Stuart's Blog

Virtue and the Destruction of the Artist

I've attempted to create a number of businesses over the last fifteen years, each of them moving more and more towards meaning and helping others.

The big problem is that with each evolution I have moved into a more and more virtuous position - where I am expected to operate in a certain way, to take the moral and spiritual high-ground... in short, I'm expected to renounce my messy, playful, mischievous, unhinged, inexperienced humanity and fit into some kind of 'expert' role.

It's taken me a very long time to see it.

It was even pointed out to me explicitly in the early stages of The Artist's Way1 but I failed to notice (as is often the case on the first run through a book or a programme).

Virtue is destructive to the Artist.

If I am to create, then I can't be second-guessing all the time; running my intentions, thoughts and actions by an arbitrary set of rules imposed by a society that is fearful, stunted and profoundly sick.

I might filter what output I allow out into the world, but the act of creation itself must be free - free from society, free from the norms, free from criticism (from myself and others).

One of my heroes is Charles Bukowski for the very raw and uncensored poetry he wrote. He was willing to put his whole self on the page, warts and all. I wouldn't like to have been in his company. I wouldn't like to emulate him. But I deeply admire his freedom to write what he wanted to.

Bukowski said:

"Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can't vent any anger against them. I only feel this appalling sadness. Somewhere, in their upbringing, they were shielded against the total facts of our existence. They were only taught to look one way when many ways exist."

It is ironic that after Bukowski's death his works were edited extremely heavy-handedly by one John Martin before publication. If the loss of Bukowski wasn't enough, the loss of his authenticity is a double blow.

Anyway... back to the original point...

Maybe a nice mantra could be: Create freely. Curate considerately.

  1. The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron, ISBN: 9781788164290

#life #poetry #creativity #censorship

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