Genius, Vice & the Art of Living

An essay by J. Erik LaPort Art n. skill, cunning, esp. applied to design, representation or imaginative creation; (pl.) branches of learning traditionally supposed to prepare for life or advanced studies; fine –s. music, painting, etc. Artist n. highly gifted practitioner of any craft; one who practices art Genius n. (pl. –iuses, -ii), tutelary (protective) spirit; exalted intellectual power; person having this Depression, escapism, drugs, alcohol, religion, philosophy, art, poetry, literature, adventure and insanity – it‟s what we call life. You see it staring out at you through the eyes of the genius, the wise, those with an elevated understanding of life; those who have experienced it. How can we reconcile these? Can an individual embody each of these? Indeed they‟ve already been reconciled for us in the tragedy of the creative genius. How many great minds in even our recent history, musicians, artists, and entertainers – our true modern artists have lived so inextricably woven into a tapestry of tragedy…the kind of tragedy that increases their fame and their fans‟ love for them. We relate so well to what they must have been experiencing if not in measure, in spirit. We can easily draw the conclusion that vice and genius are often inseparable. We feel it intuitively. And these “eccentricities” of vice are so completely accepted, if not expected, as companion to art, creative genius and wisdom. The alternative is a dreary stale view of reality. We all seek escape in some way. In desperation we are looking for a new way to view the world. We are looking for lost illusion. We wish we were never told the trick behind the magic. We want to see it as magic again and when we realize that no matter how hard we try to believe in Santa Clause again we simply can‟t. We know too much so we look for new illusions, new eyes in which to see through. God I need a drink (to change this dreary view and allow me to let my mind and inhibitions run free like I feel so deeply they should). The artist loans us his eyes to see through so that we may recapture the reality around us anew. You and I forgive ourselves our little sneaks of vice. We need it. It adds character to our lives the way a pinch of salt, so bad for the health in excess, can bring out the flavor of an otherwise bland dish. But if we were to listen to the prohibitionist we might be convinced that our dabbling in vice is evil, with no other possible conclusion than complete destruction of the soul. “Bullshit” is usually the first word popping into my mind at this thought. Is there anyone who doesn‟t enjoy their own private little evils as part of their innate genius? We might actually buy into the “evil” crap but deep deep inside we know that those little vices damn near make up the sum total for any true character we might exude. Let‟s face it; monks are boring at a party.

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The problem lies in our system of judgment. To a head-hunter, the warrior who destroys his enemy and takes his head is a step closer to heaven and revered as a hero. If I did that in my neighborhood I would come home with quite a different welcome. So we develop our values, judgment of the goodness or badness of our thoughts, actions and deeds, based on our society‟s value system. But where did that system come from. Surely it came from someone‟s personal value system or collectively from the majority, right? If these people or this society formed the values we live by they must be superior to us ordinary beings, are they not? But the problem is we lose sight of the fact that life, existence and the development of character and wisdom cannot happen without polarities. Why is it that the people with a tremendous amount of character, appeal or charisma happen to be the worldliest, well-traveled, awash in life experiences and living wisdom? Or have made it through some of the most grueling and terrible ordeals humanity can face? Something draws us to this person, this special kind of genius and we can never really put our finger on why. Often we‟re drawn to someone we don‟t really like (or don’t want to but can’t help ourselves). The simple answer is energy. Some call it chemistry. The boy who teases the girl, gets her to respond and banters and jokes back and forth seems to get the girl every time. The nice sweet guy left standing there never understanding why the girl is always drawn to the bad boy. But all of us are drawn to the naughty once in a while. And why is it that we feel so damned alive when we‟re breaking the rules? There‟s a line that we walk called normalcy. It is the line of what‟s acceptable and normal. It‟s more of a corridor or pathway actually with walls on each side that we‟re not supposed to go beyond, but for some reason nature made those walls just short enough for us to jump over. If you veer off the line to one side you are on the side of the saint, the holy, the all-pure and good. If you wander off to the other side you tread the region of the damned. Here is where all things unholy lie. It is the domain of the drunkard, the whore, the criminal. Throughout our lives we tend to swerve, if not completely off the main path, at least towards one side or another. Some dwell right on the edge never fully crossing over either wall. Accepted as being normal but the proximity to the out-of-bounds side making them stand out in the crowd a bit – but still accepted as normal, in a way, by all their peers; „the craziest guy in the room may not be so crazy in another room‟ syndrome. If we looked at the (secret) trail left by the amazing personalities that we‟ve come to admire it might be quite surprising as to how often and how far the tracks weave towards extremes or over these walls of the sinner and saint. It is exactly this experiencing the wholeness of the path that builds character. No religion I know of forbids these extremes. In fact it is quite accepted that you will experience them at some point, yet there is always the notion of using these extremes to teach the value of the middle. Without these extremes there could be no religion. Why would the sinner need forgiveness if there were no sin? Prayer and a redeemer would be unnecessary. There could be no enlightenment or even learning from one‟s mistakes. The truth is that our personal extremes develop our true character. For example, you don‟t have to be EXTREMELY brave for an experience to be a life-changing one. You simply have to exude a bravery that feels extreme to you. This then goes toward building a brave element in your character, and so on with other experiences.

