"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Wounded Healers in creativity

Arun Gandhi travels the world trying to keep alive his grandfather Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence, based on the principles of love and truth. A young teacher in one of Arun’s lectures raised the question of “the corrupting effect of violent movies, TV shows and obscene and violent music on the young people in America.” Should they avoid such things, she asked. This, he replied, placed the cart before the horse. Those who live a life of practicing “truthfulness” would not want to watch or listen to any such media in the first instance. But such a noble life is not so easy for many of us to achieve.

It is true we often have an almost ghoulish tendency to look at the evil that is around us. We are certainly not very good at protecting ourselves from harmful influences. We therefore have government and industry guidelines that protect us from ourselves! We have rules and regulations that prohibit or restrict certain creative material, such as those that may determine the content and timing of television and radio programs. Films are classified according to their perceived suitability for different audiences. Such rules are often although not exclusively designed to protect the young and vulnerable in our societies.

But it is our own behavior, not government intervention, which in the end will influence our future, the future of this planet and the future for our children and grandchildren. In his UK best seller Heat: How We Can Stop the Planet Burning, environmental scientist, philosopher and best selling author George Monbiot admits to being driven to action by the birth of his own child. He is as keen to see her survive in “a liveable world” as any of us must surely be for our own children and grandchildren.

I belong to Authonomy, an on- line community of authors, publishers and agents where the written word can be showcased. We all have the opportunity to write critiques on the various books, and vote for them. The idea is that those that rise to the top of the league may be worth publishing. However I am dismayed by the popularity of the books in the crime/thriller genre, often displaying awful and graphic violence, and Arun Gandhi's words come back to me.

Creativity in all its forms can be used either to help our spiritual regeneration, or to destroy our sensitivities. With its power to hurt or heal, creativity is at the very heart of all our lives, in boardroom or kitchen, hospital or garden, at work or at leisure. We do not have to be an author or painter, musician or inventor, writer or poet. Just about all of us use our creative skills as we go about our daily lives. Creativity infuses our work and leisure activities.

And so we all have a personal choice. We can be responsible and spread healing and beauty; we can radiate a sense of the soul and the spiritual throughout our lives and our communities. Or we can nurture evil and hurt in a world that has too much of it already.

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