A New Culture in Art & Writing
Every so often society creeps into a bit of a stale state and there is a need for a revivification of the culture. I have felt this for some time now and I get the sense that many cultural institutions might have the problem of being stuck in a rut. There are very few innovative styles of writing that makes sense to the general public and most creatives within the institutions have lost all connection to the culture outside of their cultural cliques.
Whenever a culture faces a crisis of that kind it either implodes or it renews itself in some sort of movement. The questions raised by various philosophers and great thinkers of any given age spurs the artists, writers and sculptures to produce art that speak to those questions. That does not mean that it needs to be political. In fact, I would say that these days there isn’t much need for a political movement of that variety.
The questions we are faced with now are not related to power or what group you are part of, but is much more individualist in nature. In this increasingly polarized and chaotic world there might be a need for the individual to look inwardly and focus on what one can do to fix oneself and one’s immediate surroundings. We are surrounded every day by words of safety and feelings without really knowing how to create safety or to avoid hurting feelings.
And the question is also can we do that? Or should we do that? Is there any way of making everything completely safe without the cost of personal autonomy? These are questions that keep on plaguing me and they have been for quite a few years now. I maybe not a great thinker or philosopher, but I do know stories and the vision of where we are heading in the story of our mutual societies do not fill me with confidence.
We seem happy to entrust our safety to fallible systems or people who we build up as the next savior because it means that we do not have to do any of the work ourselves. “If only (insert political figure or system here) could fix my problem, then I could finally be happy and content.” This isn’t a helpful attitude to have towards your own life, but it’s understandable that it happens. I have walked down that path myself.
This is also partly reflected in the way that we view cultural products as well. We do not take the good qualities of a hero or heroine to reside within us and learn lessons from what that character has done. Instead we look at what the exterior characteristics is. Is this person the right skin color, the right sexual orientation, the right body size or the right political opinions? Do any of those qualities make a great character? Or are these merely superficial characteristics that only go skin deep?
Those who have followed my writing for a while know my disdain for post-modernism. This isn’t because I do not think that they have not thought of anything original, they certainly have. The idea of any text, artwork or media product meaning anything was a novel idea, but it does not mean that it has anything relevant for humanity moving forward. Post-modernism is dying a slow and painful death. People hunger for meaning and post-modern ideas do not seem to deliver in any relevant fashion.
I am not saying that we should return to modernism or even further back to the romantics or the impressionists either. We need an art movement that focuses on the heroic and the individualistic. Cultural shifts often start with the writers as they can often give inspiration to the other artists and that is why I think it is very important that we as authors, writers or other story tellers use that gift to spread a new influence to artists all over the world.
We need people also to understand that a heroic act does not need to be something big, just sorting out your own life in such rapidly changing and chaotic world can be an act of heroism and if you can do that, you can eventually also move outward towards bigger and scarier things. The cultural movement needs to focus on the individual to avoid idol and hero worship. Look inward to see how you can be a better person and what you might change about yourself to make other people’s lives easier and less burdensome.
Leave the politics to the old and those without ideas. We can feed those people ideas through our writing, our artwork and our creativity. It may not be appreciated, and you may not be rewarded for it. But real heroes don’t expect rewards.