Thursday, May 11, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Has Amazing Finally Become A Yawn?

THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN OCTOBER 2009

Is amazement now boring? This was a thought I had the other evening as I was looking at a series of paintings by a Los Angeles artist at  a site called Art-Walk. Her work, and the paintings of several others, had a quality that was mind-blowing as we used to say. The pieces not only revealed talent but also that ethereal “how did she do that” quality.

As one surfs the web one soon discovers that there are not just one or two amazing things going on. Awesomeness is everywhere. With little effort you can become impaled by so many varieties of astonishing wonder that one's mind is benumbed by it all. What's going on here?

I'm reminded of the special effects in the film King Kong which were truly spectacular. The brontosaurus run down the narrows and later the fight between Kong and the tyrannosauruses... they were wow-level sequences, but my emotions became disengaged and these particular scenes as they went on and on and on became tiresome. "Just get on with the story," I wanted to say.

And maybe that's the issue with all this sensational stuff that we see everywhere. Yes, the distractions are fascinating but, sooner or later, to become meaningful they must intersect with the story of our lives somehow.

Some people who enjoy and collect art do so not simply because they like a piece but because they like the artist whom they have gotten to know a little through his or her work. The artist is a person and through his work connects to persons. The artist has a story, and his pictures have stories behind them as well. The why, the how, and even the when and where are all part of it.

One thing about art, as well as the natural beauty of the galaxies and the creation -- whether Bryce Canyon or a California coastline -- is that it invites engagement. In some magical way it is through this engagement, this slowing down and opening up to it, that we appreciate its deeper beauty, and the greater depths of the artist as well.

In short, when amazing becomes a yawn, it may say more about us than about the amazing. The magical may still be magical. We're simply burned out from it all. Ever been there? Slow down, let go, and dare to be amazed again.

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EdNote: The above was written before the word Clickbait became a household term. The reference here is to videos and photos that truly are amazing, not to ads that promise much and do nothing more than waste our time. 

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