This is an attempt to understand the artist's relation with the society and his surroundings and the creative process as an outlet for the innate spiritual needs of the individual.

In collective societies, the mentality of a group trivializes the importance of the individual. (The collective insists that) The individual’s dependence on anything which is not ‘common’ must be taken from him. But, art is the subtle form of one-to-one dialogue which can directly communicate with the subconscious. Art is born out of the irrational facts of the human mind, expressed through a medium.  It does not directly refer to the social and physical conditions, but more to the psychic attitude of the individual towards these. Macbeth or Rembrandt’s Danaë is as relevant today, as it was in the 17th century. What differentiates these masterpieces from say, a Bible or a Quran is the personalised depiction of the (collective) subconscious, with no claims to be applicable to every person on earth.

A religious doctrine presents a statistical average intelligible to the majority whereas the artist has his point of reference inside him, enabling him to exercise his power of decision. He builds up his reserve against the overbearing force of the circumstances as opposed to the collective who lacks any ground beneath their feet apart from the approval of the group. The assertiveness of his individuality estranges him from the world in the same way as succumbing to the collective, estranges him from himself. His ownership of himself makes him act in order to substantiate himself, above conventional laws of the society.

Members of a group, in order to free themselves from the mundane nature of their day to day life, design rituals.  This is a natural progression resulting from the sacrifice of the self, leading to alienation from oneself, because independent thinking itself is not allowed or is limited at the very best.  These rituals lose their relevance and meaning over the course of time and become mechanical activities with the majority completely unaware about the reasons behind them. The actions constituting a ritual are ‘de-individualized’ and documented, so that they can be performed by anyone, even those who are indifferent to them. Over the course of time, we have an elaborate set of rules and definitions which carry little or no meaning to another set of people, space and time co-ordinates. The promise of paradise, preservation of tradition and love of fate are nothing but hollow arguments urging the individual to contribute to the status-quo by inaction.

Inaction in order to reduce the ever increasing noise can be justified – it is better to be quiet than to shout. However, inaction which abets the major obstacles in the development of the individual- say, the caste system is criminal. In the same way, actions which promotes the status quo, like looking for mates only from the same caste/religion/class arrests the development of the individual. This is so primarily because, the objective reality is subjective and having caste as the basis for choosing one’s partner leads to excluding other perspectives especially in societies like India where the different compartments of society are water tight, even to this day.  Where there is no respect for another perspective, where the basis of procreation is mass-mindedness, how can individuals with different perspectives be born and raised?

In societies (like India) where the externalities are so widely prevalent and rigid, any form of ideology or propaganda cannot break the shackles of collective mentality.  A revolution which is based on the collective class consciousness is not possible due to the non-existence of such a consciousness. Every person is unique and attempts to suppress this uniqueness, in order to create a unified consciousness are not only foolish, but harmful to the development of the individual.

Artistic expression and understanding is one way to overcome mass-mindedness. The world is viewed by the artist from his own perspective and nobody else’s. For him, Marx, Mohammed and Buddha are just astute observers of human nature who had their own shot at immortality.  If Marx’s tool for achieving immortality was political economy, Mohammed’s was religion, and Buddha’s, spirituality. The artist does not invent, nor does he intend to force his opinion on others, but his expressions are attempts at (re)discovering himself and his surroundings.  By realizing the personalized nature of the collective sub-conscious within himself, he gives an opening to his soul and uses a medium he is well-versed with. He tells others, the unique nature of his way of looking at the world.  He tries to be at peace with himself and his surroundings by identifying the details and giving them new meanings. He overcomes the very limitations that make him, to rise above himself. In this process, he rises above the mass and the statistical meanness of their thoughts and actions.

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