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People of character and genius are rarely what we would consider the world‟s “first class” citizens. Think of your favorite entertainer, writer, etc. and ask yourself if you delved deep into their real-life biography would you find the stereotype of a proper upstanding citizen. The answer is most definitely not. But society tends to adopt the eccentrics because they add a splash of color to an otherwise boring tapestry. Often the eccentric artists and geniuses are paraded around in high society as status symbols themselves – with all their faults actually applauded, admired and excused. Do you need examples? Van Gough, Verlaine, Hemmingway, Picasso, Wilde, Voltaire. Too disconnected from the present for you? Too artsy-fartsy? …fair enough. Let‟s try Hendrix, Morrison, Joplin, Marley, Belushi, etc. This might just be a bit too rock and roll for some. What about leaders who‟ve seen both sides like Malcolm X or John F. Kennedy, Ho Chi Minh or Fidel Castro? Clinton, among others, was a complete womanizer and the public loved him for it. The list goes on and on. Simply at the mention of these names their “lifestyle” comes straight to mind a fraction of a second before their genius does. It doesn‟t take a genius to see the pattern of genius. Most people who we associate character with have some pretty off-the-beaten-path stories to tell, stories that helped build the charisma that draws us, and most likely would not be considered clean upstanding (read ‘boring’ here’) role models of society. That is, unless they were adopted as such in order to spice up the dullness of the immediate society in which they reside. So is there a way to classify creative genius? Is it simply character or charisma? The fact is that the man of character doesn‟t have character so much as he has characters. Take Hemmingway for an example. The man could rightly be called a genius, an adventurer, a whore a drunkard, a fighter, a romantic, an artist, a depressed suicide case or a number of other labels. Certainly each one applies. Let‟s get a bit introspective for a moment. Imagine that each thing you do or each character you play in the drama of life calls for you to wear a different mask. Do you really wear only one? I doubt it. I don‟t. You might wear the mask of a respectable businessperson during the day, the loving parent, the playful rebel shooting pool or attending a concert, the drug user smoking a spliff, the snobby art critic with martini in hand, or the tender lover or complete whore in the bedroom. You wear many masks; perhaps all of these and more. So do I. So does everyone to some degree. It‟s important to remember firstly that those masks aren‟t really you. They‟re just parts of you. How curious it is that when someone says that they really want to get to know you, when in actuality just want to know one of the masks you wear that bears a similarity to one of their favorites. And did you ever get the feeling that if they actually saw a few of your other masks it just might shock the pants off of them. Quite often we become very careful which mask we show, and to whom. But our real heroes, our artists and entertainers, especially the ones we truly admire, show us their whole collection – and we love them for it while at the same time are terrified that we might be judged harshly for displaying ours. The depth of character derived from playing so many roles is magnetic. We draw others and are drawn to others as a result of this. Yet in our extremes we tend to develop a sense of the sacred and the profane. And between the walls of the sacred and profane we find our living space. We find ourselves and stumble to the shocking realization that we absolutely needed both extremes of our personality to become the totality of who we are. 3

