Making things is not only the most natural way for me to engage with the world, but it’s also the most useful way for me to cope with the heartbreak of the world.
Because no matter how utterly incomprehensible and overwhelming the reality of life gets, art is still the most satisfying way for me to be at peace with the madness.
Rollins famously said that music is what makes life possible for him. He accesses most things he does via music. People are great, but they can be problematic and have a lot of needs. Music is the best possible deal.
Hundreds of thousands of hours of it sit patiently, waiting for him to engage. He can’t think of anything that delivers more consistently.
This is perhaps my favorite argument for art. Using our hands and minds to make something exist that did not exist before, it’s a rare experience that serves a much larger function that simply identifying and expressing ourselves.
It’s a way to get through time.
Evolutionary biologists would refer to this as adaptive value, which is the utility of a behavioral trait that can help an organism cope with its surrounding conditions and survive in its environment.
Some plants release volatile chemicals to protect themselves against herbivores. Some animals camouflage their skin to hide from predators.
Artists do the same thing. But instead of spraying gas or changing colors, we make art. That’s what saves us when the world tries to eat us alive. Whatever it throws at us, creating is the way through, and creating is the way out.
Creating is the support system for our life. When the world tries to obliterate us with a maelstrom of doubts and anxieties and travesties, our creative instrument becomes the undiscovered and infinite country we travel to and make it all okay.
And even if our art changes nothing in the world and reaches nobody who lives in it, nobody can take away what it did for us.
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