  • colin_s1

    @cherub and a few others - set was right in saying i probably should have title this "we all could be artists," but i always prefer active, possible language instead of the resignation of could be.

    i understand that people all have different views on this and i love everything said in this thread, regardless of if i agree.

    i think to qualify what I was saying with what other people have said in response - mostly that our social structures are not necessarily set up to allow us to explore ourselves as human beings. that our responsibility to the machinations of society preclude our basic essence as a living organism with the ability to think and reason, and the potential that comes with that.

    i get "artist" is a divisive word, which is specifically why i use it. maybe you don't want to do one thing, but do many and see what the world offers (which, i'll admit, i am in this boat) - but then maybe your art form is discovery, exploration, understanding. maybe you don't want to really do anything for yourself, but rally behind the efforts of your friends and colleagues... maybe your art form is support, understanding, nurturing.

    my point is that i believe all humans have at least one intrinsic aspect to their nature that they both could excel at and find peace within should they be given the opportunity to discover and indulge it. that our world is naturally a facilitator of that possibility but the power structures humanity seems destined to perpetuate would never allow for. and it's too bad, because we see even in this forum what a select few of us are capable of even with all the constraints we face in time, place, finance, and society.

    i'd love to see a world where this happens, even remotely more than it is now. and i think history shows there are pockets in time and place where it does... just generally for the 1%. how much human potential has been lost to the subjugation of others for the whims, ego and greed of a select few is truly tragic.

    • What if your 'art' is rape, torture and murder like Gacey and Bundy? What if your 'art' is scamming and thievery? How much human progression and potential...Morning_star
    • ...has been created through subjugation, prejudice etc ?Morning_star
    • wish mugwart was here to see this.notype
  • renderedred-2

    • lol.. artists do shit all. Leave it up to Engineers and physicistshotroddy
    • who would be nowhere without the dreamers_niko
    • painter/sculptor was the very last thing on davinci's resume. He marketed himself as a military engineerGnash
    • and the dreamers would literally be in the dark without electricity.hotroddy