This is a subject I had planned to blog about some time ago. But it wasn’t until I recently received an annual newsletter from a dear artist friend that writing about how “art will save the world” was brought again to the forefront.
That’s because coincidentally (or not—as I happen to believe in complete synchronicity) he remarked in his newsletter that he’s a firm believer in the phrase attributed to the 19th century Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky that “beauty will save the world.” This phrase comes from Dostoyevsky’s novel The Idiot, in a part where one character expresses his assumption that the main character, Prince Myshkin, playfully declared “beauty would save the world” simply because he was “in love.” The details of the story aren’t as important as the fact that Dostoyevsky inserted the idea in this novel, most likely due to his own belief in it. As an artist who viewed beauty and truth as a part of spiritual mystery, this declaration is quite prophetic.
For my artist friend, who is inspired by the beauty of the natural world so much that woodlands, lakes and mountains are the subjects of most of his watercolors, I can see an obvious correlation between his passion to paint our magnificent planet, and the idea that honoring his passion and delivering that beauty to his audience can be a powerful influence.
But my thoughts go deeper, in that I believe the power of all creative pursuits (art, music, writing, theater, etc.) can change the world profoundly and undo all the damage that our overly mental society has created. Let’s consider this from the perspective of an adult in a company that values innovation.
Invention is Key to Our Future
In a letter to the company’s shareowners, Amazon.com’s CEO Jeff Bezos once remarked: “Many of the problems we face have no textbook solutions, and so we—happily—invent new approaches.”
This kind of invention is important more than it ever has been, and this world will be in further peril if we do not encourage more invention as we raise our children. Today, the emphasis on testing—and standardized tests—permeates school curriculums, so much so that some schools teach just to meet test scores. The children suffer as their ability to solve problems (individually and in teams) in imaginative, chaotic, less rote ways, is diminished when art, music, and other creative programs are removed from budgets.
The consequence is that our society is turning out students who learn only to be obedient to a system and who don’t necessarily feel powerful and confident enough to challenge ideas and establishments. How can they be creative in their future jobs and life endeavors when they haven’t learned to view tasks and problems from various angles, knowing there can be more than one outcome, and that solutions are often achieved through deliberate as well as unintended collaboration?
Suppressing our children’s imaginations from an early age has lifelong consequences, because once that spark is snuffed out, it may take decades before they reach a point of rediscovery. Passion disappears the more a person adopts patterns and routines, year after year.
This world needs saving now—and our youth are poised to be shaped into leaders who can turn this around! We must turn our overly-managed curriculums into balanced agendas that include the arts and music, theater and dance, and any other programs—even scientific programs—that encourage uninhibited experimentation and invention. Children need to explore their senses and experience joyful action—well past their first 7 years after birth.
What we’re doing is exercising our students’ brains, in a way that only allows them to perform actions from and store information in this “machine” that runs the body. You cannot create with your brain; you only bring forth from the brain the data that is put into it. True creation (creativity) comes from the inner spirit of a being, which the mind is only aware of relative to the state of a person’s consciousness.
The Importance of 'What if?' and 'How come?'
We don’t want to populate society with “mental” beings, we need “creative” beings who aren’t afraid to take risks and mess up (i.e. fail, fail, fail) until the perfect solutions are achieved. Children need to be encouraged to get out of their brains and ask “What if?” and “How come?” and “Why not?!”
When a society can embrace its artistic nature, it is completely liberated from the rules and regulations that keep it on a mental plane where joy and freedom is suppressed. Mental processes cut off creativity. Artistic pursuits contain the power to bring forth true creative, transformative energies that heighten the world consciousness—bringing it closer to love, closer to true peace, closer to that Divine spark in all of us that is the knowingness that we are all connected to each other.
That is why art will save the world.
This article Copyright © Cheryl E. Kraynak