Sacrificing people for art

This blog post is a favourite of mine. I wrote it after watching a poet expose herself and her husband to an audience of seniors. It was appauling to me but at least a good blog post came of it. :)

I wrote this on November 25, 2009 on

It just upset me so much today when I heard a woman speaking about her writing and she asked the audience if they believed it was better to sacrifice people – their family, friends and whoever – for the sake of writing with integrity or would it be better to sacrifice writing for the people in your life.

And as an example of not thinking of others (she literally used those words), she read a poem about making “love” to her husband. Or more correctly, him making “love” to her while she daydreamed about other things.

The descriptions in this poem embarrassed me. The idea that she was telling us, in any form, about these private moments with her husband, made me feel literally sick.

It made me think, what is the goal of art? Why is art important? Upon quick thought, I would guess that the point of art is to add positivity to this world, specifically to people.

(Just so you know, it turns out the husband was sitting in the back and he said he likes her poetry. So I guess he doesn’t really care that these intimate moments together are no longer too intimate, to say the least.)

But why do people think they have the right to do whatever the hell they want in the name of doing the best writing, painting or whatever that they can?

I totally understand that considering other people in your decisions can feel like a major inhibition. I mean, I experience that very often in my writing and I often try to decide which is most important or I ask myself, “How can I write this in a way that won’t hurt anyone or will minimize the potential hurt?” I have a certain piece if writing I’m working on which is difficult to write about when I consider the people in my life. But as my aunt has said to me, “You cannot pretend that you are all alone in this world. You must consider what repercussions your actions might have on others.”

It is a tough call. But lets say you believe that your writing can have some type of positive influence on others. Does that mean that it’s worth sacrificing someone else in order to benefit those other people or yourself? How does that even make sense? Is this like the Tower of Babel? We sacrifice individuals for the supposed bigger picture when, in fact, the bigger picture should be specifically those people you just sacrificed?

Also, there is a big difference between writing something and actually sharing it with the world. Why is it we have such a strong need to express our arts to the world? We don’t want to write something and just hide it. Believe me, I know the feeling.

I guess that it’s important to examine our need to express ourselves outwardly.

I wonder if our need to share our ideas with the world is narcissistic. Because if it’s all about you, then you just want everyone to know about you and what you have to say and what you’re feeling, etc. etc.

But if you had a compassionate feel towards existance, it would be a lot less about you and being known and understood and read. Your art being known by others would not be the most important thing.

Compassion for others would be.

I would love to hear what you think about this.


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