Everyone seems to wonder why artists of all types always seem to be a little bit out there, a little bit crazy or a little bit beyond the fringe of society. Artists, writers and musicians have a long track record of mental disease, drug/alcohol abuse and other self-destructive behavior. No matter how magnificent or profound their works seem to be, artists themselves seemed to be doomed to lives of misery, insanity and slow destruction.
But why is this? Why is it that the creative souls of our planet, the very people who carry forth the message of humanity, the bearers of ultimate truth, always seem trapped and tormented by forces within themselves. Why is it that they seem to suffer the most of all?
The reason is all-too simple. Artists have always seen the world in a different way from the rest of humanity. Rather than limit themselves to a simple notion of truth, artists, by their very nature, have to open themselves up and see the world as it truly is, including all of the misery, hatred and hypocrisy that the modern world seems to need in order to survive.
It's enough to drive anyone to the brink of madness and that's why, from day one, we're trained by both parents and schools to narrow our focus and see the world in black and white, without the complexities and overlapping ideals that surround us everywhere we go. Though it may be a very simple way of seeing the universe, it's probably for our own good. After all, history has shown, often in graphic detail, what happens to those who venture to expose themselves to the world as it truly is.
But while taking in the whole truth may be like staring at Zeus' natural self, a sort of suicide by knowledge, it's something that artists of all varieties have done for thousands of years and continue to do today. I myself face this dilemma today, torn between preserving my sanity and my happiness and opening myself to the world around me.
My only hope, perhaps my only prayer, is to strike some kind of balance between the two forces and discover a way to see what is profound, to see what is true and still avoid destroying myself, literally eating myself alive.
Now I don't claim to be a perfect human being, nor do I claim to have an answer to this dilemma, but I know deep down that if I don't find a solution, at least one that works for myself. I'm doomed either to a life of mediocrity, or to a life of misery and when I'm confronted with a decision like that, I begin to understand the artists and writers who have fallen before me. I can see why they chose to eat themselves alive with drugs and depression. It was their only choice.
After all, their only other option was to stand by and let the world do it for them. It's quite possible a lot of artists, much like falling on their swords, decided to die by their own hand rather than letting themselves fall into the arms of an impossibly cruel enemy. An enemy that the artists, through their vision, know all too well…