In a discussion (well, a couple of comments) sparked by the post earlier about art pricing, my friend Danny pointed out that I have been underestimating the average person; that people are aware that the world sucks (as I say) and that I seem to think creative people are better than the rest of the us. I thought about it and I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s right: my texts can easily be read that way. It hasn’t been my intention to be obnoxious or to suggest that artists and the like are somehow above the average person. I sincerely apologise if I’ve offended someone. My writings may be harsh at times – I especially avoid writing things like IMHO or ”I’m generalising, but…” – and I tend to write as though my opinion is right (because I don’t believe in apologising overmuch), even though I’ve been known to be wrong. On an occasion or two1.
I believe that (most) creative people are (mostly) more sensitive than (most of) the average people and tend to think (mostly) differently, or on a different level (not higher, different) than (most of) the average people. Sarcasm aside. People have disagreed with me on this in the past, but I’m also convinced that people suffering from depression – and it has been researched and proven, on several occasions, that creative people are more prone to the condition – have a more realistic view of the world.
By more sensitive I mean that creative people tend to notice ”regular” things more than the average people2, and pause to wonder why or how something is. In my case it’s probably a matter of tending to think in visuals and in patterns; I suppose those who are musically or literally inclined would have their own attuned sense to the world. Most people go about their daily things without really paying attention, especially to routines.
I’ve tried to explain the more realistic view of a depressive person before, and the idea tends to meet resistance. I think that the realistic view means that ultimately nothing can be done about anything that doesn’t directly concern your own actions3. It’s a hopeless view of the world, that nothing can or will ever change, no matter what you – or even a collective we – do. Things in the world will always run depending on where the money or the power is.
Danny also suggested that one person is not meant to carry the state of all the world on his or her shoulders, that we’re built to live in small communities where it’s possible to make a difference with our own actions. I guess this hits the nail on my point. Even if we only concern ourselves with the little world around us, it doesn’t keep the larger world at bay. Some politics affect all of the world – those to do with environmental issues especially, but also wars (look at how the world is terrified of Islam), which tend to affect prices of everything; unions of different kinds affect law-making, taxes and so on, which all affect the little communities. Some things (if not most) can only be changed at the source, and that’s where the impotence of a single person or a small community becomes apparent.
But yes, supposedly we’re not really supposed to care so much. I certainly sincerely wish I wouldn’t. The fact that ”the average person” is aware of things isn’t the same thing as caring enough to feel bad about it, or not being able to focus on the little things. I think Danny’s right. Happiness is in the small things. It’s also in some very big things, like believing in ”justice” or ”karma” or ”everything will be all right in the end”, which are ultimately fictional as well.
And we come back to the ”average person”; this time I include the artistic and depressive people at the same time. I think I’ve made this claim before: every single one of us lives in a reality of our own, the one centering around our own navels. Everyone has a unique point of view, even if in some cases the differences are really minute. Every opinion means that someone else lives in a world where that opinion is wrong, inconceivable; it’s the nature of people to think of the world in terms of how it relates to themselves. These people I consider average, in contrast to people (not limited to creative or depressive people) who actually try to change their environment. Then there are people who actually try to change themselves, and I think these people are pretty rare5.
In closing, I obviously live in a world where the things I write about are true – for a given value of truth. I like it when people disagree with me, and one of the things I wish for is people to challenge me6. I wish for communication of different ideas, because I think if there’s anything that can cause change to happen is through exchange of ideas and trying to understand the other person’s point of view. I don’t consider it a fight, as Danny suggested. It’s called dialogue. As opposed to the monologue this blog at present represents.
Consider this a call to comment and express your opinions. Rather here than on Facebook, I suppose, so people who are not on my FB can also participate.7
1 Anything to do with directions or driving, you’re better off doing exactly the opposite I insist, as dear Sini can attest.
2 It should be noted that I write from a point of view of an especially sensitive person. I don’t know how to explain it other than I just notice things more than anyone I know. Sorry. I don’t particularly like it, because it means I’m constantly distracted and I care about things that are really not my concern. My therapist says that it’s also a strength and the source where I withdraw my amazingly amazing powers of artistic expression, so I guess it’s not all bad. I suppose the fact that I care enough to write another post about it is related. :D
3 And, though this is often hard to understand for anyone who hasn’t experienced depression, a depressed person often isn’t capable of ”actions”; on the worse days it’s impossible to even get out of the bed, much less to communicate or interact with the world. 4
4 And it’s not a matter of ”getting a grip” or ”cheering up” or ”eating more vitamins and exercising” or ”having more sex” or ”smoking weed”.
5 Everyone can try to lose weight. Some people make the decision to try to be more positive, kinder, more generous, but I think a permanent change is difficult, and most people (these are already a different kind of ”average”) don’t have the concentration or mind or heart or endurance to actually achieve anything but a superficial change, if that.
6 Reasonably. ”You suck and you’re wrong” isn’t a proper argument in my books.
7 I’m aware this is also an open invitation for trolls. Not welcome!