The Grit in the Oyster
Yesterday I was watching the mini series based the novel, Childhood’s End by Arthur C Clarke. The storyline concerns a group of aliens of advanced intelligence and their benign invasion of Earth. Their purported aim is to facilitate the next evolutionary leap of the human race. After many years their devil like appearance is revealed, having all and sundry reaching for their Bibles. An early part of their seemingly benevolent influence is to eradicate all forms of suffering, conflict and injustice. Even work and employment are no longer necessary. The world unites under the gleaming banner of a new utopia.
Yet within this new perfect world something gives. And it is our art. All forms of culture and creativity vanish. Art, in all its myriad forms, dies. Without the conflict, the injustices, the suffering, we cease to exist as creators of art. The grit contained in the DNA of society is what produces art, our cultural pearls. Through dissonance and disorder we give birth to beauty and great works of art. It is the stuff that elevates humanity to another level of being, another level of consciousness.
There is only one place left on Earth that remains independent of alien influence and management. One place where the trials and tribulations of life continue and,therefore, art can still flourish. Many people start flocking to this anti-utopian state where they can carry on messing-up through life and play rock music until dawn.
Art is our birthright. It allows us to express our deepest needs and yearnings, it is the mirror to our souls, a pathway to discovering the depths of the human condition. We need art to evolve and raise our level of consciousness. It is not an add-on to life, a mere accessory. Yes, we may be able to live without it, but we cannot thrive as individuals or as societies.
And art can’t exist in a vacuum of perfection. It needs the grit of the oyster, the blood, the sweat and the tears of living. The dysfunction of life. The best art emerges from conflict, dissonance and the pain of growth. Peace and serenity may be something to aspire to, but it doesn’t normally create good art. Try listening to New Age music for too long and you’ll know what I mean.