Coltrane Vs. Vonnegut III Dept.


This is part three (see parts one and two) of an ongoing talk into the social utility of art.

The line I've been developing so far goes like this: Good art (including good entertainment) gives people the freedom to be things they either only imagined they could be, or never even dreamed about being in the first place. But that also gives people the freedom to be jerks, so it has to be used carefully.

Hence this whole business I come back to time and again about how you want to pay attention to what you're saying with your creations, whether you realize you're saying them or not. You don't want to take away with one aesthetic hand all that you give with another.

All creative work is art whether or not we like it to be, and so your art, whatever it is, has the potential to liberate someone, somewhere. Keep an eye towards that liberation being positive for everyone concerned, though. Make sure the rising tide really does lift all boats, and not just the ones in our harbor or that are painted a color you like.

That said, don't beat yourself up if someone takes your work "the wrong way". I remember once how Christian Vander (of the band Magma) once said that he wanted to create something as pure and direct as the sun. "You can't misinterpret the sun," he said. But we did exactly that for most of the lifetime of the human race, by thinking the sun was a giant glowing hot stone a couple of hundred miles away or some such nonsense. To exist is to be misunderstood. But that doesn't mean you have no obligation to make your case as properly as possible.


Tags: art creativity psychology




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