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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:31 pm 
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I am taking up this thread away from FB because a) FB sucks; b) they have instant ownership of whatever I write there. c) FB sucks

(NB: Thomas Anderson is my FB handle)

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What’s been educational about this thread is seeing how long it has taken me to recognize how ignorant Keith’s opening statement is. Ignorant in the literal sense, as in totally ignoring—oblivious to—the question of how an artist is supposed to survive materially if his or her work is ignored. Ditto with some of the subsequent comments, which ignore the fundamental difference between a school teacher (or computer programmer) and an artist, namely, that a school teacher gets paid to teach, which means that being ignored has little or no bearing on his or her livelihood.

At base of this, alongside the whole cult of the artist thing (the idea that artists are somehow special, different from the rest of us), is the equally widely-held belief that making art is not a legitimate way to earn a living (art is essentially useless). I think this belief goes hand in hand with the ever more popular belief that art is something “anyone” can do, because except for those special few whom we venerate, it’s really more of a hobby than work.

Hence statements like Keith’s can be received as if they were meaningful statements—because they are based on faulty assumptions that run so deep in our society. But the statement is only meaningful if the reality of an artist’s plight is ignored in place of a culturally-created romantic dream about what being an artist is like. (Ask Van Gogh about being ignored—or perhaps better yet, ask his brother, who managed his finances.)

An artist in our current society is only seen as legitimate once he has made a name for himself. Before that he or she is just a dabbler, even a slacker, mooch, or parasite (that’s certainly how I feel sometimes, especially when I try and raise money via donations to continue being an artist). If an artist has made a name, that almost invariably means they are making a living by making art. (If we are talking about an artist then we have heard of them, and if we have heard of them, they are probably successful, materially speaking.)

A “true artist” in society’s eyes is either dead (Van Gogh) and has been incorporated into the corporate body (cult) of art post-mortem; or they are at least semi-famous, and therefore financially stable. A school teacher can put himself forward as an artist because “teaching is an art”—but what’s being left out is that he is getting paid for it, not because he’s an artist but because he’s a teacher. For me to say to Keith, “You’re not an artist—I am,” is invariably going to sound like ego (and there’s certainly ego there). Yet if he were to say to me, “You’re not a teacher, I am,” I would accept it, without any difficulty at all, as a statement of fact.

Yet my telling Keith that I am an artist and he is not is also a statement of fact, at least if we allow that being an artist is a life decision, a dedication to a craft, just as teaching or plumbing is, and not merely a style or a form of passionate engagement (by which lazy definition anything can be an art). Because of the idea that being an artist is somehow special or superior, it’s impolite, and even invalidating, to declare oneself an artist.

Leonard Cohen said poetry isn’t an occupation but a verdict; but since the verdict was that Cohen was a poet, it became for him an occupation. But before that, he had to get over the obstacle of being ignored—and the agony of knowing that he was a poet even if no verdict was forthcoming. Keith’s point (I think) is that this could only have happened if Cohen had ignored the agony of being ignored and focused on the “transmission,” the poetry. My point is that, OK, this is somewhat true: but if he had ignored the feeling of hunger in his belly, and the base reality that to create he had also to earn money to eat, he might not have lived long enough for us to reach any verdict about his poetry. Like Llewyn Davies in the movie, he would be one of numberless hordes of great artists that we never got to hear of, because eventually he gave up trying to get recognized and did what society told him to do: shut up and get a job. (The flip-side of which is Keith’s dismissal, stop complaining and get back to “being an artist.”)

It took me half a day to figure out why Keith’s statement made me so angry. In fact, it was more a question of recognize how angry it made me and then figuring out why. This illusion goes so deep that, even after twenty years as a struggling artist trying to be recognized (or especially after that, after half a lifetime of “failure”), it is still hard for me to feel legitimate as an artist, and to speak up for myself when that calling is being misrepresented.

I do think that being an artist makes me somehow better than a school teacher, in my not very secret heart of hearts, but I’m not proud of that thought and I recognize it’s just part of the bullshit I was conditioned with, and also, ironically, part of what drove me to be an artist to begin with—thinking it would increase my status—ha!

In my heart of hearts, I also think that being a school teacher might be really a better way to serve others and even satisfy my own soul. But we don’t get to choose these things.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 6:14 am 
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Keith and Jasun's chat made for uncomfortable reading. I did about 15 years as an artist (musician). Now 2 years into being a teacher (Yoga).

While removing the pressure of needing to find a way to make it pay has freed up my music playing (feels more like real play now).

