Aspiring Artists

“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” William Shakespeare


Aspiring Artists

If you ever read about an “ambitious artist”, hold on to your wallet.

The New Yorker magazine has an article this week called The Art of Decision Making, you can read it online. In the magazine the title is Choose Wisely. This article was written by Joshua Rathman.

Again, thanks goes to my brother for paying for my New Yorker subscription.

Following the article through it’s path, we see explanations of how decisions are made. From experts to the military and finally to the philosophers, there are some fine and dandy twists and turns that you will enjoy while reading it.

What made me sit up and take notice enough to respond here at the Profound Bartender is the conversation about Ambition and Aspiration. For example, you can be ambitious and design a path to a college degree but how can you aspire to “be educated” when you don’t know what that is until you get there?

“Being a well-meaning phony is key to our self-transformations.”

This statement rings true in the aspiration of being an artist. I’ve called it a paradox instead of saying well-meaning phony. You don’t know what it is to be an Artist but you can’t get there without starting.

Scoffing at students who declare themselves choreographers after one class isn’t fair even though they do have years and hours in the studio and stage before they will ever understand what it is to be a choreographer.

This article on Aspiration talks about how we don’t know what we will discover along the way and (in a way) the dangers of pre-defining what is will be like. Mr. Rathman’s example is parenting, you can never know what it is to be a parent until you are one.

The more read about the different paths and goals, the “to bes”, to be educated, to be a parent, to be an artist, to be enlightened; our aspirations, the more it seems like they are all the same experiences. The sudden understandings and a-has are what we would call artistic breakthroughs.

The foundation has to be honesty. That is the through-line of all paths of aspiration.

To nail it down harder; you can cheat and lie, or not, when you are ambitious and get where you want. If you have aspirations to be anything, honesty is the only way to do it.

I wonder if we can then add true to our definitions? Is he a true artist or a poser? He is a true cop, true politician, true parent, true Christian, true aspirant? We can even look in our mirror and ask ourselves the same question.

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