Realizing this we can only come to the conclusion that it has all been an adjustment in our perspective(s). We‟ve seen life from the point of view of the sacred, the beautiful, the pure and good and learned from it. And we‟ve delved in the profane, the dark side, our vices and naughty pleasures and have come to realize that our forays into both worlds have become very interesting chapters of our own lives. We learn to see a profound truth from many different perspectives. The extremes are the highlights and drama of our own story. Good or Bad? Who knows! How do you value a paragraph in a story…or one brush-stroke in a painting? Or a single sentence or phrase for that matter? Because these are what our experiences are and must be viewed in relation to the totality of ourselves. We eventually have to take our masks off and look naked into the mirror to see who we really are, and review our mask collection to see who we‟ve become. Maybe throw a few out that don‟t fit us anymore. It‟s the attachment to a mask that causes our sufferings. Throughout recorded human history vice and genius are inseparable. The tales of which have been taught us, via mythology, parables and religious teachings, lessons to the masses of what is right or wrong. When you combine sex, vice and creativity the result is usually quite a recipe for art. Drinking, at the very least, has often been associated with genius, with drug use quite often following as a close second. But the real glue binding it all together is sex. Sex, the one true great adventure available to all, is the shadow of genius. Even a strong abstinence is an inclusion of a sexual element, in a strange way, into the life of genius. At the very least we could say that within genius resides an abnormal life of sex and vice. Rejection of vice and sex is also a form of clinging and inclusion. The level of indulgence in drinking, drugs and sex or the extreme rejection of such is so closely related to genius that one can hardly conceive of them as separate entities. So why is it that these people of vision have one foot in the respectable and another on the darker side of life? When lifeless prohibitionists have curtailed anything that we might find pleasurable, fun, experimental and character building it only builds the resolve to find our escape from their dreary version of utopia. Prohibition has never lasted in the long run. We will alter our consciousness somehow, that‟s an historic fact. We will look for other ways to experience the world. Is it because we don‟t like the picture we see? Real life isn‟t good enough? I don‟t believe this is the case. Why limit yourself to one view? Some would rather not. Yet we are limited by our society‟s narrow point of view to the degree that we begin to limit who we are or will become. We start believing the hype. We buy into brainwashing. But there‟s always another side. We might also make the mistake of believing our illusions. We glimpse the more complete reality and our vice has developed wisdom of both the workings of the world and ourselves. And we haven‟t destroyed ourselves in the process, much to the prohibitionists‟ dismay. Yet we feel a sense of powerlessness. A deep impotence to affect a change and this understanding gnaws at us from hidden places. What‟s the point, we cry with our hands in the air. Did the hippie movement free our minds and cultures? The truth is that, in many societies, we have more prohibitions now than we‟ve ever had. The world seems to be adopting a strange sort of fundamentalism.

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But the creative genius is unaffected by these limitations or illusions. Indulgence broadens his perspective and character. A strange sort of worldly wisdom has developed as a result of experiencing what life has to offer in all its strange forms, from seeing the world from many different and oftentimes conflicting views. This character has developed an eye capable of experiencing and understanding the different roles in the world. He understands intuitively the need for the extremes. He sees the beauty in the diversity of the world and the complex picture he shows us as a result is a masterpiece that only he can uniquely perceive. But the unaffected artist, having attained this understanding now finds himself in a strange position. He finds himself alone and lonely. Everyone else is still playing their roles experimenting with different masks mistaking the drama for reality. Yet our artist genius has realized that it is all just a show. There may be others who can understand and sympathize with him but they are alone in their realization as well. A smile, nod or look of understanding is as close as our artist geniuses will ever get to true companionship. The wise perceive truth alone. The normal world either applauds our artists‟ genius or scorns it. How many great artists, poets and writers, composers – creative geniuses – died broke with little or no fame compared to the near reverence they receive after their demise? The number is astounding. Yet as unappreciated as they might be, they somehow feel that they must add something to the world that ostracizes them. They must give something. They must be human and add to or at least reflect that humanity through their work. What is it that our genius sees through this artistic eye? What realization has he arrived at that makes him different or sees the world differently from us normal slobs? There must be something wrong with someone who spends as much time indulging in vice as they do with their creative pursuits. We tend to hold genius right up next to divinity and feel both justified and appalled at ourselves for doing so. But it is the artist who truly understands that the purpose of life is to live. Really live. His mission is to feel the world around him and preach it back to us to show us what we‟ve missed. And this implies dealing with two things on a daily basis, necessity and luxury. They both exist for the purpose of comfort and convenience. Our existence is wrapped in these two to such a degree that the expense of human energy in the pursuit of necessity, luxury or both very nears totality. The problem that arises is that our needs and our comforts are, in the modern day, too easily reconciled. There is a surplus of energy. A bit of our spirit, just waiting, with nothing to do, whispers to an unsuspecting part of our being. We sense that this excess is a luxury and must be used to elevate our being to a higher sense of existence. The method we choose is generally religion, love or art. And the thread on which these three jewels are strewn? Wine! We find a deep intoxication with all three and wine in the hand of each. Ponder the number of religions that involve ceremonial wine, sacred wine or other intoxicants used by mediums or shamans. Ancient history is full of accounts of spiritual leaders and healers using any number of intoxicants. Indeed religion is how we know of many natural mind altering substances. Can you imagine a romantic evening without wine? Even people who don‟t drink wine associate a glass of wine, a rose and dinner for two with romance or even love. Love intoxicates us…as 5

