Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Just a Thought ... Take It For What It Is

I was talking to a friend briefly yesterday, and we agreed that we as a culture too too freely throw around the word art, equating it with creativity. There is something wrong with this, and deadening to any sort of revolutionary spirit that might still emerge from our political economies or religions. Art is, at the barest of minimums, creating and experiencing the world differently; creativity, on the other hand, is a taking of the world, and one's ways of experiencing the world, and manipulating them to a certain end. Both require imagination, to be sure ... but imaginations of a different sort. One is inherently profitable, the other tragic. The former may well be appreciated for centuries (i.e., Da Vinci's inventions); the other far too easily loses its capacity to reshape the world, and becomes a mere subset of creativity (though I am willing to concede that I might have the order wrong there). And yet, like all great tragedies, the artist cannot help but be a part. Her story is written before she even sits down to tell it. Such is the peculiar predictability of the artistic revelation and the revolution it incites.