...... ................................JUNE...-12


An Aspect of ART

What is it about IDLING that annoys so many people? Are they just incapable of enjoying it, and envious? Or what?

WORK, its opposite, has always struck me as something to avoid if possible. It might be necessary or worthwhile for what can be achieved, but to me WORK is definitely an encumbrance, a burden, a liability... How is it, I used to wonder, that so many people take to it so readily? I mean, even really duff jobs are often preferred to no-job at all.

I'm not talking about income here - millionaires frequently get hooked on some thankless (if highly profitable) task... Don't they appreciate the opportunity to partake in the art of idling, the benefits of no-effort, resting the brain, shifting their consciousness slightly closer to some condition akin to nirvana? Don't they realise time is limited, that it happens only once?

You may as well try telling a chain smoker that their lungs are being choked-up and destroyed, or an alcoholic that their liver is getting pickled, or a gambler that their finances are all to hell, and so on and so forth, and expect any of it to stick, as to try telling a workaholic about the STUPENDOUS advantages of IDLING.

All these people are stuck in a blinding habit, they are addicts, hooked on whatever opiate they stumbled into... except that the WORK habit has been drummed into them from infant school, subsequently reinforced in secondary school, then followed-up with media propaganda that hammers home the absurd notion that free-thinking is wrong-headed, and that to IDLE is BAD, to WORK is GOOD.

I knew someone once who worked in the weapons industry. Many people spend their days, years even, designing/making cluster bombs, missiles, battleships, and the rest. If all the people in the world engaged in such projects decided instead to become idlers - even if, for motivation, their salary was doubled - only a numbskull, surely, would argue that the planet and humankind wouldn't be loads better-off.

Apart from looking after people who need looking after, the most crucial work should be towards automating everything - minimise WORK, effort, consumption, waste, environmental damage.... maximise IDLING, free time, pleasure, enjoyment.... A certain play-off between, for instance, setting-up automatic systems and idling, and between consumption and enjoyment, might be necessary, but these aims are light-years from what currently drives the mad system, and the even madder almost universal addiction to WORK, STRIVING, EFFORT, ENSLAVEMENT...

Not for me though. Not since 40 at any rate. I'm just a BIG intractable, incorrigible, irredeemable idler. It never fails to astonish me how so few of those who could, have ditched the mad addiction that's been shoved down their throats from nursery school, and opted instead for a life of ease and pleasure.... freedom from hassle and agro and menace, freedom to move around at will... OK, so you can't have that Jag or that mansion you were working towards, nor that vast security-shield bank-balance you were intending to take with you into eternity, nor either the immortality you'd need to spend it (that was never on the cards); but hey, you idlers out there, you're free! Enjoy... you owe it to yourself.

AND you owe it to the planet...


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Some decades ago I noticed an interesting phenomenon with art that doesn't happen with non-art - at least, not so noticeably. For instance, imagine a photo with a minor blemish: a weird reflection, say, or contrast error in a small area of the shot. The chances are you wouldn't take much notice, you’d be focused on the main picture - maybe you’d even ignore the blemish altogether?

If, on the other hand, you're observing a painting that shows an error, you'd probably notice the error most of all …at least, it would surely be prominent. By ‘error’ I mean artistic ineptitude: an inconsistent perspective, say, or part of a building out-of-place, a figure out-of-proportion... it would stand out and perhaps even ruin the picture. 

Likewise with writing. Reading an essay, most of us would be more intent on taking-in what was relevant to the main topic than worrying about an out-of-place detail or sentence. We’d simply glide over it. The essay would be flawed, but no problem - just a minor issue.

However, if it's a story then disaster. It could be an out of place event or any inappropriate detail, but since we are emotionally connected (as compared with intellectually for an essay) a flaw will stand out much more than the mere few words that comprise it. So a quite small fault can cause a massive jolt for the reader - yet can be easily corrected. 

But there's another aspect to this. Which is: imagine if when Michelangelo had finished sculpturing that brilliant 'David' his boss had said 'But I thought you were going to make a woman! Change it.

Doubtless, Michelangelo would have started anew and made a completely different statue. An incompetent amateur like me, though (esp an idle one), would think: well, the arms and legs are about the same, so how can I turn the rest of this lump of stone into a Madonna? And I'd start chipping away at the penis and testicles.... plaster on a couple of small breasts, smoothing not-quite-invisibly (because such corrections are probably impossible to hide) over the joins, and so on…

And it's the same with writing, I reckon. Where a few crucial details are easily changed, the atmosphere, or tone, of a story takes loads more work. So when I try changing a story, the gist of it, that is, the outcome, say, or some major event, I really have to change it all the way through. Otherwise I end up with a story where events don't match with the tone of the main text. That's when the reader gets confused and gives-up. Probably, a really experienced writer would manage to solve this without making many adjustments throughout - assuming (s)he preferred for some reason not to start afresh. But for an amateur like me, no chance. I've tried it a few times and it never works.

This is not the same at all as just tidying little faults (or even BIG ones) in logic or flow, as a painter would correct minor errors in a picture that stand out inappropriately, so that they blend-in and match the rest of the picture/story.

What I'm saying here is that to actually alter the general picture once it's more-or-less finished is, I think, a BIG mistake. Bloody start afresh, is the answer, with a new painting, new story, sculpture, musical score… whatever.

Even so, there’s always exceptions. I reckon, for instance, I've made 'The Kiss' work (just about?) in its new clothes, as it were… or should that be: without the clothes? At least, with salacious excesses removed, I’m sure it works better. But even talented writers complain of the difficulties in creating salaciously indulgent scenes without moving into a kind of tackiness that renders it fit only for pulp. Even the hardest porn shouldn’t go there, no way should it... but that’s another story.

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