While we’re all hunkered down, hiding behind masks and under self-imposed quarantine, Getintothis’ Amelia Vandergast ponders the question of what exactly is creativity worth during a pandemic?
If you’re looking for the short answer to what creativity is worth during a pandemic, I’m not giving you one.
Tear yourselves away from the doom for five minutes, plugging yourself into 24/7 streams of news has never been good for your mental health.
It may be difficult to resist the urge to check the trending tags on Twitter and see what’s gone wrong in the world now, but resisting the masochistic temptation may just allow you to see that not everything is as hopeless as it seems.
Taking in that information and talking about it without taking action WILL make you feel powerless.
Instead, you can consider that around the globe, people are simultaneously experiencing seismic cognitive shifts as they readdress their perceptions of reality, what really matters in their lives, and what doesn’t.
Pondering trivial matters is a luxury most of us don’t have right now.
But what we take pleasure, comfort, and happiness from, can never be trivial.
If you’re questioning whether music, bands, industry careers and creative ventures are now meaningless, ask yourself how many times have you used or heard a variation of the expression “that album saved my life”? (Mine’s Manic Street Preachers – The Holy Bible, if you were wondering).
Music has always been more than just entertainment.
Resonance in music validates the pain we feel, floods us with euphoria and never leaves us with a comedown, provides catharsis, takes us on nostalgia trips, lays out melodies and abstracts us from reality. It’s not a time to down tools now – and not just for the sake of other people’s sanity.
Many people may fail to see the difference between nihilism and existentialism, but it’s the difference between falling down the doom hole and crying that everything is meaningless and finding your own meaning. If it doesn’t already exist, make it.
Accepting that the world is mostly chaos and disorder instead of a safe reality which is equipped to give us inherent purpose doesn’t need to be a depressing experience. It can be the best wake up call you’ve ever had.
As pointed out by German Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, engaging in arts and philosophy creates new narratives of liberating truth which allows us to find pleasure and meaning.
Hearing another person’s candid expression enables us to feel less disillusioned within ourselves and our realities. Even the most melancholic music centred around absurdity and pain can offer catharsis.
Feel-good music will always have its place but listening to perception-shifting lyrics with melodies which make your soul feel sore will still trigger your dopamine response. That’s why those depressing songs by The Cure feel so good when you’re in a big sad!
Once you start to explore music and the arts in relation to nihilism, self-actualisation, and existentialism you’ll start to see just how much meaning it holds for those creating it and those engaging with it.
As Nietzsche said, the key to suffering is knowing how to use suffering” and there’s a fair amount of sufferance around at the moment, wouldn’t you say?
Along with the prospect of creative existentialists coming up with plenty of new material while we’ve got more time to ourselves, quite honestly, I’m optimistic about what this mass collective experience will mean in the long-term for the industry. Especially after how I’ve seen the music industry band together (not literally of course) to support one another.
Optimism may seem naïve right now, but if you fall down the hopelessness hole during this time of absurdity, there’s no telling when you’re going to drag yourself out again.
Thinking that our lives are ‘on hold’ will give us the perfect excuse not to carry on helping, carry on creating, and just trying to make our dystopian times a little more tolerable.
Releasing new music may be a risky move at the moment as campaigns are falling flat. But that won’t last forever and plenty of professionals working within the industry are adapting to the situation and trying to enable artists to carry on creating.
I’ll be compiling a list of such services on my mission to flood the internet with wholesome content and make the independent music community a little tighter as we endure our lockdown lives.
Until then, I’ll leave you with the track from London-based Alt Post Punks The Vaulted Skies which has been largely responsible for allowing me to maintain my optimism and gratitude for music during week one of self-isolation.
Even if blackholes look effervescent next to your noir soul, you won’t be able to resist the ecstasy which pops from the deftly psychedelic guitar progressions over the darkly danceable four to the floor beat.