I enjoy the honesty that I can put into Yoga teaching- I feel I have found a way to earn money fairly and I can speak openly in class without lying (stark contrast to some of the ways I earned money to pay the bills as a musician). This appears to be 'useful time' to others. And feels something like artful teaching. Which seems to be the blend Keith/Jasun are experimenting with (Perhaps someone like David Whyte does well).

This is all the 'there is no line' bit of the answer to the question 'where is the line between teaching and an artist presenting their work?'

The 'line' bit feels like this:

I have intermittent problems with schedule, and my own body, the feeling that to make a decent living (pay my share of the house running/food/transport costs) I have to do more Yoga/speaking than my energy levels can tolerate- I have also experienced back pain, which feels hypocritical, while I am informed it is common for Yoga teachers to work in pain (backed up by the amount of cover work I get).

So I am contemplating; is this my artistic enquiry, to see if I can manage my energy and make this work in an honest way- or is this me 'selling out'?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:20 pm 
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Meanwhile, back at FB:

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You would think that, wouldn't you! (One, I mean) It probably had to do with Kael being retired & ill by then and so she didn't do what she did for her other acolytes, take an active role in getting me positioned. (& to be honest, I am glad that didn't happen, else I might have ended up another of her Paulettes.) Here's the thing about Kubrick: I don't think he got to be seen as a genius because people thought that about him and the idea just naturally spread: I think it was deliberately orchestrated by the gatekeepers who decide who the culture-makers get to be. I think this is true with all established talents (Van Gogh is only Van Gogh because it suited business interests to make his art valuable), which is what I loved about Inside Llewyn Davies, how it kind of showed that in a very subtle way (tho of course it was made by the Coen bros, who are as established as it gets).

Artists only get established when there's money to be made off them, obviously, but more subtly and covertly, I think they have to be sufficiently controllable to be kept "on message", to keep injecting the culture with new "values" that will make it appear the culture is changing and evolving, but without the base values on which the culture depends being actually subverted. Some may say this is an overly cynical/paranoid view, and I admit there have to be some sort of exceptions to the rule, insofar as there's an implicate order running the show & not just a Plutocratic elite. But as the saying goes, the exceptions also prove the rule....

This is so long I am going to want to put it at my forum, otherwise it belongs to the FB elite. :evil:

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 5:36 am 
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Jasun wrote:
At base of this, alongside the whole cult of the artist thing (the idea that artists are somehow special, different from the rest of us), is the equally widely-held belief that making art is not a legitimate way to earn a living (art is essentially useless). I think this belief goes hand in hand with the ever more popular belief that art is something “anyone” can do, because except for those special few whom we venerate, it’s really more of a hobby than work.


I don't think that people think art is useless, that might be what people say but I don't think it is what we actually believe. I think the reason is tied into the misery of human beings in this insane western culture. People do not consider art to be a legitimate means to earn a living because we believe that to earn money you must do something unpleasant. You cannot do something that brings you enjoyment or fulfillment AND make money from it. Your job must be tedious, dull, difficult. Earning a living is an exchange - the person relinquishes his freedom and happiness and in exchange he receives money. So then, why should an artist receive both his freedom AND his money? He is giving nothing to anyone, he is only taking.

I am only writing the unspoken emotions of western culture here, not my own opinions.

Why, then, do some artists succeed? The loophole is that if I bring *another* person enjoyment, then that person will be ok with me making a living as an artist. So in this society I must be a clever sort of businessman as well as an artist to either find or persuade people that they want what I enjoy providing. In almost every single instance this will involve inner compromise of some sort, basically just a smaller deal with the devil than the deal others are making. Those who refuse to compromise will inevitably find themselves eternally struggling.

Money exists to break the human spirit, that is its function as I see it.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 11:50 am 
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Hi Brandon

Quote:
Money exists to break the human spirit, that is its function as I see it.

Is it a cause or is it a symptom of an already broken spirit?

I was thinking this morning that the pathology of numbers, trying to get as many "hits," followers, likes, as I can get, how I rationalize that by telling myself that I need numbers to generate an income, but what if it's the reverse, that wanting an income is really less to do with needing to survive than wanting the validation of those numbers?

How much money we can make validates our worth.

Could this distortion have come about if we weren't already losing all inner sense of value? (not values, please note, but value as in knowing, connecting to, true value, or just simply, truth)

maybe the value of "art" is that if it gives us a (seemingly) pure kind of enjoyment, that gives us a momentary connection to inner value, namely, that within us that purely enjoys (like being a kid again)?

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 6:00 am 
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Jasun wrote:
Hi Brandon

Quote:
Money exists to break the human spirit, that is its function as I see it.

Is it a cause or is it a symptom of an already broken spirit?


