Freedom and Security in Life & the Arts

one happy camperCurrently, one item near the top of my Bucket List, i.e., the list of things that I want to do before I die, is to take an RV trip coast-to-coast across the United States.

If I were to take that dream even further, I’d even be documenting that trip for some kind of video or print publication, both to selfishly leave behind some sort of legacy after I die and also to potentially receive some critical acclaim for my study of cultures within a culture.  We can all dream, right?

Prisoners Await Their Freedom, Too

Realistically, waiting until retirement to begin planning a trip of a lifetime is probably the best way to insure that such a trip will never really happen.

Life, like our much-loved friends and families, has a way of discouraging our dreams.  Stay safe.  Be careful.  Be responsible. Don’t make this or that mistake.   We likely hear those words, and repeat them to others ourselves, more than we even realize, too.  We truly care about each other’s best interests, so we want to protect each other from unnecessary pain or heartaches.

Yet as children and teens, we all remember yearning to grow up and have the freedom to do whatever we want whenever we want.  Yet, when that time finally arrives, responsibilities and the needs for security, usually financial security, are quick to put their restrictive hands around us, kind of like a collared dog constrained by an invisible electrical perimeter fence.

Clearly we are not talking about the same restrictions that prisoners in jail have, since we can still go and do whatever our financial situations (and credit cards) allow us, though there are times when we are tempted to make that prison comparison in our minds.  Am I right?

Afraid to Be Free

Is that RV trip really a success if not long after you step out of the vehicle and set up in front of the fireplace on the perfect spring night, the camp-place food that you so carefully picked out but carelessly packed away in a cooler near your sleeping quarters attracts a hungry bear-cub family that mauls you to death later in the night under that perfect star-filled moonlight-lit sky?

Clearly careful planning, safeguarding, and awareness of the environment we are venturing into are needed for us to enjoy the freedom we seek to explore unfamiliar territories.  Who wants to be free to move about, but then be afraid or unprotected against whatever may or may not lurk behind every twist and turn along the way?

So, What Does This Have To Do With the Arts?

Consider the following phrase, pulled from the following post:  “The Global Search for Education:  More Arts Please”:  “The emphasis on discipline can kill the passion to make art.”  This quote was used in the context of explaining the there are aspects to teaching the arts that are lost if education only focuses on technical, testable, and isolated subject matter rather than a more integrated multi-disciplinary approach that embraces the benefits of both evaluation (studying) and creation (doing).

To me, that short quote exemplifies the tortuous conflict that I feel between freedom (“art” and “passion”) and safety (“discipline” and “structure”).

It is easy to forget that the inverse of that quote is true, too.  Passion without discipline, like the bear in the open country, can kill the unsuspecting visitor in unfamiliar territory, too.  

The open country should be big enough for both the wild bear and the prepared visitor to roam freely, wouldn’t you agree?

How would you describe the relationship you have between freedom and security?

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Photo Credit:  title=”one happy camper” by orvalrochefort, on Flickr

 

 

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