TMM: Suffering

Is suffering necessary in order to create art?

Quite the question, right?

Psychologists claim writers to be some %150 more susceptible to suffer from bi-polar disorder. Also, quite a lot of famous artists suffered from depression, schizophrenia, and a bunch of other disorders.

A lot of them committed suicide.

A few years ago I wrote a post on my blog on the same topic. There I argued that Max Blecher, a little known Romanian writer, who suffered immensely during his life due to Pott’s disease, which confined him to bed from the age of 19 until his death at 29. This guy, who suffered terribly, argued in one of his novels that there were a lot of writers who had lived long, happy lives.

Maybe he wished it to be true.

Maybe it made me reconsider the whole point of suffering.

What I can say now, some five years later, is that being great at something (whether it’s art, sport, business) requires the kind of dedication that doesn’t make much sense. To most people, life is a balancing act. You want to earn money, have a social life, find love, travel, enjoy some alone time, maybe create some art, play some sports… but truth is, if you want to be great at something, you have to dedicate your life to it. Sacrifice everything else for it.

The kind of dedication that turns you into a monk.

Does that make sense? Does it sound normal? No. It’s not. But if you have a terrible life, you are poor, ugly, and socially inept, what else can you do?

I feel this is an oversimplification of course, but there quite a bit of truth to it. When there’s nothing else to do, you dedicate yourself to your art. It’s your way of escaping the hell that surrounds you. It’s your way of finding purpose. Maybe the broken are the only ones who choose to dedicate themselves to art, in which case correlation does not imply causality.

Anyone could become a great artist if they were willing to sacrifice 10-12 hours a day to bettering themselves. After all, art is not this esoteric, offered by the gods kind of thing, but rather a craft. And any craft can be learned. It just takes a huge volume of work until you become truly good.

5 thoughts on “TMM: Suffering

  1. Suffering is part of life, everyone has to push through it at some point.It’s the human form that we came into this life that causes suffering, it’s what the angels come down to earth to be human for some again and again. It’s only when we’ve hit our lowest point that we see the light of the new dawn giving us hope. Songwriters also write some of their best music right after they experience a breakup. Everyone can relate to that feeling when you lose someone close to you. Artists tape into the primal need, the universal they make us feel with the pit of our stomach the anguish that only lovers feel when they have to move forward without their loved one. Either from death or just a breakup, that feeling is something we all feel. And thinking back on those times in our lives that caused the most pain, are the points where we learned to grow or just move on with no explanation of why things like that happen.N Somo one can get out of experiencing suffering.It’s proof that we are alive. That we had something to lose, that we had to grow or move away from something in order to grow. Acceptance of suffering is something I’ve had to learn, I have Multiple Sclerosis and live every day with pain, fatigue and the discomfort from the disease, but the one thing that helps me is to stay focused and to keep busy.and to distract myself. Distraction is the one thing that can help me push through and so i sit down to do my writing of novels and short stories and before I know it I’m somewhere else and I don’t feel the pain. I also feel that spending too much time thinking about suffering isn’t good for us, it’s better to accept that everyone has some sort of suffering in their past or they are experiencing it in the moment., The person you see in the streets could be experiencing the worst pain they ever imagined. And sometimes it’s good to smile at them and hope that is the one thing in their day where they find some respite from their suffering. What goes around comes around. And just when you think your suffering is unbearable a person walking by you, a stranger takes the time to smile at you.

  2. When it comes to art or a passion I consider “suffering” to be closer to “sacrifice” in that the process of truly indulging oneself in their work and immersing completely means that a small part of them may have died in order to be replaced by a new fire.

    1. Funny but I just got your reply, it looks like you posted your comment on Nov 6 2018 and it took until May for me to get it. Is this Irevuo the Cristine? as that was who i was commenting for, on your post about suffering I think you are like me, you have many blog names. Yes, you are right about sacrificing is like when you immerse yourself in your artform, yes, when I write my books and short stories, i do give a part of myself, a part of my ghost to it’s creation.

      Thanks for that perspective. I enjoy your wordpress posts, keep writing my fellow author, my fellow sufferer. Life is that light that fire we use to tap into the eternal the universal need to explain and create, yes standing in the fire that we all must do, to stand up for something or someone we do have to do that even if we go down in the flames its worth exposing ourselves for the good.

  3. I thought of Goethe when I read this. Though he wrote one of the most influential melodramatic novels in history (The Sorrows of Young Werther), it seems Goethe himself did not suffer overly from anxiety. He lived a long life, had many loves, and died peacefully in his bed.

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