Great question, that is one thing that I like about you: you don't take the common road to a destination :)

My instinct is to say both, like an electricity generator attached to a windmill, exploiting and encouraging existing circumstances.

Jasun wrote:
I was thinking this morning that the pathology of numbers, trying to get as many "hits," followers, likes, as I can get, how I rationalize that by telling myself that I need numbers to generate an income, but what if it's the reverse, that wanting an income is really less to do with needing to survive than wanting the validation of those numbers?

How much money we can make validates our worth.

Could this distortion have come about if we weren't already losing all inner sense of value? (not values, please note, but value as in knowing, connecting to, true value, or just simply, truth)

maybe the value of "art" is that if it gives us a (seemingly) pure kind of enjoyment, that gives us a momentary connection to inner value, namely, that within us that purely enjoys (like being a kid again)?


Yes I feel that is the case, I think art is a form of direct communication to the body, which is the essential "self" in this reality or simulation, or whatever. Words are a sort of degradation or bastardization of direct body communication, whatever that means, art approximates this communication much more closely than language.

I don't feel that the concept of basing our worth on money is a natural progression, it seems to me artificially imposed.

There was a basic circumstance, something that one might acknowledge to be less than ideal, but the circumstance was fluid and in the process of progression.

However, an external force was introduced which kept the "negative" circumstance in stasis - this new situation was of benefit to the agent inducing the force and detrimental to those whose circumstance was being kept in stasis.

That is the impression. Though I think there is an even bigger picture from a larger perspective which I can only guess at.

Getting way too abstract here, sorry about that, language is poor and sometimes there are no words.

I see the human spirit as freedom, happiness, creativity. Money destroys all these things. That is one circumstance that we find ourselves in, to thrive materially in this place one must sacrifice some piece of his essential self.

On the other hand, perhaps the sacrifice itself is an artifice, if one is aware of it? I don't know.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 10:24 am 
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Indrid Cold wrote:
I don't feel that the concept of basing our worth on money is a natural progression, it seems to me artificially imposed.

I don't disagree, except that the word "imposed' suggest an external force, and the word artificial likewise, something separate from Nature. So I guess semantically speaking I do disagree, just not emotionally. At least I feel that something went horribly wrong and the proof is all around us.

But I wonder if the desire to label it as an imposition (something outside of consciousness) and artificial is itself a symptom of fragmentation and denial?

Quote:
this new situation was of benefit to the agent inducing the force and detrimental to those whose circumstance was being kept in stasis.

Sounds like bad parenting!

Quote:
That is the impression. Though I think there is an even bigger picture from a larger perspective which I can only guess at.

Or a smaller one?

Quote:
Getting way too abstract here, sorry about that, language is poor and sometimes there are no words.

Less abstract would be, for me, that I experienced my father's money as an imposition and also as something artificial, ie, not a organic expression of paternal love but a cold, empty imitation of it.

The money even kept me in stasis ~ getting rid of it was a necessary way for me to break free of a certain kind of inertia.

Quote:
to thrive materially in this place one must sacrifice some piece of his essential self.

If so, perhaps the "artist" (free/child spirit expressing for joy of it) who refuses to make this sacrifice is unconsciously resented and distrusted by those who already have made the sacrifice, and punished for it, with failure?

Just as parents tend to force their kids to make the same sacrifice they made, and judge/reject/punish them if they don't?

In both cases it is "for their own good" (the child/artist) because until they/we learn to kill that authentic part, we will suffer from the isolation of not being able to join the "tribe." X<?/

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:49 pm 
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Jasun wrote:
[]
Quote:
to thrive materially in this place one must sacrifice some piece of his essential self.

If so, perhaps the "artist" (free/child spirit expressing for joy of it) who refuses to make this sacrifice is unconsciously resented and distrusted by those who already have made the sacrifice, and punished for it, with failure?

Just as parents tend to force their kids to make the same sacrifice they made, and judge/reject/punish them if they don't?

In both cases it is "for their own good" (the child/artist) because until they/we learn to kill that authentic part, we will suffer from the isolation of not being able to join the "tribe." X<?/


I think so.. I know some parents are actually jealous of their children and don't want them to have a better life than they did..

cf: "Crowds and Power" by Elias Cannetti

Cannetti analyzes "psychopathic" despots and how they desire to kill their own children , since they don't want the children to out - live them - and how these despots desire to be "the last man standing"

Bizarre.

Attachment:
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kalika11865.jpg [ 17.42 KiB | Viewed 2807 times ]

Black Mother Goddess ~standing on Demon / Ignorance - who looks here like a Cherub.


Last edited by liberty on Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:11 pm 
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liberty wrote:

I have that book by my bed right now.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:23 pm 
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Is Keith from the States by any chance?


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