Since returning from Antarctica where I recently had my mind blown, I’ve been trying to stay out of the rabbit hole of thought, yet get my head around what we humans are meant to be doing on this earth – and why. What’s our purpose here?
In my candid observations from my business traveler’s window seat, I can safely and temporarily conclude that we do indeed consume – a lot – namely for the purposes of earning a living; circulating our money, buying/trading, etc; possibly for the purpose of keeping barbarism at bay and/or for plain entertainment. That’s not to say that is our primary purpose, but I understand we have to do something while we’re here and consuming is what we’re currently good at. It seems happiness is a common pursuit shared by many a cult and culture, which you could say is the driving factor behind our rate of consumption as well as the specific items we might collect. Yet our desire to be happy doesn’t stop there. We also wish to be fulfilled, sexy, rich, smart, powerful, whatever. And for the 6 billion of us who have any money at all, let alone water, those desires way overshadow our needs. Obviously. So let’s just think about the happiness part. It’s free after all.
This got me thinking about art, which is also free (to look at)…usually.
Are we the only species who make art? My cats bring me dead rodents which I’ve always understood to be tokens of affection. This could be a kind of art or art form.
I also know spiders build amazing webs while whales have songs that are passed on from generation to generation, and monkeys can apparently compose a poem if given a typewriter and enough time – but do these creatures measure their creations based on quality, taste, imagination, concept, attitude or design? Do they critique their work or the work of other animals they way we do?
Then I stumbled on the videos below and starting sleeping more soundly. Behold the Bowerbirds; amazing creatures whose works of art and fine art collections are created for the sole purpose of seducing a mate. This is a fine example of art for the sake of art which in my opinion is the result of Love hard at work. Yes Love, the word I often use for Creation, seen here expressing itself in bird form, reminding us that humans are not alone in the quest for happiness. And while it is charming to think other creatures can create in ways outside of themselves revealing they too are optimistic, it also suggests that every living thing has the potential to experience a broken heart.