By Toufik Alami Ech-chantoufi - Meknes, Morocco
By Toufik Alami Ech-chantoufi – Meknes, Morocco
I firmly believe and you may hold the same belief that art is an integral part of one’s life, facilitating expression of life and its essence. Art was, is, and will continue to be a genuine way to liberate human beings; the living and the creative creatures on this earth, that are much more important than any established ideology, systems, rules or styles. The essence of art is not just art itself but mostly the opening of all human capacities, abilities, thoughts, feelings, and will to live in harmony and peace with the world nature. It is an opportunity for the voiceless to be heard, and the inner self to be brought into harmony with it.
It is a screen for the real, unique, creative, and innovative human beings to be shown. Art aims, ultimately, at projecting an inner vision into the world, stating an aesthetic creation and the deepest psychic and personal experiences of a human being called “artist”. To put it simply, real art, as I see it, enables a human being’s experiences to be depicted as intelligible and lucid to help us navigate the complexity of every day’s life.
Contrary to widespread opinions, art is never an illusion, decoration, embellishment, crystallization, or a fancy performance just for the sake of being labeled as an “Artist”, to be shown on TV or to become famous and called a “Superstar”. Instead, Art is a work of freedom and enlightenment. It is simply a way for acquiring liberty and expressing oneself freely, genuinely, and honestly. Therefore, art is a way to liberate the soul, the mind, the heart and the body so as to be harmonized with oneself and ultimately live in harmony and peace with others, irrespective of differences.
So, it is well to respect artists, learn from them, observe them and study them, but not to duplicate, idolize, or worship them. Because, when you look around the world either outside in the street or through the media, it is unfortunately just the opposite. You see a sweeping number of people of all ages and backgrounds; namely youngsters, who chose to follow the wrong direction, probably because they have not reached yet a level of maturity to understand their most inner self and therefore to learn how to look at life. They often become blind sighted and start believing that some singers, actors, athletes and others are “Superstars on Earth”, and thus worthy of being idolized, duplicated if not worshiped. So, from time to time you meet some guys who come to you and said: “Hey man! You know? I’ve been to a big event where there were lots of Superstars!!!! And guess what? My idol was there!!!”
Some people think that being or living like a certain famous celebrity is just the perfect way of life. Hence, they do their best to emulate them in all aspects of their life. In other words, they would seek through a way or another to be just a copy of their “Idol”. Similar to the “Zen story” telling that a Zen Master, Nan-chuan, saw his student, Ma-tsu diligently practicing meditation hour after hour, so he sensed a certain effort and ambition in the young monk’s demeanor. He came behind him and asked, “What are you doing?” Ma-tsu replied proudly, “I’m trying to become a Buddha”. Nan-chuan then picked up a stone and began rubbing it against a spare tile from the monastery floor. Hearing the sound, Ma-tsu asked, “What are you doing?” Nan-chuan said, “I’m trying to make a mirror.” Ma-tsu had an awakening.
The moral behind the Zen story is that when someone wants to copy his or her “Idol” they will not understand the vision their “idol” projected but instead they become a reflection on how their “idol” looks like, for they are living through imitation.
Unfortunately, idolizers and duplicators chose to follow the road that is leading to a world of “mind illusion and imprisonment”, which is worse than physical imprisonment, because it is not merely an imprisonment of the body, but rather, it is the imprisonment of the mind, the soul, and the vision in life. Hellen Keller, the visionary woman who recognized the importance of vision in life regardless of the loss of sight, once said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision”. For it is ultimately, the vision that constructs one’s mind —and entice the mind to be creative, because with a blinded mind, It would be even hard to understand oneself, what life is about, and the reason for living on this earth; that would be according to Mark Twin; one of the two important days in one’s life besides the day he or is was born.
Those people who idolize or duplicate never thought to stop for a pause of questioning, because as Albert Einstein famously said, “The important thing is to not stop questioning, curiosity has its own reason for existing”. Therefore, one should find out whether really there are any “Superstars” on earth? Is the word “Superstar” true or just an illusion? Is it the artist, the art or only the wisdom pointed away through the art that counts much and worth idolizing and worshiping? And therefore I come to a final question, which stems from the root of one’s being, which is: How can I be the protagonist in this world in lieu of copying my idol?
A real artist simply is the one who seeks to express himself, communicate his inner vision to the world, and most important is someone who exudes great wisdom, universal values, and morals that our world needs more to be a better place. From a personal viewpoint, an artist serves nothing more than a pointer when performing his or her art, or just like Bruce Lee said to one of his students while teaching him fighting techniques, “like a finger pointing away to the moon”. So, to be able to see and understand it fully and completely, we should not concentrate on the finger (the artist) or we would never be able to absorb and bring down to earth all the “Heavenly Glory” pointed away through art (the wisdom, the morals, and the inspiring universal values) that should be, indeed, the ultimate aim and essence of all kinds of arts.
According to anthropologist and science we do all belong to the “Homo sapiens” don’t we? And both art and artists are just names and not to be brought or tattooed on one’s body. So, If there are any “Superstars” they are in the sky and nowhere else. If there should be any Idol on this earth, it must be within you my friend, because you are too a special and a unique creature, much greater than even you may think! You too are created with a super power, genuine talent, and therefore can live big dreams if they are balanced with big actions. It is not hard at all! It requires only mind-openness and mind-freedom, self-awareness, and validating oneself, and Stop comparing oneself to others or selling your life short no matter what. You should just let you inner light guide you in the darkness so as to free yourself and not blindly follow the crowd and the “sabotaging negators” and accept their approach and propaganda saying: ” It’s impossible” , “don’t be a fool dreamer”, “you are too old or too young”, and “you can’t get ahead so don’t bother to try.”
What is the point on being kept insupportably several months in your mother womb if the only thing you want to accomplish in this life is idolizing or duplicating someone who is nothing more but a human being just like you? What is the worth of living if you are just living to actualize your dissipating and fake image, which is at the end of the day, not real and just a waste of time and vital energy instead of leaving behind your own legacy? The future is promising and each one of us still has much great work, achievements, and discoveries ahead that need devotion, involvement and much energy.
Life is better to be lived and not to be conceptualized or traded off. Therefore, there is no point around challenging, reflecting and consuming yourself day-by-day to fulfill your potentials, ambitions, goals and visions. And if it seems incomprehensive, the well-known Steve Jobs quote will make it as clear as a bright sun shining in the blue sky of a summer day, Because: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”