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1/17/07 / Lightbulbs

2:55 PM Just discovered that someone I wrote an e-mail to months ago did read it, but didn’t respond. I wonder why. It’s a rhetorical question, really, but a genuine one still.

Light bulb

8:22 PM Light bulbs. Who makes them and where do they come from? I know this much: If everyone asked as many questions as I do, there would be no light bulbs to light this world, this computer, the roads we drive on, and the light I need to look at you when it’s dark outside.

The Dow Chemical Co. advertises about the human element in their latest ad campaign. This human element is present in the light bulb, from invention to creation to production to delivery to utilization. From chewing gum to rocketships, the human element is behind everything. This human element is the artist’s domain. I ask, can the artist exist without the human?

Even in the miracles of nature there’s the human element – to perceive it. What does the tiger’s ferocious beauty mean if I’m not human enough to perceive it? If that weren’t subtle enough, there are so many shades to this crucial element that a clean little Bell curve can be constructed to say what’s more human and what’s less. That’s where society enters the equation: Whatever more people follow and believe becomes more acceptably human that what the outliers practice.

Back to lightbulbs…am I to believe that the people who made those bulbs that lighted the top of that semi-truck driving the other way on the freeway as I was coming home, am I to believe those people think feel and function the same as me? Do they ask questions when they’re making light bulbs everyday? It’s very possible, but I can’t imagine it no matter how wide I open my mind. I’ve said repeatedly that the world rests on the shoulders of these people who work to create what’s useful. So where does the artist fit in the human picture?

The artist doesn’t create what’s useful. When has art ever been useful? But stop and consider the base of the human pyramid in those working people. After all, despite the vast difference I placed just now between them and me, we can’t really be that different. We’re both still human after all. What do I need to function? Motivation, inspiration, energy, reason. Is it fair to say that art provides all those things? It’s never the same thing to two people, but what ever is? Why does the working person spend the money he makes manufacturing lightbulbs on a show, or a book, or a CD? That’s where the artist fits in the human picture.

9:40 PM A friend characterized me quite succinctly today. He said: Sometimes, you’re too smart for your own good. Given that I respect this person and his take on such matters, I’m inclined to believe him and give his statement serious thought, and in conclusion I must say I agree with him.

10:39 PM I wish people would share their thoughts by leaving comments.

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