does art. When I speak of art I‟m speaking of a man-made creation that moves us, whether it is music, poetry, literature, architecture, gardening, Hollywood movies or anything else that touches you. It goes to our heads and hearts and intoxicates us, and in this experience we can only associate it with wine. And how many artists‟ works that we admire were at least encouraged by a mind developed through an indulgence in wine…or some other view altering substance. The artist‟s eye, this broadened view of the world cannot reach its maturity in youth. The youth are moved by the newness of the world and idealistic fancies that have yet to be proven impossible. The illusions of the potentialities of the imagination toy with the young. It‟s the balance of what the young want to say, be and do with what can be said and done in such a confining world, which tears at the spirit of the young for many years. It absolutely breaks some and at least humbles others. It is only when the illusions vanish and we realize the world as a game, begin to clearly understand the rules do we find our power to affect change and find our place in the world. The artist is the model. He knows the rules like we do yet he seems to play his own game by his own rules. At the same time he chooses to stay among men and suffer their illusions and struggles with them. Yet the artist is in pursuit of the truth of beauty and existence and, therefore, must not get too close to enlightenment or heaven. Our genius will feel himself pulled towards a higher truth. But what is it that separates the artist from the religious leader? The artist firmly anchors himself to the humanity he serves. He does not desire to rise above the humanity by disassociation but to serve it by being part of it. And often it is the crudest of humanity that keeps him down to earth. That lets him see the reality, the silliness and sadness of humanity. And where does he go to stay grounded? History tells us that he goes to the places where society has thrown away the rules. The pub, the whorehouse, the cabaret or go-go bar, the night clubs of the city, wars, the countryside or the odd exotic third world county. He indulges in alcohol, drugs and sex. The artist, although he may be appreciated by, and rub shoulders with the world‟s elite, prefers to dwell with the common man. Money has destroyed more people than any other natural or man-made disaster. And behind many human illnesses lies peoples‟ eating habits. Yet we don‟t blame money or food and forbid people of enjoying either. Do we make the sea illegal because of the destruction to boats and coastlines resulting from rough seas? Perhaps forests should be off limits because of the threat of forest fires…or we maybe we should prohibit anyone from living in an area prone to earthquakes. Sorry California but we have to evacuate, someone might get hurt. Of course it‟s true that vice has its dangers. There might be those who destroy their lives due to lack of control of their vices. This is something we have come to accept in the case of alcohol and nicotine but have not yet worked out a tolerance for sex or drugs. Fortunately for us, the all wise and powerful, most honest and honorable, incorruptible saintlike protectors of humanity – our governments – have found a solution to protect all of us grown adult intelligent human beings from ourselves. The answer?...Prohibition. Yes boys and girls, we are told what we can and can‟t do to our own bodies in our own homes by other people much wiser and more caring for our welfare than we. Let‟s just prohibit anything that might cause harm to someone (yet they feel nothing for harming the world around us in pursuit of material goals). No we won‟t vote on it. There‟s no need to find out what people really want. That won‟t get us 6

