Hang on to your hats. We’re on a roller coaster ride with no idea where we’ll end up. Revolution sweeps the Middle East while discontent grows here at home. The popular uprising, which started in Tunisia, spread to Egypt and continues to ripple out further into the world, is truly inspiring. The human community just witnessed three weeks of massive non-violent street demonstrations in Egypt. The youth of the world are expressing the new consciousness of harmony, unity and love. They joined their voices and their bodies together in non-violent protest against a brutal dictatorship. And they won…. the first battle!
Yes, these are truly interesting and difficult times. And now, more than ever, art is needed. But in the face of revolution, environmental destruction, war and economic collapse you might wonder “Why is art important?” Art and the creation of things is what makes humans unique on this planet. And artists have always played the dual roles of both reflecting culture and influencing culture.
Yet, in times of turmoil and uncertainty art often gets neglected. Survival and fear, themes of our reptilian brain, take over and art becomes a luxury, a non-necessity. Our communal focus beams in on issues of money and security and human creativity moves to the back burner.
It is my greatest hope that these difficult times are simply the dying of the old way of being, based on materialism and hierarchy. As a society and indeed throughout the whole world, we are on a fast track fueled by hyper-cyberspace. But only through a change in consciousness will human society fundamentally change. Without that consciousness change this revolution of high-tech connectedness will only bring us deeper and deeper into more injustice and disparity.
Art can help facilitate that change in consciousness. Creativity brings each of us into communication with our own soul, opening a dialogue with our higher self. And a world full of human beings in dialogue with their higher selves would certainly look different from our current world situation built from a fear-driven consciousness, disconnected from the Source.
Today’s challenges call for us to more fully support art and art education. Many, many artists could be employed to create art which promotes beauty and the new unity consciousness. Artists could be employed to facilitate expressive arts workshops, helping people from all walks of life express their joy and their pain. Our public schools could be full of artists helping young people discover their own creative expression.
I continue to believe in the power of art. Through creating and experiencing art we can find a path to our true nature, which is love. Art as a spiritual practice can transport us to a remembering of that love, allowing us to reconnect with our divine selves. And perhaps when unity consciousness is the dominant world view, the myth of the “starving artist” will end and art will be integrated into the day-to-day life of society.