The Destruction of Desire in the Artist Mind

Buddhism as an Apocalypse for the Passionate Artist

“We begin to die the moment we are born, for birth is the cause of death. The nature of decadence is inherent in youth, the nature of disease is inherent in health, in the midst of life we are really in death.”

There are no reasons to desire Life without worshipping its goal: Death.

формат by Vadim Karasyov —

Such inescapable statements arise from the belly of the Buddhist teachings, such a hopeless terrain for the ones rooted in the dances and passions of life. It is an explicit rejection of everything subject to change, which is doomed to disappear, and should be regarded as if it never mattered.

Buddhist wisdom roots itself in the soil of appreciating things as they are, especially if they are impermanent. The physical human existence, as all existence that at some point wasn’t, is tagged as an arbitrary happening distant from the true essence of being, and as so, when mistaken for truth, becomes a pernicious trap into the pit of eternal suffering.

All the Buddhas that reached this plane of living portrayed a path with one simple yet ultimate goal: finish suffering on all beings. It is a self-walking but altruist path that aims at destroying the deepest roots of suffering and achieve liberation from the ephemeral existence. Such a clean slate is obtained by understanding

  1. The nature and cause of this suffering, as it arises from clinging to, and identifying with impermanent stuff, and
  2. The way to cease it, which is by proclaiming one’s own absolute essence, transcending life and death by absolute control of the mind through non-reaction, and the abolition of desire for things that “are now”, but eventually won’t.

In a way, Buddhism asks us to be in life without being part of it, gain our supra-physical nature, to achieve peace by rejecting the turbulences of temporary things. It is asking us to claim our freedom, our space outside our existence, beyond our physical humanity, beyond our environment and surroundings. To kill life in order to overcome life, and work for a peaceful living for ourselves and all other beings. It calls to abandon our fight amongst perishing things, delusive choices, and frustrating needs, and to inhabit a more aware and observing role in the happenings of life.

So far, passion could be understood as an acute overdose of life, which is exactly the diagnosis for most artists around the globe. Them who surf the moving tides of life are suddenly asked to face a completely flat ocean, them who take an active role in the design of life’s changing structures are suddenly told to hold their breath and remain passive.

What is then the space for artists who navigate their very own and superlative passions to give birth to their artworks? Isn’t this art seen through Buddhism eyes, nothing but a mere reproduction and broadcasting of suffering? Are movies and art galleries a zapping show set to expand unconsciousness? Should we even live happenings to the point of inspiration?

Does art only burn from the sticks of swallowed or digested passion?

It may all come down to reviewing the utility of talent, the tool to bring significant change to the world. An Artist is (s)he who has the gift to sense the world deeply, (s)he who can dance to the quietest whispers, (s)he who accepts to be a recipient for Intensity to manifest itself, and transforms it all. The Artist is in charge of the alchemy, (s)he is the recycling system for emotions and passions around the globe, a translator, a wizard, and a doer. The Artist trains itself to listen and then speak, both to the finest details, so whatever comes out has transformed what came in, and hopefully healed it.

What moves an artist towards the intensities of desire is though, debatable. Is having enough sensitivity to be able to burn in intense flames of passion enough reason to do it? Does an artist lose its talent if it stays away from the vigor of feelings?, and what is most important, can (s)he stay beyond its talent and not be enslaved by it?

An artist, as an ambassador and wise (wo)man of moving triggers, may be more responsible than anybody else of staying in touch with its roots and grounds, for (s)he is set to be launched to space often. My idea of a Buddhism-aligned artist is (s)he who dissipates the shadow of seduction from its ball-dances with passion. The artist dives deep into its work swamp, fearless, and in honest accordance with its level of understanding. (S)he won’t delude the sensations, but won’t get lost in them. (S)he is lucky enough to taste the sweetest flavors daily, but just because (s)he is able to refuse them too. The artist takes responsibility to live the patterns and break them, to live the changes and desires of life as (s)he walks them through its work. (S)he enlights and delights, but leaves scarce glue on its work so people don’t get stuck in it.

The Artist is in charge of Power, de-moralized Power that surges from the belly of transcendence. The Artist has a choice, to react with Art and to slowly bring it back to the world of stillness. An artist will remain aware of its process at all times and will stay diligently naive, slowly allowing higher forces to act through him, to allow maturity, and ultimately bring silence back to the world.

Meditation in movement, a silent dance that leads to the same place: a chest void of suffering, equanimous.

Ibiza, December 2020

Art-based Researcher, Data-AI-SignalProcessing Engineer. I study ~rhythms through aesthetics.