If you could do anything what would you do? This question is an interesting thought experiment particularly for artists and musicians. Derek Sivers has posed it with some interesting commentary on his blog in the form, What if you didn’t need money or attention?
He poses this question from the perspective, if you needed nothing in your life what would you do? Through looking at two example groups he raises some common issues. Entrepreneurs and musicians both need attention and money and both can become focussed on attaining those losing their spark or purpose in the process.
For me sustaining my family has long been a reason (or excuse) to postpone making music. The uncomfortable relationship between art and commerce is well documented. Commercial art is frowned upon and poverty is worn as a badge of pride by some and held up as a mark of failure by others.
In the West we live in a society that produces such abundance of wealth that nobody need want for anything, but we have adopted money as a method of ascribing value to people and their activities. Bankers are more valuable than nurses, teachers and even artists.
Art in our society is a commodity and its value is specified by demand. This conditions artists to seek attention for both reward and validation.
What if we were free from all this?
What would we do if our physical needs were all met? Would we all fall into Robert Anton Wilson’s predicted behaviours of recreational drug use and sexual gymnastics? Some of us would but I think that for those with an urge to create and communicate there is a desire for something more.
Perhaps this is a need for a kind of attention but not connected to the validation of wealth. It is a desire to communicate something.