On Living In Your Head

We were talking today in my Aesthetics class about Plato’s views on art. He was, lets say, not a fan. Many of his ideas about art and artists are still with us. Art isn’t real work. Artists are too lazy/incompetent to get a real job. Sound familiar?

He’s wrong, of course, and he knows where to stick it. Kidding.

One particular objection, though, which I thought was worth thinking about more was that artists spend all their time inside their own head. Granted, Plato was more concerned with how this affected their search for truth, but it’s important even in a more mundane frame of reference.

I admit, I’m guilty of spending lots of time between my ears. How bad is that? I’m not sure, but it’s been on my mind a lot lately.

I think there are certain advantages. I think artists are a lot more introspective and contemplative then most people. They tend to care more about why the do what they do and fell how they feel. Does it make them better people? Not always, but it certainly spurs self-discovery and, hopefully, self-improvement.

From my perspective, there’s certainly something to be said for thinking about why you do what you do. I have known lots of people who seem to go through life a bit on autopilot, and they always seem to be so open to suggestion, to peer pressure. I’ve never liked the idea of doing things just because everyone else was doing it, or because it seemed like the right thing to do, but then again, I’m closer to the introspective artist end of the scale.

Hunkering down between your ears can have it’s problems too though. It’s rare to experience the in-the-moment sensation I was just talking about. It can be hard to tune out the self-analyzing voice when you don’t want it around.

For me, though, the worst part is how easy it is to get ahead of yourself. If part of you is always thinking about how the future might play out, how you might respond, it is easy to get to where you forget those things haven’t happened yet. It’s not so much that you’re likely to confuse the situations for real events – I’m sure there’s a good, Latin name for that used by psychologists and doctors in white coats. However, it’s difficult because your feelings about a situation can be tainted by those played out scenarios almost as if they had happened. It’s difficult, because often enough you will have thought your way to some conclusion based on speculation, but the people around you don’t have the intermediate steps and so think you’re, well, weird. Or at least confusing.

Anyway, I’ve been in my own head quite a bit lately.Luckily, tomorrow I get to play in the dirt (always a good, in the moment sort of activity) and this weekend is looking to be a bit easier.

Enough of this artist talk. Get some sleep!

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