Inspiration underrated? Perspiration overrated?
It's been a while since I blogged....I thought about one on musicians relationship with substances....maybe another time (short version: The brain has its creative side and it's logical, judgemental side....musicians, or any artists need to quiet that critical side in order to make that leap of faith that presenting creations to the world entails....use drugs and alcohol to uninhibit....and usually overdo it! Often doing permanent damage to their “good judgement” side) But I digress, because the subject I want to address today is a term we use without really analyzing: Inspiration. We say something is “inspirational”...or someone “inspires young people”...what exactly are we talking about?
We could start with the views of the ancients...to them, it literally meant that a spirit had entered someone, just as, to them, a “genius” might be receiving secret insights from their personal genie!! Unclear whether every level of society took those ideas as symbolic or real (Remember in the Iliad when the goddess “Rumor” ran through the camp creating discord...there might have been a demi-god named Discord as well, but this may have been more “imagery” than actual literal religious belief...unless there were republicans even in those days)....but we don't believe in spirits...do we?
No, we're not going to church now. But this is what I think inspiration means: The ability to create in the mind of other people (or to recognize in oneself) the idea “Oh, wow! A human being can actually do THAT!” (Or solve that, write that, draw that)
“Wow! I'm transported by that experience....I gotta raise my game!” When I hear Otis Redding, or Aretha....Mike Bloomfield or Tower of Power, I still think “Wow, a human being can do that!” Or it might be non-musical...Shakespeare, Richard Pryor...or even Lupe Fiasco or Manny Ramirez, or ...wait for it....Joel Osteen might have something that speaks to the inner person.....without inspiration, we're just ants scurrying around an anthill....with it, we have the opportunity to strive for our highest potential...to reach beyond our grasp.
And as for the actual existence of spirits....well, another time for that one.