“Seek Light” | Anthony Satori
“Artists are here to disturb the peace.”
Artists are not here to disturb the peace. Quite to the contrary, artists are here to point the way to something better, something higher. Artists are here to illuminate universal goodness, beauty, and truth. Artists are here to connect our minds and spirits by shining a light on shared human values, virtues, and meaning. To put it most succinctly, artists are here to elevate consciousness. And this, it seems to me, is quite the opposite of “disturbing the peace.”
It’s true, sometimes the expansion of consciousness can be disorienting in its exhilaration. It can have the side effect of shaking up the status quo, of waking us up from the hypnosis of complacency. But this is not the primary goal of art. It is not even its primary side effect. And if we mistake this secondary side effect for the actual purpose of art, we will miss it entirely. If we proceed under this misapprehension – especially if artists themselves engage in this folly – we will miss out on one of the most sacred and pure paths to enlightenment and enrichment that we, as humans, have available to us.
Other potential sources have failed us in this pursuit, time and time again. Religion, politics, media, education – each have failed us disastrously in this measure, at some point or another, often in what seems to be nothing less than orchestrated concert. And when we find ourselves in this state of affairs, art remains the last and best refuge of enlightenment. And when artists fail to live up to this ideal – when they fail to even recognize it – society suffers greatly.
“Humanistic scholars and artists used to be, and were supposed to be, as a group, carriers of and teachers of the eternal verities and the higher life. The goal of humanistic studies was… to inspire the student to the better life, to the higher life, to goodness and virtue. But in recent years and to this day, most humanistic scholars and artists have shared in the general collapse of all traditional values. And when these values collapse, there are no others readily available as replacements.”
– A. H. Maslow