In recent posts, I’ve argued that the holding up of selflessness as a virtue can be quite damaging. Now let me take that one step further: There’s a reason why Satan wants you to be self-less:
This theme of the killing of desire runs throughout a lot of the music that I love. Naturally, artists tend to be people who feel deeply. We all have heard the statistics of how artists are more prone to depression and suicide than most people. So naturally artists are also people who wrestle deeply with their desires and the danger of having a heart that is alive in a broken world.
I love that the work of these artists – who in all likelihood don’t even believe the same things that I believe – contains within it deep truths about life, matters of the heart, and desire.
David Whyte, a poet of whom I am a big fan, says that poetry is, “the art of articulating things that you didn’t know you knew”. I love this definition. One of the reasons I’m so drawn to art in general is the ways it so often inadvertently articulates deep truths of life that are far beyond what we could have actually communicated in “regular” conversation. I think it’s so beautiful that a musician can simply write a poem about how he’s feeling at a particular moment, and packed into those words can be truths that go far beyond what he was explicitly thinking about.
Here’s one song by an artist struggling with this dilemma: whether to feel or go numb to remain safe from pain: