–by Edward Estlin Cummings (Dec 05, 2013)
You have been brought up to believe that a house, or a universe, or a you, or any other object, is only seemingly solid: really (and you are realists, whom nobody and nothing can deceive) each seeming solidity is a collection of large holes – and, in the case of a house, the larger the holes the better; since the principal function of a modern home is to admit whatever might otherwise remain outside. You haven’t the least or feeblest conception of being here, and now, and alone, and yourself.
Why (you ask) should anyone want to be here, when (simply by pressing a button) anyone can be in fifty places at once? How could anyone want to be now, when anyone can go whening all over creation at the twist of a knob? What could induce anyone to desire aloneness, when billions of socalled dollars are mercifully squandered by a good and great government lest anyone anywhere should ever for a single instant be alone? As for being yourself — why on earth should you be yourself; when instead of being yourself you can be a hundred, or a thousand, or a hundred thousand thousand, other people? The very thought of being oneself in an epoch of interchangeable selves must appear supremely ridiculous.
As far as I am concerned, poetry and every other art is and was and forever will be strictly and distinctively a question of individuality. If poetry were anything-like dropping an atom bomb-which anyone did, anyone could become a poet just by doing the necessary anything; whatever that necessary anything might or might not entail. But (as it happens) poetry is being, not doing. If you wish to follow, even at a distance, the poet’s calling (and here, as always, I speak from my own totally biased and entirely personal point of view), you’ve got to come out of the measurable doing universe into the immeasurable house of being. I am quite aware that, wherever our so-called civilization has slithered, there’s every reward and no punishment for unbeing. But if poetry is your goal, you’ve got to forget all about punishments and all about rewards and all about self-styled obligations and duties and responsibilities etcetera ad infinitum and remember one thing only: that it’s you-nobody else-who determine your destiny and decide your fate. Nobody else can be alive for you; nor can you be alive for anybody else. Toms can be Dicks and Dicks can be Harrys, but none of them can ever be you. There’s the artist’s responsibility; and the most awful responsibility on Earth. If you can take it, take it -and be. If you can’t, cheer up and go about other peoples business and do (or undo) till you drop. […]
Very luckily for you and me, the uncivilized Sun mysteriously shines on “good” and “bad” alike. He is an artist.
Art is a mystery.
A mystery is something immeasurable.
In so far as every child and woman and man may be immeasurable, art is the mystery of every man and woman and child. In so far as a human being is an artist, skies and mountains and oceans and thunderbolts and butterflies are immeasurable; and art is every mystery of nature.
–E. E. Cummings in Six Nonolectures [Creative comic above by Dharma Comics ;-)]