What are we surviving for?

There’s a common belief that medicine saves lives, and that art doesn’t. 

(Or, “Medicine actually saves lives though.”)

This isn’t a constructive story. Nor is it a true story. 

This story was invented by people whose myopia for calculation blinded them to the facts. The benefits of salaries, scientific theory, and fear (disguised as practicality) blinds them to the realms of possibility.

While medical doctors saved many millions of lives during the pandemic, artists gave billions of lives purpose. 

Billions of us hung on to our sanity by watching movies, reading books, listening to music, viewing visual art on Instagram, playing games, and eventually—enthusiastically—visiting galleries and museums again.

It’s certainly true that I wouldn’t call an artist if I were experiencing stomach problems. 

It’s also true that my doctor didn’t have much medical advice for me waking up after six hours of sleep. That’s okay for me. In the wee hours of the morning, when sleep escapes me, I have art. Art gives me peace. 

Art helps us make sense of our lives. An artist wields precision not through a surgical operation, but a spiritual one.

As C.S. Lewis writes:

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” 

Medicine helps us survive, art helps us live.

Art matters.

Your art matters.

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