So now the election is over and the heavy lifting begins. We still have an industry in crisis and despite all the rhetoric the Prime Minister said last night about supporting all Canadians, I'll believe it when I see some concrete action towards addressing our concerns. Now is the time to remind all MPs about the value of our industry and the importance we have for their communities. We need to keep arts and culture in the forefront of the issues facing the House. In times of financial crisis, arts and entertainment participation actually goes up. We need to be positioned to ride this wave of interest, and we need our politicians to be partners with us towards this goal.
On a different note, I was riding the bus to work this weekend when a woman came on and started talking about how the world was going to hell. She talked about workers being shafted and possible politicians being assassinated, and she finished up by saying:
Woman: But it's ok, it all has to happen because we're in the end times.
I couldn't stay silent at that point.
Me: I don't believe that.
Woman: Don't you read the bible?
Me: I've read the bible. And I know that Revelations was written for its particular place in time.
Woman: (forcefully) Don't you believe in the end times?
Me: I don't believe THIS is the end time. I believe that its a time of constriction that will lead to a great leap forward. If you look back throughout human history, there were many points where people thought it was the end time, but we're still here. I'm sure the folks living through the plagues in the Middle Ages thought it was the end time. I think throwing up your hands and saying that there's no point is doing a huge diservice.
She didn't have a response to this and I was able to have a quiet trip. But I thought about it on the trip and realized that this is something I feel very strongly about.
I grabbed the Middle Ages example out of thin air but it seemed to fit. Lots of people dying in foreign wars (the Crusades). Diseases wiping out huge parts of the population in certain parts of the world. A lot of power and money concentrated in relatively few hands. Conspicuous consumption besides grinding poverty. Yet what came out the other end was huge leaps forward in understanding our world, challenges to long-held societal assumptions with regards to government and spirituality, and a great artistic explosion.
I really feel this is what we're heading for now. A constriction that's going to lead to a huge leap forward in human development. Maybe the challenge in the end is to imagine a world without restriction, create a new frontier of the mind. We as artists are at the vanguard of this, or at least should be. Maybe what's happening now, forcing us to look at how our place in society is viewed and how the industry we've created to promote our work operates, is the beginning of this. At least, I hope it is.