Painting pictures appears clearly to me to be one of those trifling , insignificant arts, which has never been of any substantial advantage to mankind …it is the inseparable companion of voluptuousness and pride.
Edward Hicks (Quaker 1780 –1849)
I had a dream this week. In this dream I stood in a Quaker Meetinghouse and built an altar. If you are a Quaker you will smile at this absurdity because Friends do not have altars in their places of worship.
Nevertheless, it was a dream, so I built this altar. Higher and higher, week after week, month by month, until finally it was complete. It was beautiful in its design and execution. Made of hand cut stone and white marble.
I came to Meeting for Worship the following week and the altar had been torn down. Broken into pieces and scattered across the floor. I was so angry! Who would do this destruction! Who would ruin my creation! I was indignant! I was self-righteous! I, I …
When I awoke I came to realize that what was upon this altar was pride. This dream was all about pride.
To be selfless is considered commendable but difficult. To be selfish the opposite but, oh so easy. I think that there has to be a middle way.
I believe that to be creative you need a strong sense of self. To be self-ful. You must have a point of view to have a vision. The message of the dream for me was to be self-ful but not prideful.
Here is the message for you…are you building any altars that need to be torn down?
Ps. You will note that the quote by Edward Hicks is quite ironic considering that he painted all of his life and is the most widely known Quaker folk artist. Also Friends have not frowned upon the arts for at least 100 years, so I feel that I am in the clear…