votes because even if they wanted to do away with silly prohibitions they wouldn‟t dare let their neighbors know for fear of being ostracized by their community. It appears to the artist and genius quite clearly the depth and breadth of a sort of puritanical hypocrisy spreading like a virus from one influential country‟s policy to the copy-cat governments of others who are incapable or too lazy to develop their own policy for fear of not conforming to world opinion. But this world opinion is on paper only when it becomes clear that huge percentages of populations throughout history have attempted to do the opposite of policy. American prohibition was the best thing to ever happen to the alcohol industry in 1920‟s American history. Tell us we can‟t do something and it‟s the first thing we want to do. “The Prohibitionist must always be a person of no moral character, for he cannot even conceive of the possibility of a man capable of resisting temptation” – Alestair (god love him) Crowley. OK, perhaps we might not resist temptation but give me the opportunity to control my own indulgences. True many people have a tough time with self control. But should we make food illegal because some cannot control their eating habits? Cigarettes and alcohol have proven horrific side effects yet they remain legal where other less damaging substances are completely off limits. The artist quite often takes his indulgences to extremes with dramatic results and the world benefits from it. The prohibitionist would like you to believe that he knows better than you what is good for you. He will attempt to use morality and ethics as his lever to move the rest of society to his sterile world view. To him there are very few worthwhile pursuits. Let‟s start with religion. For him any religion that allows for humanity‟s humanity is a false religion. His version is fundamentalist and cold. There is no allowance for sympathy or human imperfection. It is a religion of judgment, categorization and narrow-mindedness, of absolute and total conformity aimed at acceptance. Is this truly a higher pursuit of the human spirit? I‟d prefer the artist‟s view of humanity and existence in all its forms and manifestations. And love you ask? The prohibitionist has no time for such silly nonsense. The kind of love you must be talking about can only lead to the profane! You might delight in your love and all its pleasures, which to him, can only be seen as sin. To the prohibitionist, the only purpose for a relationship is procreation of the human race, but who would want to be born in his world? I‟d rather not. If there is one theme celebrated in all art, music, literature, poetry, cinema, it is the theme of love…and rightly so. Love, like our other vices, even in it‟s more painful forms, makes us truly feel alive and as if there is a meaning to our existence. The act of loving is complete in itself. Not necessarily so with the feeling of being loved. How often has one been loved by another yet unable to return the sentiment? It is an uncomfortable feeling. Whereas, when feel love to give, even if it cannot be returned, you feel something powerful and moving. The artist knows this despite the prohibitionist‟s attempts to sway the world to the contrary. Art is not even an issue for the prohibitionist because, at heart, he is truly against the enjoyment and beauty of life as it is, and would prefer life as he would have it be. We are fortunate that nearly all the artists throughout history have seen far beyond the prohibitionist‟s limited dismal view and have left us with masterpieces in every media despite exile and censorship. So what then is the meaning of life to the prohibitionist? Who knows? I‟m just as happy not knowing. Do they have one? If they do it can only be one of conformity. I‟m quite certain that 7

the prohibitionist has no tolerance for any religion or creed that does not conform to their idea of the perfect world they are attempting to create. And it would be quite boring one in my opinion. They certainly would like to abolish the artists‟ world. They will never be able to handle the view of life and reality, of the truth and beauty that is perceived in the mind of the creative. But do we step on a slug simply because it disgusts us in crossing our path? No, we tend to have a sense of compassion and tolerance that they could never understand. That is until we find out that the harmless slug has become a parasite hidden in the human form threatening the very essence of life. There‟s a bit of „straddling the fence‟ here on the part of the artist. It‟s a form of being on the team, but not playing. One foot on the side of humanity with the other foot on the side of something much bigger than the common man can see. Our creative genius is playing his own game on the sideline but he‟s also in our midst for us to glean support and inspiration from. For the role of the artist is to serve humanity by sharing with us the secret he has come to know. But what is it that the artist, the sage, the genius sees that we don‟t? Why is it that we have a feeling that they know a secret that is outside the common man‟s reach? But they must. They not only see something we are unable or unwilling to see but, through their life‟s experiences, have the wisdom to accept it upon seeing and realizing the truth of it. Unfortunately we stumbled onto an unfortunate paradox. It‟s the prohibitionists who run the world and the artists and geniuses that allow us to appreciate it and give it meaning. Yet this is not lost on the artist. This is the horror that grips his very soul with a clear understanding of his situation. In desperation for the preservation of the human spirit our genius must find another world, another existence where he can escape to, a place where the genius of his spirit cannot be chained and ordered about; where his spirit cannot be enslaved by the judgmental cruelty of misguided society. I personally cannot conceive of living in a place where I cannot escape the morality of society if even for a short while. The artist‟s spirit must have a place to grow. Most societies have places of refuge for such outcasts. The genius is a recognized outcast alongside other outcasts and can often be found among the more simple folk; often celebrating his association with them in his works. The first place that might come to mind is out in nature, yet the artist is more concerned with humanity‟s troubled spirit dwelling in the world of men than the haphazard perfection of the natural world. Upon occasion the artist will draw inspiration from nature, but usually to serve as a lesson in human pettiness. Nevertheless the artistic genius craves a place suitable to his character. But this refuge is not enough. The common man enjoys a limited view of life which the artist broadens through his complex perspective. Good music or a great story needs a good listener. A masterpiece painting or sculpture requires a good eye. Our genius is a reflection of the real world around him. He must have contact with it and its subjects. Two artists looking at the exact same scene will have differing perspectives and it will reflect in their individual works; each containing an element of truth. But the artist, although he can be aloof and apart from the world in one sense, needs connection with a kindred spirit in another. He needs a friend who‟s seen the same view or at least values his. He must find companionship in someone who both 8

