Many of us have been blessed to collide with the visual or performing arts in one case or another over our lifetimes. Maybe we have participated in them ourselves, or know family members or friends who create something that we get to enjoy and see the labors of their love.
I am very lucky to have been a participant in the arts from a very young age and have many friends who to this day are artists of one nature or another. To calm my mind and for my own enjoyment, I love to play the piano.
Thanks to a public education system that does not advance any type of learning – critical thinking, history, or appreciation for the arts – much of our country’s population has lost exposure to what makes us human, and that is the ability to express ourselves in a creative manner.
Artists, whether it be people who document stories and tales, actors and actresses who take on the roles of historical figures, painters and sculptors who encapsulate feelings and expressions, or musicians that elevate the senses and create new neurological pathways in our brains (it is very scientific how music affects our auditory cortex and cerebellum), all engage in creative processes that help to “open our minds”. That is the power of the arts, and in that power we become free.
In our day-to-day drive for survival, it is easy to throw away the arts as a tertiary and completely unnecessary act of selfishness that has no real meaning in our lives. Nothing is further from the truth. The balance of our tactical brains with the arts that literally help to free our minds, is an important part of being human. And being human is something that many of us lack right now.
An instance of this is the fear and terror used with war. The War on Terror has been going on for over a decade. Over 4,015 days of constant inundation and indoctrination of fear, helplessness, and the subtle loss of our liberties by legislation like the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). We are living in fear, we are losing our right to express ourselves, and this loss of the arts in our society may just be a creative vehicle to save us.
Young kids who join gangs, or people who use recreational drugs, or our troops who are coming back from the gory and catastrophic wars who has psychological problems and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are crying out for ways to express themselves. They are begging our communities and country to give them vehicles to let them express themselves as humans. They are lost souls seeking ways to feel and express their emotions – ways to feel and express love. Love, the solution to all things, that is not a talking point of most of our politicians.
I see the faces, and I know the pain of these innocent souls who need some form of expression to be and feel human. And in this expression, we find peace and love; and it would not hurt our world a bit to feel more love for these people who need it right now.