In a world of rat races and overly-competitive one-upmanship, we need creative, rebellious, and courageous individuals who have the capacity to catalyze the world with their art. The comfortable are too comfortable.
They need to be taken down a notch. The disturbed struggle more than they need to. They need to be uplifted and encouraged. Creative individuals have this power. They not only inspire, they inspire awe through daily acts of courage and love.
Like Ernst Fischer said, “In a decaying society, art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, art must show the world as changeable and help to change it.”
Here then are four ways to disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed.
1. Instigate Artistically
“They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are THE ADVERTISERS and they are laughing at you. You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like whenever they like with total impunity. F#$! THAT. Any advert in a public space that gives you no chance whether you see it or not is yours.
It’s yours to take, rearrange and reuse. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head. You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing. You especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have rearranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.” ~ Banksy
Learn how to trump their false artillery with your genuine art. Be the piano player in the middle of a riot. Be the crazy hippie placing flowers into the gun barrels of sycophantic lawmen. Celebrate art, not violence.
Free yourself to be creatively mischievous. Use your art as a tool to leverage wonder and awe against the stagnant ugliness of the State. A person using a gun is a symbol of failure. Guns are for the weak and the fearful. Violence is for the immature.
True courage isn’t threatening someone with violence, it’s creatively counting coup on your enemy through satiric jest. True courage is standing on your feet with creative joy and love in your heart, holding a pen, a camera, or a paint-can, with a cheeky smile on your face while the tanks of madmen threaten to roll over you.
Instigate! Cause a ruckus in all courtrooms. Poke holes in every so-called law book. Plant tiny seeds of chaos in any and all stagnant realms of so-called order. Prove to us that the pen is mightier than the sword. The next generation will thank you.
2. Be boisterous with your sincerity
“Tradition is the illusion of permanence.” ~ Woody Allen
Don’t be serious. Be sincere. Seriousness is too uppity and snobbish. Sincerity is genuine and authentic. If you ever find yourself being overly serious about things, especially yourself, take yourself down a notch by sincere self-interrogation.
Get rowdy with your authentic expression, especially in stagnant environments that don’t cultivate self-expression. Doing so shocks the system –both individually and socially.
It tonalizes an otherwise atonal culture, forcing it to think outside the box. Don’t be afraid of being wrong about something. Sometimes you have to figure out what’s wrong before you can figure out what’s right. Don’t be afraid to appear hypocritical.
Hypocrisy is an inherent aspect of the human condition anyway. You might as well own it, roll with it, use it to open minds and close outdated systems. Use it to shake things up. Just be sincere.
And remember to have a good sense of humor. You’ll need it against the stone-casting Confederacy of Dunces.
3. Be Tricky with your empathy
“Love does not imply pacifism.” ~ Derrick Jensen
Be compassionate, but be stern. Be caring, but practice hard love. Be thoughtful of others, but know when to put your foot down. Don’t be afraid to be someone’s wakeup call. They may not like it at first, but they will thank you for it later.
And if they don’t, oh well. At least you tried to do the right thing. Think Jesus flipping over tables and flogging greedy bankers in righteous anger.
Like Gloria Steinem said, “The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.”
Sympathize with the lot of others, but don’t forget to stir some pots, ruffle some feathers, and kneecap some high-horses. Love your neighbor, but take him down a notch if he’s a close-minded extremist douchebag who takes himself too seriously.
We should not be expected to remain calm and happy in the face of ecocide, rape, misogyny, slavery, and greed. Rather we should be compelled toward righteous anger. But we should also be obliged to help victims become warriors.
“Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.” ~ Michelangelo
The people are afraid. As such, the human condition is in a state of emergency. The walking dead, the sheeple, the cogs in the clockwork, are flailing about upon the immoral waters of the current unsustainable system. We need people who are not afraid. We need people who are not zombies. We need people who have shed their sheep-clothing.
We need people who have un-cogged themselves from the preconditioned clockwork. We need people who have come alive. But in order for this awakening to occur, there must be an inner tipping point, a flipped switch, or a state of emotional Eureka that reveals to us how our old ways of doing things are parochial and outdated.
Like James Russell Lowell said, “Time makes ancient good uncouth.”
As such, in order to moralize an otherwise immoral system we need amoral agency. We need people who are willing to be amoral agents within overly-moral or overly-immoral systems.
This requires a particular flavor of courage that may be unpopular, but is excruciatingly necessary for things to evolve in a healthy way. Amoral agency flips the tables on the ethical dynamic.
It reveals how the middle ground is the only healthy foundation. It discloses the golden mean. It unleashes the golden ratio. The Amoral Agent (courage) is the desirable middle between the two extremes of morality (cowardice) and immorality (recklessness).
Comfort the disturbed through amoral compassion. Disturb the comfortable through amoral interrogation. Cowardice is a Goliath. Recklessness is a Goliath also. David is the amoral agent with a slingshot who has the potential to topple giants.