We are all artists. This function cannot be avoided. Everything in life is Art, with varying degrees of quality & impact. We are creative beings by nature & practice. Our energies are all manifestations of the Primordial (Divine) Creative energy. Even Science recognizes that all is, at its core, diverse forms of energy. Atoms are solid, except when they're not. All in manifestation then, is Art. All is not 'Great Art', nor even decent Art. But all is indeed Art. Since we can prove, humans have been creating art, and seemingly immediately following this beginning, the sport of art criticism was also born. Criticism is itself an art form, one that is more form than art these days. I believe it fair to remark that more art criticism is not needed, but perhaps better to improve criticism than to eliminate it altogether. Criticism is a term with many negative connotations. By it, I mean to refer to something more akin to Art Appreciation, but I feel much of that field is driven by the expert opinions of art critics, and not the organic minds of the 'appreciators'.
Here is a basic Truth concerning 'Great Art', it requires no introduction. I define 'Great Art' as Art that, once removed from all context, social, political, historic, cultural, etc, it retains its ability to spark wonder and admiration. All that context & words can add to this quality of Art is an internal increase in an individual's capacity to appreciate it. Quite literally, on an energetic level, as well as emotionally & mentally, Great Art makes us better. Great Art is in fact True Beauty. Beauty makes us better artists. How is Beauty different from Creativity? In its attempts to answer (or ignore) this question, contemporary culture has failed us stupendously. Art is not Great because it is Creative (and don't get me started on 'originality', that's all about external validation), yet Great Art must be Creative. The function of the artist, and therefore us all, is to turn raw Creativity into Beauty. What exactly does this mean and/or entail? This question leads us into a major line of discussion regarding the bipolar nature of our society. We will shortly explore the links between Order/Rationality/Mind, Creativity/Intuition/Sexuality, and finally, Wisdom/Heart/Beauty. We are venturing into the dark heart of Alchemy. Are you excited? I know I am!
Let us begin with an observation. Our culture, deeply encouraged by our educational institutions, medical institutions, institutions of 'The Arts', etc. present us with a basic 'choice' in the orientation of our entire lives. [Brief digression: I repeated the word 'institutions' for a reason. Institutions are 'instituted' by someone... ponder that one.] This choice is between the Mind and the Emotions, primarily, and manifests in countless forms. We are constantly faced with the question, so often that few question the very validity of its basis (this is a classic propaganda 'trick', by the way). For example: Do you consider yourself more left-brained or right-brained? Are you more of a creative type, or are you all about that scientific rationalism? These should be trick questions, but the concepts behind them are so engrained in us that even if we smugly answer them correctly (with "Both"), we often remain unconsciously under the spell. And spell it is. Going to drop another knowledge bomb on you here: Emotions are more accurately associated with the Sexual center (reproductive system) than the Heart center. General confusion on this point is no coincidence. Spells, remember...
Getting back to our false choice. If we choose our 'creative side' over our 'rational side', or vice-versa, we setup an inner conflict (notice 'sides'). We lock two of our three major energy centers in mortal combat with one another. Then, we join the global fray to support our selected 'team'. This situation successfully keeps us miles from learning to balance our Creative/Intuitive/Emotional/Sexual impulse with our Order-seeking/Rational-thinking/Mental function. This Balance would enable us to send our whole energies into the Heart, where they are fused, creating Beauty. Beauty is the balance of Order + Creativity, Intuition + Logic, Emotions + Thoughts, placed under the dominion of Wisdom. When these powerful energies are combined without Heart (Wisdom), great Evil results. The processes of 'creating' True Beauty & Wisdom are identical. Beauty is the externalization of Wisdom, in fact. So Wisdom creates Beauty. But Beauty also creates Wisdom, as I referred to earlier by the phrase 'Great Art makes us better'. The false choice of this exploration has done a number on the base availability & successful discernment of both Beauty & Wisdom. This has enabled the free proliferation of infinite shades of False Beauty & False Wisdom. This Falseness is the absence of Heart (Divine Connection). Heart is our Life, immortality, divinity and sovereignty ('power') center. Whenever the esoteric Heart is disordered, Death results (eventually). The physical Heart is sort of a living, beating metaphor, as indeed all our organs are.
Beauty has a Divinely-gifted life of its own. Beautiful (Great) Art can be said to be 'alive'. What is 'alive'? Consciousness. Death is precisely a lack of consciousness. This is acknowledged by the near linguistic universality of the reference to sleep as a type of 'death'. (The phrase 'little death' and its connotations are also a very interesting line of inquiry.) Most of us 'lose' consciousness during sleep. It is also quite informative that our brainwaves decrease in frequency as we fall 'deeper' into sleep. Today's focus on 'high vibes', increasing one's vibration, etc. tends to neglect a crucial component of consciousness, that of Mind. Speed without order is exactly an explosion. Higher vibrations without mental clarity leads to sexual excess, either literally sexual, or a bunch of creative output with no resultant Beauty. Conversely, Order (think matter) without energy (Creative/Sexual/Life) is 'dead'. Sleep being Death is a far less accurate depiction than Death being a Sleep (another common expression). Anything 'dead', yet retaining its Natural (Divinely-provided) Order is a candidate for reanimation by natural processes. A seed contains this 'Order' (or pattern) of Life. As long as this Order remains intact, Life will issue forth in Nature's time & dictates. Energy + Order = Life. Beauty functions to impart both Order & Energy. This is the 'technical' details of just how 'Great Art makes us better'.
We interact with Art. Our eyes, for example, are struck by vibrating energy from a painting. These energetic interactions (occurring countless times per second) impact us far (and I mean vastly so) more than we are typically aware, or even can rightly imagine. If our painting has been created ('infused') with Wisdom, a coupling of Divine Order & Creative Energy, if it can be said to be Truly Beautiful, or Great Art, its impact is that of Healing. What is Healing, but the placing of things back into their Divinely-mandated Order, and further granting them Life energy? Remember earlier, when I stated that all is Art? Medicine is Art, see? Food is Art. Humans interacting with each other Heal (or Harm) each other. 'Harm' is the application of energy to destroy (literally to 'disorganize'). Harm disrupts Divine Order, leading to a decrease in a living system's ability to receive Life energy. Order disrupted exists in degrees. We think of Chaos as the expression of disorganization, and indeed, it is the ultimate. However, disrupted order is the presence of any defect, no matter how slight. 'Nearly Perfect' or 'Good Enough' are as harmful and distorted compared to exact Divine Order as complete Chaotic disaster. This also implies Beauty's great power of Healing. Healing leaps an infinite chasm between Divine Order and that which is not Divinely-organized. As this span is infinitely wide, distance is not mathematically significant (or even 'different'). Total Healing from a near-death state is no more miraculous, or more challenging to Divine Beauty than the Healing of a mere scratch.
Great Art can save lives, by bringing Energy & Order to where it is needed. Perhaps one can now understand the importance of replacing the lesser art of our current culture with Great Art. As all is Art, and externals reflect inner conditions, our role as artists (again, each of us humans) is the re-Ordering of our entire lives to meet Divine desires. In short, Healing ourselves is our ultimate mandate & charge.