In looking at the question of how we choose to live our lives, I’ve always liked the idea of being able to approach our own lives as if it’s some kind of a creative project.
The same kind of principles and approach that we can apply to some kind of artistic endeavour, we can also apply to our own lives.
We have so much choice in what we want to do.
At any moment, there are so many different things we could do.
We could take our lives in so many different directions.
It’s really up to us, and the hard part is really knowing how to make those decisions, and being able to follow through with them.
It seems like we can apply the metaphor of all kinds of different arts, and apply some of that thinking to making those decisions.
For example, if you take it like a painting: so you have a blank canvas.
Now, we could argue how much we really start with a blank canvas.
Maybe it’s like starting with a canvas where it’s already partly painted.
Maybe it’s a canvas that has a strange shape and strange forms already on it.
And maybe we’re limited in what choice of paints we have.
But having a free day ahead of us, a day of choice, this is our choice with what to do with that day, just like the choice of how to fill in a blank space on a canvas or on a page.
Even if today doesn’t feel like a free day, we still can do whatever we want with it.
We just choose to do, sometimes, certain things that feel automatic, feel like a responsibility, that we don’t really have a choice to not do it, but it’s all part of the overall life that we choose.
It’s debatable exactly how much power of choice each individual has.
Some focus on the conditions that restrain us, that keep us forced into certain ways of acting, so that we don’t really have the power to make a completely free choice.
Others emphasize that we have total freedom.
It seems to me like it’s a mix of both.
But certainly we do have some power of choice, and it may be a small blank space in which we can paint, or maybe the whole canvas or a large space.
But either way, we have some ability to choose what we are going to fill our lives with.
Now, when it comes to the time-based arts of words and music, then it’s even easier to connect them to life, because it seems like we live mostly- like the time dimension is the most important dimension shaping life. […]
And maybe music best of all expresses and captures this idea of the rhythm of life, the rhythm of time, based on patterns of repetition and variation.
We repeat the days, the hours, the years, in these cycles of rhythm.
But we also have threads going through them, the melodies.
We have shifting harmonies that express the tone of our lives.
We can have a repeating section that then transitions into a new melody, a new theme.
Different instruments working together: could be a solo, could be a whole orchestra.
Could be electronically synthesized, or some ancient wooden flute.
And even as we change into new sections, new pieces, there can be themes and motifs that return in different parts of our lives.
A melody that starts on one instrument, one part of our life, then it can come back later in a different form.
And we can mix and sample different sources to make a finished sound stream.
So this is all rather abstract, but I like thinking this way.
And it seems like we can really apply principles of design, in some kind of abstract way, we can apply them to our lives.
And just like we can get great aesthetic enjoyment, appreciation, and really a moving effect can come from experiencing art, we can have that same effect.
We can create art out of the way that we choose to live our lives.
Bad elements that we don’t want in our lives: that’s like ugly elements in the art.
It may be like a slash through the painting, a broken element of the sculpture.
Could be an annoying repeated line of dialogue that’s interfering with the story or the screenplay.
It could be like a squeaky instrument, screeching and distracting from the rest of the music.
Or maybe even just a section that repeats to the point of boredom, and that it has to be changed.
And when a life is well-formed, it perhaps can give even more pleasure and value than any piece of physical art.
So I’d be curious to hear what your experiences are with this.
What sort of art do you like to compare your life to? What sort of aesthetic principles can you use to guide your choices and your actions? And what kind of art are you creating with your life?
#artoflife #lifeisart #lifeasart