Henry Moore's idea - that one should work all life towards a slightly unattainable goal - appeals to me: That way, I can have meaning at work and yet never be satisfied.
I am sure I have written about it and yet I write about it again. This is because at moments like this, when that goal seems remote, I get a peculiar sense about goals in general.
It is not the conventional wisdom about setting goals and linearly progressing towards it bit by bit. That can only be possible with goals which can be clearly defined, which, by definition, are not unique, mediocre. But for the goals that ought to be created, which are new, which remain just slightly outside the possibility of ever being attained without ever appearing absurd, there isn't a straight path.
Rather, they are ones which, with their fuzzy yet constant existence, allow us to follow an orbital path, balancing just right the sense of purpose and the daily business of living, with us inching towards it with each iteration of serendipity and homecoming. And, therefore, they appear proximate and remote in turn, warming and giving meaning in the former phase and maintaining and supplying the faith in the latter.
And, I maintain an artist's goal, a creative goal, must be one like this. The linear pull of mediocre goal is completion and death for the artist, a business of selling soul so alien and alienating! And, almost everything falls into it: The quest for bigger house, faster car, greater fame or higher status, all the things which keep people all around yoked to an obsessive yet meaningless quest, are all designed to limit, rather than expand, possibilities for a creative life. They are designed to deny serendipity, any diversions, any alternative possibilities! I am happy that I found a goal perhaps that embrace serendipity, allow a centrifugal existence as much as it binds, gives me levity and gravity at the same time.
I am yet to overcome one of the constraints of mediocrity that I grew up with: I can't let go of conformity. That was programmed into me since my childhood, and while faith abandoned me and I escaped the terrible boredom of career cycles, I couldn't fully overcome conformity. Rather, I fashioned my search for the unusual cloaked strictly in the usual - I became an immigrant on my way to see the world, settled, almost, to a place which was antithetical to the whole precept of the journey. I escaped one set of expectations only to be strung into another.
That sense of distant yet effervescent goal is the only escape from this rootedness, its gravitational invite only guarantee to life anchor yet again. This is what I wish to do now. That it would unpick the settled expectations is all the more reasons to do it. Balance between the sense of responsibility, the reason why I conform, and a commitment to my creative aspiration, the reason why I live, is never a settled thing. It is rather, as I am finding out, a constant game of shifts and shocks, because the only other alternative to close oneself to all the possibilities of life, close the mind and let it rot.
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