Food, art, love and integrity
I was watching a low-aspiration programme called “diners, drive-ins and dives” – which goes for unabashedly comfort-food restaurants and shows you the goods – meat, fantastic diner interiors and wonderful looking American – cuisine dessert with many many bananas and pecans, and always – vast quantities – which for some reason are still an exotic concept in this part of the world.
I love this kind of food – which is why I’m watching this programme. According to research referred to (endorsed – definitely) by by Susan M Weinschenk, food is one of the three things that human beings can never ignore. i won’t spell out what the other two things are – as an adult you obviously know what you can’t ignore.
And pretty soon, our compere was in a barbecue restaurant, and the gentleman proprietor was bringing his spare ribs out of the Hickory oven.
“What’s the secret recipe – don’t say love” said the compere.
He knew he was going to say love.
And he indeed said love was one of the main ingredients.
But it didn’t sound wrong – the way he said it made it sound right. Love is a boolean value – it’s either true or false, so you can be a rough diamond, in a sticky-looking restaurant, but if your spare ribs taste unbelievable, all is forgiven, you can taste the love, and that will now be your favourite restaurant ever.
The same thing is true with violin playing.
Many violinists – and indeed humans, fret over whether somebody younger, better looking, or even… more talented… will take their place, or make them feel stupid.
So this can’t be right – is this happening? All my world experience and pathos goes into my work, and some kid can just do it better at 14. (see link to violin prodigy).
And i have the answer. It’s love. And also integrity. And these are things by which you measure yourself. because really the foe here – or the competition, or the enemy (if it helps to visualise an enemy) is yourself. Typically a martial arts master will state that his greatest enemy is himself, or his greatest battle is an internal battle, perhaps even that his feeling during a battle is benevolence. This is what we can learn from the martial arts master – integrity and love are boolean – either you’re honest or you’re not, either you put love into your work, or you don’t. But this is what people listen to violin music for – for the love, the integrity. Some might be listening for the skill, but forget those shallow types – you know what you’re doing – inside you know if your work has these things, and you might want skill, or flash, or bang, but if you ain’t got love – if you ain’t got integrity – you ain’t got nothing.
These are things to value. In art or design or music or life.
If god is love – love is god, those who claim love in vain are like the blasphemers of old – and and a work of art with love is a divine thing which all of us are capable of, but few of us have the inspiration or discipline to deliver.