Source: Construction Toys
My response to Pooja Ru’s excellent post on the role of the artist:
Pooja, I wanted to respond personally to your post about artists and their role in society, because it touched me deeply. I was struck by the intimacy of your observations, and I don’t want my comments to become some ‘facebook thing’ where people take sides.
I’ve been performing in public for more than 40 years, and my accumulated experience has inevitably led me to one central question:
“What right do I have to ask people to watch?”
Once I’ve dispensed with the ego and the money and all of the outside measures (that you have so eloquently defined in your post), the core work that remains is defining the deeper nature of that bargain.
In your opening sentence, you say that artists have been “charged to remind this world that Beauty still lives and that Love is the reason we’re here”. Although I certainly would never argue this as a motivation, I would ask you to consider a small modification to your proposition. I think every artist; author, musician, actor, dancer, whatever – makes a simpler bargain with their audience, and it is this:
Continue reading “An Artist’s Job”
It has been apparent for several years that the business of music distribution is completely broken.
The following is my email to “A Way With Words” on PBS.
My brother (an avid Public Radio listener), made me aware of
your show and I’m sensing you are exactly the right people to answer the question that arises from the following anecdote:
Many years ago, during my first year in college (’75), I was experimenting with being a
vegetarian. Unfortunately, in those days the result was a dining experience that consisted of american cheese sandwiches on white bread and too many iceberg lettuce salads.
Those of you who know me would probably characterize me as having a ‘scientific’ bent. At Design Science Toys, I spent more than 2 decades attending science conferences – working and talking with scientists in numerous disciplines as we developed toys based on many of their ideas and discoveries. It may come as a surprise to some of you then, when I say that I have no real issue with Astrology.
Though science has always been my avocation, and never my vocation, my associations with scientists taught me a most valuable lesson – a clear distinction must be made between that which is knowable (and provable) and that which can not (presently) be known. Most scientists – after spending a fair piece of their lives making these fine distinctions – would readily agree that the total amount that is truly knowable is very, very small compared to what is unknown. Life abhors a vacuum, and for me (and I believe, for everyone) the gap between what is known and what is unknown is filled by belief.
Reading (and occasionally participating in) the controversies that constantly spring up among Facebook friends on subjects like climate science or evolution (or any of the other debates that ultimately end up framed as ‘right vs. left’) leaves me with that strange and uncomfortable feeling of watching a long married couple argue at a dinner party. Their words don’t directly reflect the actual disagreement – they’ve entered into a private language where the substance of the conflict is buried – lost under layers of subtext and history.
Like a couple caught up in an embarrassing public spat, our differences often seem to fall into well-worn patterns – the words of our debates ride on top of the real arguments rather than connecting to the substance deep underneath.
We try to clean it up, make it tidy, find closure, acquire wisdom, attain peace. We thrash at it, angst over it, worry it to death, think it through, give up on it, rise above it, fall in love with it. Continue reading “So here’s the deal: Life is a perfect mess.”