The sunshine of life springs from twin suns. We might name them love and artwork. We might name them connection and creativity. Each can take many kinds. Each, if they’re value their salt and we ours, ask us to indicate up as our entire selves. Each are devices of unselfing.
It’s usually within the cradle of friendship — a phrase not for use carelessly — that our inventive energies are strengthened and renewed. Via its tendrils, we discover group — a spot the place our personal inventive work is mirrored and refracted by that of others to solid a shimmering radiance of mutual magnification that borders on magic.
This important relationship between creativity and connection has been tensed and twisted within the period of Instagram, Twitter, and Fb, the place self-marketing so readily masquerades as “good friend”-ship.
In 1950, epochs earlier than our social media have been however a glimmer within the eye of the attainable, Henry Miller (December 26, 1891–June 7, 1980) reckoned with the seedling of our fashionable predicament in his meditation on artwork and life. Contemplating the downfall of artwork in his personal epoch, when the age of publicity and mass media was simply starting to maim tradition, he laments the state of the inventive group:
No communication. No actual intercommunication. No concern for the important, refined issues which imply every part to a author, painter or musician. We stay in a void spanned by probably the most intricate and elaborate technique of communication. Every one occupies a planet to himself. However the messages by no means get by.
After honing his concepts on 20 years of residing, Miller took up the topic once more in his uncommonly fantastic 1968 e book To Paint Is to Love Once more. In a passage simply as hauntingly true of the compulsion for social media “likes,” he writes:
How distressing it’s to listen to younger painters speaking about sellers, reveals, newspaper evaluations, wealthy patrons, and so forth. All that comes with time — or won’t ever come. However first one should make buddies, create them by one’s work.
This mutually sustaining circle of inventive kinship begins with a single lifeline of connection. These of us who’re fortunate to have it in our personal lives can simply determine it, all the time with a swell of gratitude. Miller writes:
Often the artist has two life-long companions, neither of his personal selecting… — poverty and loneliness. To have a good friend who understands and appreciates your work, one who by no means permits you to down however who turns into extra devoted, extra reverent, because the years go by, that may be a uncommon expertise. It takes just one good friend… to work miracles.
Complement with David Whyte on the deepest which means of friendship, Kahlil Gibran on the constructing blocks of significant connection, and this virtually unbearably pretty classic illustrated ode to friendship, then revisit Henry Miller on the measure of a life nicely lived and the worth of and antidote to despair.