I Love Artists

I love artists! They see the world differently and help me to look at it in new ways. They create beauty from the ether of imagination. They are unbound by “is” and “was.”

Scientists cultivate deep curiosity, but they cannot venture beyond concrete outcomes and observations. They can believe in what they hold in a test tube, but they cannot believe in anything else.

Artists process reality differently from scientists. Although they both believe in things, artists can begin with dreams. Then they translate dream into forms for us to experience and understand.

Pragmatists protect us from overzealous idealists. They are masters of what is possible. They will give up a portion of what is good in this to gain a piece of good in that. They scar their souls to achieve a goal. They forget childlike notions of black and white. They lose themselves in gray.

I feel that artists suffocate in gray. They aspire. They may suffer rather than settle.

Naturalists relish the beauty in which we dwell, but they cannot transcend the finity of touch and sight, of scent and sound. Their breath catches at the mystic pink of sunset on a mountain’s face. Yet all they can ask is: What combination of synaptic connections creates this feeling of awe? How does this sensation serve the evolutionary process?

Artists reflect awe and inseminate us with hope and yearning that our senses cannot satisfy.

Secularists love deeply and serve their community. Yet there is no Other, no Designer, no Ground on which to stand. In the richness of their relationships, they may glimpse Divinity, but they must use another name. Their world has small boundaries.

Artists do not insist on boxed-in versions of reality. Whatever could be better is worth portrayal. Whatever might be can be told or shown.

Artists can be great guides beyond our small vision—to truth as high as heaven, as beautiful as Eden, and as satisfying as deep rest.

All this to say: I can’t wait to see The Way next weekend. Artists Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen have teamed up in this film to help us look inward. I don’t know if I’ll like their answers, but artists lead us into great questions.

What contemporary art challenges you? Comment!

About Ben Unseth

Executive Director at Project Understanding (2014-2017), social service agency in Ventura, CA
This entry was posted in communication, culture, Ojai Valley, public square, values and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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