We are taught to forgo admiration and soulful exploration from pre-adolescence.
It’s an institutionalized practice to color in the lines—as if to say you can only express so much as is deemed acceptable. We excel scholastically when we master how to dissect poetry and disarticulate literature until all we see are the scattered fragments of what used to be a vibrant piece of art.
Merit lies within having a grasp on symbolism, knowledge of archetypes, and an understanding of rhetoric. The downfall of culture though, arises when we forget what these works were created for. We strip a novel of its identity, personality, and purpose when all we care to note and credit is the syntax, rather than the story and the eloquence in which it was told. Poetry loses its magic and romance when the only thing we care to register is the iambic pentameter, meter, and rhyme scheme.
You can know how the mechanics of a novel, poem, or painting function and still not understand them as they come together as a whole. Just the same, you can understand art and not appreciate it. Appreciation doesn’t innately call for full understanding or a firm grasp on the how to’s, but rather necessitates a person to allow their minds to quiet so their souls may connect and converse with the work in front of them and in turn to the soul that created it.
These moments of appreciation in themselves have ranks from the small moments of recognizing the beauty in something as small as the little flowers that bloom on the sides of the road, to those of pure transcendence—when your soul reacts so actively that it elicits a physical reaction.
We have to exercise our souls in this way; by putting aside what we are mentally conditioned to do and simply immerse ourselves fully in the experience whose creative conception was purposed to enchant and stimulate our spirits.
A writer doesn’t scribe words upon paper with hopes of one day ending up on the syllabus for some intermediate English class; he writes because if he doesn’t his soul is anguished and restless. An artist doesn’t drift his brush across a canvas with the ultimate desire of ending up in the power point presentation of an art history lecture hall class; no, he paints because his soul cries out desperately to express itself in the only way it knows and desires.
This is why as a resident of this world we mustn’t find ourselves depriving our souls of what it longs for− to transcend the bounds of the mind and what we know, and enter into a sacred, artful communion with all that is good and beautiful in this world. We have to learn to appreciate on a spiritual level the art that has been conceived and birthed from churning, uninhibited souls.
We have to let our souls breathe, to frolic and romp through the artistic fields and avenues fashioned for them. Depriving your soul of this right is an infinite cruelty.