I am an artist. I am a creator of fictional worlds, of hypothetical instances that float within the imagination of the person experiencing my art, and although I may draw from my own very valid memories and experiences in creating and presenting my art, there is no ‘truth’ in what I create.
Just so that you understand the potentially game changing statement I’ve just made, and before you redress your opinion of me and the validity of my work, I’d like to examine what the concept of ‘truth’ is, because it is a concept based upon a notion of validity. However, whether something is deemed as valuable or not has absolutely nothing to do with any concept of truth. We are told lies, and believe in them all the time within the cultures that we live in, yet we pin upon these lies the label of ‘truth’ because we value them, yet they are no more than fictional fabrications that are conforming to certain mass and personal ideals that create a specific climate in which we choose to express ourselves, as the imaginative, innately artistic selves that we are. Each of us adopts many labels that help express who we believe ourselves to be. To call myself and ‘Artist’ is in itself conforming to a social ideal of what an artist is and should be. It says that I am a person of a certain integrity and ability, and so immediate assumptions are made and accepted based upon the desire to conform to that social ideal.
‘Truth’, in truth, is about acceptance and, to be accepted is to be valued. Yet the concept of ‘truth’ as it stands implies, according to current socially accepted scientific models, that it is something that can be measured in terms of hard physical evidence. Yet as any scientist will attest to, there is no such thing as ‘truth’ because it is too difficult to quantify, or to know everything there is to know about anything. So physically observable phenomena, or ‘things’ remain within the remit of theory, and of the hypothetical until proven otherwise. And ‘things’ that have no physically measurable integrity, like imagination and memory, are therefore fictional.
Truth then, as an ideal, is a very lose, vague term that very easily blurs with the notion of validity, which is also an idealistic concept, because whether something is valuable or not is a subjective experience. It is based upon the measure of personal opinion alone. The fact that something can be adopted and valued en masse as a socially acceptable ideal, or model, does not imply in the slightest that said ‘thing’ can be scientifically measured as actually being of value. There is no truth in anything. Everything is therefore a fiction. However, whether that ‘fiction’ is of value or not is up to me and you, as the intelligent, valuable, highly creative and rational beings that we are.
We do, it seems, become very hung up on the concept of ‘truth’, and to be seen as not being honest and truthful in the eyes of others can be deeply disconcerting and socially damaging. To not be accepted as honest and truthful by others, is to be stripped of the value of our invaluable input to the social interactions and relationships that we work so hard to maintain. Someone with a strong sense of identity, that is, someone like myself for example, is in fact someone for whom certain labels are comfortable, labels that express who I wish myself to be and, wish to be seen as by others. So, the impression that others might have of me, due to my resoluteness and confidence, is that I am trustworthy, honest and, to the best of my knowledge as ‘truthful’ as I can possibly be. Yet, there is much that you do not know about me, and there is much that I yet aspire to that would change the measure of who I am, that would recreate the story of who I am in ways that cannot be pieced together and made whole by a chance visit alone, or by a singular work that I might produce as my artist-self, or by a definitive statement of who I am. The art of who I am is ever-changing and, you as the one experiencing my art are indeed experiencing your own art through me at that moment. You are revelling in your own ideals and dreams and, imagination. You are living your own wonderful fiction in that moment.
The validity of my personhood and my identity then, are based upon my desire to conform to certain ideals and, my desire to be accepted by others who also share similar ideals. I am who I say I am because I want to be accepted and valued for being the person that I say I am. Yet, the only observable and provable ‘truth’ in my personal declaration of selfhood, is based upon my words and actions alone. That there may be evidence in the world somewhere that might attest to a different image of my character, does not and, should not be sufficient measure to judge my words and my actions as being of less value. I am no less the artist that I claimed to be at the beginning of this piece.
Yet you take your Truth-stick and measure me. You judge me as the artist that I am by your values, and if I don’t measure up and conform, then my work is seen as suspect or lacking in value, but only to you, the one experiencing my work through your senses. You see then, truth is pure fiction. Truth, is what you and I say it is, with the belief that it is so.
So next time you find yourself asking whether something or someone is of value or not based upon its/their ‘truth’, tell ‘Truth’ to keep its hypothetical, hypocritical mouth shut, and ask yourself this instead:
“Does this/he/she/it inspire me to be more than I am, all that I am?
Does this/he/she/it make me feel that I am of value and worthy of my own acceptance?
Does this/he/she/it make me feel that I too can express myself in whatever way I wish, because who should gainsay my personal reasons for doing so, when we are all of equal measure, when none of us know more than we can know based on personal experience?”
If the answer is, “No” to any of those questions, then you have the choice to search for your personal moment of enlightenment elsewhere. No-one will judge you.
I’ll tell you this, the art of who I am is a beautiful fiction that I choose to share with you because I can and, because it pleases me to do so. And you may thank me for the privilege later…
Blessings and love to you all.