In my opinion, people overly emphasize suffering in their quest to produce art and acquire wisdom.

While suffering can tap a universal perspective (everyone suffers), it often leaves obstructive trauma and permanent damage.

I prefer to emphasize long-term problem-solving.  Everyone needs to solve problems, and unlike suffering, problem-solving has the propensity to help you gain territory and secure the high ground.   

Continue on this path, and you can keep ascending to unforeseen heights.  And it needn’t be so damn painful.


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12 thoughts on “Musings

  1. As a conversational comment, The suffering could be instead the work to produce the product/gain the wisdom. I have a pile of books I’m labeling as my homework that I must get through before the real project can start. I have to understand the period of time I’m working in and the people within it. If people wish to call that suffering for their art or craft, well, then they are possibly seeking greater attention for themselves for other reasons. But then that’s judging without knowing the whole story. True suffering for the craft would be having POW experience, or willingly getting cancer to write about the character dealing with cancer. A method writer I guess would suffer for the craft. What qualifies as suffering? Boy, who would have thought that a simple observation could generate a paragraph or more of thought.

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  2. I am personally of the opinion that the ideas of suffering and creativity have been tied together on purpose (sort of), although not by artists but by society at large. Starting around the Enlightenment era, when Rationalism took over from Romanticism, the arts and humanities were shoved to the outskirts of society. They were no longer considered beneficial to society or desirable career choices. And, the more creative and less logical it is, the more it was shoved to the edges. In turn, the arts became hobbies and not viable ways to support yourself. But, there remained in society those who truly wanted to do art or really couldn’t do anything else (for physical, psychological, emotional, educational, or social reasons), and continued to pursue art despite the obvious financial and social roadblocks. Thus was born the stereotype of the “starving artist.” When that was combined with Western cultures’ obsession with martyrs, it became not just a “noble” thing to do but an EXPECTED thing for “true” artists to literally starve for their craft. This ended up benefitting both governments and corporations, as those who fit in the least in society were stripped of good jobs and much of their social reputation (art also being tied to madness as both are “opposite” Rationality). This meant that those with extreme political ideas or a desire to create their own things rather than buy them from Big Business lost almost all of their financial and social power to fight against problematic government policies and corporations’ ever-expanding grasp. This has motivated many to continue this myth of the Starving Artist in order to relegate misfits into very specific, powerless positions in society. This has been done over such a long time that the very concept is ingrained in our culture and now misfits CHOOSE to occupy this position themselves, seeing it as proof that they “truly” care. The punk counter culture is an excellent example of this. The older punks dislike “pop” punk because they believe that engaging with corporations rather than starving for your music proves that you don’t actually care about the community. Younger punks and fans of “pop” punk argue that they are fighting the system from the inside and making the movement more accessible and powerful. And, I believe the younger punks are right. Rejecting the concept of the Starving Artist gives you the ability to chase your art while retaining much of your personal power and fits well into punks general ideology of “f*** the man and mainstream culture.” I do believe the younger generation, in general, are starting to reject the notion of the Starving Artist, as can be seen with the growth of pop punk, Patreon, youtube, and other ways of publishing and supporting “entertainment.” Although, I believe this stems from a general rejection of the obsession with martyrs rather than a rejection of this idea specifically, as political activists are rejecting the idea of martyrdom as well.

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  3. Amen!

    Sometimes people do have difficulty through no fault of their own: disability, old age, or natural disaster.

    But much of the complaints just means they should have taken business school classes along with art school. They cannot claim they did not see it coming: the starving artist trope has long been trite, worn out.

    Then again, monetizing a blog can be difficult as hell, as many of us can attest. Moral: don’t give up your day job.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. We all suffer. It’s just a question to what degree we suffer and what we do about it when we suffer. There really is too much play given to “suffering”. By definition, suffering means experiencing distress and/or discomfort. We even suffer from things like love and passion. We suffer from motivations of many kinds. It’s kind of like DSFB says; we need to not focus on the suffering and focus on solving the problem that is causing us to suffer.
    I think diving into the “starving”/suffering artist thing is not necessarily good, especially if we revere the suffering in any way. I’m not saying that I don’t love music or other art that is an expression of someone who suffers or has suffered, but I try to hope that the artist/composer was able to deal with the suffering as a result of the expression.

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