In the past couple of years, people have begun to take it for granted that we are experiencing the decline of civilization. Between Donald Trump’s presidency, global warming, corporate corruption and the popularity of Pokémon Go, folks are ready to weep over the current state of affairs. And while it is true that there are a lot of problems with the world, they are sensationalized in the media in such a way that diminishes the good things in the world. Especially if you are addicted to your twitter feed and constantly scanning CNN and the news crawl in public spaces, you may adopt a pretty bleak attitude towards the direction in which humanity is heading.
However, while it’s easy to grow obsessed with all the world’s problems, there’s a lot of good stuff going on too, grassroots community initiatives to bring about positive change, as well as musicians and artists who bring people together and help us see the beauty in the world.
If you were considering joining a gym, reading more or learning to cook as your 2018 resolutions, add pursuing an artistic hobby like painting, writing poetry or performing music to your list. Even if you feel like you have no idea what your doing, you can pursue an artistic hobby in an open and intuitive way that may provide a meditative respite from what can sometimes feel like an overwhelming and chaotic world. Take the time to learn a new instrument in 2018 and you may find yourself obsessing less over the goings on in the White House and sleeping more at night.
Not only is art a great way to relive some of the stress of modern day life, it’s also a great way to connect with others and express your discontent. Sharing art brings people together and wakes people up to the beauty of the world, it can also be an outlet for expressing the darker side of our experience and psyche, which we often sidestep and ignore – often to our own detriment.
Another reason that art and music are so important in 2018 is that it connects us to a rich tradition that reminds us of the enduring spirit of humankind. From the plays of Ancient Greece to Medieval Triptychs, Mozart’s Symphonies and the novels of Virginia Woolf, we are reminded that throughout history, humans have always been able to create beautiful, thoughtful art out of pain and strife. And while we may not all be budding Mozarts or Virginia Woolves, we can still admire our artistic heroes and create modest works that can bring us pride and satisfaction.
Best of all, connecting with a historical tradition reminds us that from decade to decade and century to century, things change. Governments fall, cultural trends change, the fortunes of certain nations shift, things are in a constant state of change. In our sometimes short-sighted 140-character culture, it is sometimes difficult to trust that things will change for the better. Art is a great way to forget about the news for a little while, and connect with a rich tradition that reminds us that the present is not permanent. So grab a guitar or a paintbrush and make something cool, there’s nothing holding you back!
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