sharpens and softens him. He needs his listener. He spends his life in the hopes of finding someone who understands and appreciates his genius but, in reality, this someone must be a bit of an artistic genius as well; each completely different in character but with a unique understanding that the other fully comprehends truth and life also. But again it brings us to what it is that the artist sees that remains so elusive for the common man? Why is this vision so hard for the common man to see, and what is to be seen? Truth, because its striking simplicity makes it difficult to appreciate, hence truth is quite often overlooked. Imagine looking into a forest. Think of your favorite kind of forest or perhaps you prefer a garden or a desert or seascape. This is where inspiration begins for the artist – an impression that moves him. Think of a scene that moves you. Now in that scene, can you really say which branch of a tree is beautiful or which stone is ugly? Which blade of grass is good and which bit of earth is bad? Which note is more melodic than the other? These are ridiculous questions to the artist. Everything is an element necessary to the finished work. He is above making these kinds of judgments. Ultimately each element is a necessary part of an overall whole. The totality is a masterpiece and, as such, is perfect in its creation. For him life is the same way. Good and bad, the beautiful and disgusting, everything in every circumstance is necessary for the whole picture. They each are part of a symphony that creates a masterpiece. The artist doesn‟t judge his subject. He merely sees its beauty and reflects it in his work. It is all a sublime beauty. It is a deluded mind that goes around categorizing and judging things into good or bad, beautiful or ugly, sacred or profane. In the artist‟s mind it is all a beautiful masterpiece made to be appreciated by painting oneself right into the picture. By really living within the truth and beauty of the painting of life he becomes the art. The artist is divided in his view of the world, however. There he is, the artist, who is apart from the world simply existing and observing while at the same time needing to live directly in the world in all its movement and suffering. But there is an internal division as well. There is the unaffected and enlightened artist‟s mind experiencing the world from afar without judging it or placing value on what he sees yet, at the same time he is part of it, affected and sympathetic, often tormented, moving and suffering as well. It is precisely this that is so magnetic. Sharing the suffering and anxiety, the artists defines a deeper reality and demonstrates the simple beauty of it back to those of us who missed it the first time. He may be the poet who so beautifully paints a picture in words of the grace of daily life in a café that we‟ve taken for granted. Or a film-maker who creates a beautiful epic masterpiece based on true story of a simple act of heroism that touches us to the core in just a few scenes yet we‟ve been unmoved witnessing those same scenes in everyday life. You might see a street scene and ignore it where the artist will sit down with brush and canvas and celebrate it. The artist sees life from a different perspective, from many perspectives, he sees the bigger picture. The mind of a genius does not get caught in the timeframe of now or in the space of the immediate. He sees the necessity and the intelligence of the dichotomy of existence. The sacred and the profane, for him, stop being opposites. The drunkard and the ascetic priest serve the same purpose. Living in the extremes from time to time develops him as a whole and allows him to see the world as a whole. Experiencing life like this is the art of being an artist. You may arrive at this state through meditation, philosophy or living an unusual life outside the norm. 9

But it is seldom attained through the mediocrity of conforming or conservatism. It can never be bought. Life is wide open and outside of man‟s petty laws, has very few inherent rules. Take away the element of human judgment and our silly value system of good and bad, right and wrong, large and small – all those boring labels for defining reality – and existence becomes one. That is the absolute beauty of existence, of life. But if you don‟t or can‟t yet see through the eye of the genius, the artist or philosopher try giving up. Give up being an upstanding citizen and indulge. Give up your need to judge others. Give up thinking of things in terms of good and bad or what you don‟t like. Give up cherishing your opinions and just feel life endlessly whirling around you. Give up your feeling that life is only your time here and try and sense endless life. Give in to your temptations. You won‟t lose yourself. You might be surprised to find yourself. This doesn‟t mean you have license to do whatever you fancy. Our artists aren‟t murderers or thieves. They cause no suffering to anyone else. It is their personal experience and ours that we‟re concerned with. The past and future go on infinitely. We lose ourselves in the vastness of space and the smallness of sub-atomic particles. At this moment there are 6 billion people on earth each of whom will be dead in 100 years. We‟re each a grain of sand on an endless beach existing for the blink of an eye. There is an intelligence manifested in nature which we can only dimly perceive. The artist will cherish this position in creation and leave a reflection of his moment, a footprint. The genius smiles at the intelligence of it all. The drunkard enjoys the sunset. In truth each of us are an artist in some respect. By any means available experience your moment.

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