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On Artists And Teachers

I have long believed that two of the very best things a human being can ever be are to be an artist and a teacher.

Artists are admirable because, well, you might say it is perhaps the only way a human can ever know what it is to be the Supreme Creator. The act of creating something from nothing more than ideas and inspiration is one of those profound things that make homo sapiens a different kind of animal. The ability to express abstract concepts, either as a concrete construct or as a transformed abstract interpretation itself, is something no other kind of animal can do. Most of all, in the act of creating a piece of art, the artist can engage his fellow humans in ways which challenge the mind. The stimulation of the audience's mind is akin to an act of giving, for making a viewer (or reader or listener or watcher) think about the work of art is a precious experience.

True artists create not for acclaim or glory, for these are selfish motives. You might argue that all artists are selfish; I may even agree with you on that point because you could say an artist draws from within himself/herself. The very best artists can create very personal works, but simultaneously these works have an element of a universal human experience in them. Who amongst us has never felt true happiness, no matter how it is gifted to us? Who amongst us has never felt the pain of rejection, or the suffering borne from the guilt of doing something harmful to someone else? True artists will inspire you to feel these things and many more; they can reach you at your core through the works that they create.

Teachers also are worthy of great admiration. In my own life, some of my most favorite people are, in fact, teachers. Most of them actually do teach in schools, but all of them are teachers in the sense that they give freely the fruits of their experiences. A teacher is not just someone who has earned the right, through education and the conferring of a degree, to educate others; rather, teachers are people who will very willingly share what they know about life. Like an artist, a good teacher just knows how to stimulate minds. A good teacher, like an artist, will engage you mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically. The best teachers never give you answers; rather, they would rather challenge you with questions; they would rather teach you not the answer, but how to ask the best kinds of questions.

Life is difficult, and sometimes it is ugly. But if you surround yourself with artists and teachers, if you open yourself up to such supreme exemplars of the best of human potential, if you appreciate such people in your life... then I hope that the burden is a little less difficult to bear, and the ugliness is actually just a mask for the beauty of learning from experience.

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