‘Chaos After’ by Darwin Leon
Condemned to Freedom by David Arthur Walters
Analysis: Can the artist escape?
Leading an artistic life of illusionment with its plethora of possibilities might compose the best of all possible lives. If our conceptions of the world are necessarily illusions, then the artistic life is at least the true life. It may not be the good and beautiful life – that is up to the artist.
Why would any artist in her right mind want for anything when she can adopt a convenient illusion to sustain her? Well, mana might not drop out of heaven to feed her body, but the right attitude will go far towards getting her food and shelter and the tools to work with, or anything else for that matter; and, if any attitude whatsoever does not so obtain, she might still enjoy her mental life for what it is, an illusion, and say, “This is the best of all possible worlds because we make it so.”
The world is certainly a fact, but the opinions on facts vary within two categories: opinions that serve us well, and those that do not. Wherefore the sensible person for whom happiness is the highest human good would want to please herself with useful opinions about the facts. That person will certainly encounter painful facts no matter what her opinions of them might be. When the facts fly against her opinions, she might say, “To hell with the facts,” and press on in an attempt to realize at some more distant date her preferred illusion.
Of course a disillusioned woman may simply revise her opinions and venture forth confidently again, armed with another, more convenient illusion. Or she might simply despair and go nowhere, or paint a self-portrait and destroy herself along with it.
In any case, given the inertia of certain objective facts which impede the human will to absolute liberty, it is evident that, although we may be deceived in whole or in part about the nature of world, the world is not in itself an illusion as far as we are concerned. The world is quite real, and we are condemned to do something about it. Or, if you please, we are free to do something about it, and that freedom is always illusory to a certain extent.