Table of Contents

Human nobility

I am not an artist in the ordinary sense. I am an artist of living, but living is not considered an art, more's the pity. I'm not trying to be modest, I'm trying to make an important distinction. Writing is my only developed artistic skill. I produce these stories under Leela's close supervision. They are a work of art, but I am not the artist of these stories, Leela is. I'm also not skilled enough to be an artist of dancing, but my musical background lets me taste what life as an artist of dance might be like. It is a wonderful taste. I can only be a consumer, not an artist, of painting, sculpture, music and cinema. However, I can be ennobled by them. Especially by music, because of my musical background. Turn it up and listen to these artists.

I'd call Hilary a force of nature but she's not. She's a force of profound, refined human culture. The opposite of nature.

The taint of heredity. The word nobility is tainted by its association with hereditary nobility. Hereditary nobles are people who consider themselves superior to ordinary humans simply because of their pedigree. Comparatively few people would confess to believing this preposterous nonsense anymore but it's still there in the deference shown to wealthy people, the institution of privilege. Wealth confers privilege. Privilege is often mistaken for nobility. But wealth confers no nobility at all, any more than heredity did. Even with all their resources wealthy people are no more likely to do the hard work required to become an artist than anyone else. Becoming a real artist is formidably difficult for anyone. Artistry has that in common with the spiritual quest. Art and the spiritual quest are both ways of giving life meaning.

Skill. Art is ennobling; artists are the real human nobility. Art is a perfect meritocracy, a nobility that can't be inherited, only earned by hard work. Artists start young and train hard to develop the skill required for their art. Skill is the hallmark of a mature artist, skill that takes decades to acquire and refine. Success and popularity don't mean someone's an artist. Most successful, popular socalled artists are wannabes who have taken Barnum's famous quote about the taste of the American public to heart. Great artists tend to die miserable and unrecognized, and poor to boot unless they started out rich. Young people learn skills easily because they're not fully formed. The skills they acquire form them, becoming part of who they are. Older people are already fully formed, so the skills they acquire can't penetrate nearly as deeply. Their skills remain superficial and so does their art.

Ennoblement. Anyone willing to study art can be ennobled by it. I was ennobled by listening to Max Richter's music. I found myself in despair at the state of the world and my lonely place in it. I had broken up with my sweetheart just as the pandemic was beginning. Max's sad music helped me love the world the way it is. If I put conditions on loving the world, I'm loving a fantasy world. Fantasy is just words, there's nothing real in fantasy. His music ennobled me by showing me beauty in the sad world just the way it is.

Training for ennoblement is training anyone can do. Classical music requires training because it's deep, rich and subtle. It invites me in to explore and learn. I need training to be able to grasp its depths. Because I'm a lifelong meditator, grasping those depths helps me make progress with love. Before I can grasp its depths, I have to do a lot of listening and a little study. That's the training. I have to put my time and energy into the best human creations rather than settling for the most accessible ones, like the pop tunes we're bombarded with. Investing my time and energy is critical. It's the training required for ennoblement, and it's a way I can make progress with love.

Reincarnation and art. This ties in with reincarnation. If an artist made progress with love in previous lives, that progress is likely to be in the realm of art. If an artist has made progress, it's probably because art and making progress have become united for that artist, as they are becoming united for me. That would enable the artist to become a better artist faster via wisdom accumulated regarding how and what to study. That's why I found it so easy to write. It also explains why some artists are prodigies, like Mozart, able to create works of art at a very early age.