When it comes down to it, human beings are very complex creatures, who have tremendous capabilities, and an impressive potential for greatness lies inside every individual. One of the greatest pressures of our time, is using your life, and the potential you have, to contribute something meaningful to this world. Humans have an instinctual fear of being forgotten, which varies from person to person as far as intensity level, but is a feeling integral to the human experience. Whether you want to be forever remembered as a famous figure, or simply want to live on through the hearts of loved ones, everybody wants to leave something for the world to remember them by.
But as years pass, and as time changes, we, as a society, only remember the Greats. People like Van Gogh, Isaac Newton, Beethoven, and Albert Einstein will probably be discussed in schools and homes for hundreds of years, or at the very least be credited for their findings and creations. They are held in our memory for the work that they shared with the world, and left it forever changed.
However there is an ugly truth to being Albert Einstein, a heavy weight carried in the fictitious tale of the apple falling on Newton’s head, and a harsh reality to scientific or mathematical breakthroughs as we know them. One probably wouldn’t even catch it unless they had been searching for it as I have. The fact of the matter is this: anybody could have discovered gravity or the theory of relativity, and if Einstein and Newton had never been born, someone would have been there to come along after them, and make the same discoveries. There is nothing specifically unique to either of them, that would make them the only person who could have made their discoveries and contributions to the science world, and that is strictly the harsh reality of it all.
There is hope, though. Not all creations have this downside of making the innovators and creators of new ideas irrelevant because of their replaceability. Creations made through the pathways of art can only be done by the individual who dreams them up. Nobody else could have painted starry night if Van Gogh was never born. Nobody but Beethoven could have composed those influential symphonies. Art, and what one individual can create, can never be replicated by any other person, and that is what makes it such an important concept in our society, and to the human experience as a whole.
We become entranced in stories told through cinema and film, or fall overwhelmingly into the familiarity an old favorite song. Art, on any platform, offers an outlet for emotions and ideas that is unique to anything else. That is precisely what makes this music-scene culture such an interesting one. It’s the individuality that only art can give a voice to. It is people with creative and intuitive minds who write the words that make fans swoon, and pull melodic lines out of stringed instruments plugged into an amp turned up to 11. It is those who have something to say and have found a space to say it.
When everything is said and done, there’s one truth that will stick with me personally as a 17 year old in 2018, and that is that through art and creative expression, I can put something into this world that nobody else can. I have the ability to create and leave behind thoughts and expressions that only I could have possibly come up with. In a society that grooms us from day one that the only things that matter are test scores and your grade point average, the idea that I could produce individual thoughts and music and art was a near epiphany, even though it really shouldn’t have had to be.
You will always be replaceable as the manager at a company, or as an accountant or an insurance salesman, but nobody who has ever been born or ever will be born can ever produce the same artwork as you. That is what is important, and that is what this generation will leave for the world after it. In a system that tells you you need to be remembered, but then molds you for uniformity instead of individuality, we cannot ever let go of the one outlet for our voices, which is art.
Written by Amy Arnett
Cover Photo by Jo Anna Edmison