Revelation Number One: I’ve had a belly full of amateur thinkers. In the old days, amateur thinkers knew their place. Their self-indulgent hours were confined to personal journals or invested in the occasional sequestered poem. Perhaps they enrolled in an adult education class or joined a neighborhood book group. Their quest for recognition, if not covert, was confined to within a few blocks from home or at a stretch, the distance to the nearest public library.
But those days are gone. What the interstate did for the Sunday driver, the Internet has done for the amateur thinker. Long straight access ramps, well marked merges, gradually banking curves, meridians the width of football fields, shoulders as brood as country club fairways. Now anyone can navigate the world of ideas, from that eighty-five year Dowager's humped grandma to the pimple-faced rouge in detention. They’ve got blogs, chat-rooms, web sites, and all sorts of moron friendly networks designed for effortlessly extolling their amateur thoughts on professional appearing tarmac. I friggin’ hate it.
Revelation Number Two: John Lennon got what was coming to him. I mean, that doesn’t excuse Mark David Chapman’s atrocious behavior, but John Lennon and the "fab-four" got rich selling the Lie of Love. Like any two–bit grifter, Lennon took his chances running an amazing scam; dressing in elaborate costumes, smiling at the camera and playing a denomination-less Jesus, hair and beard to match his crucifixion message that “All you need is love.” Professional thinkers know that mantra is Liverpool rubbish just like they know that the Good-cop TV show hero doesn't really exist, but mess with reality and fantasy long enough and you can get yourself in deep shit. Look at what happened at Jonestown or down in Waco, Texas where they were loving it up and waiting for the Second Coming.
No, love is a dangerous thing. It’s like dynamite. Toy-like fireworks can take off your finger or blind an eye; notch it up and love gone bad can tear your world apart.
Revelation Number Three: Amateur thinkers should never try to tackle the subject of love. Why? Because an amateur thinker is to love what an amateur drinker is to booze; they just don’t understand it. They are all about the buzz without regard to pleasure’s searing flame. The professional drinker learns to see through that illusion or dies trying. And amateur thinkers? Well, eventually they discard their CD’s, delete their blogs and give up thinking altogether or else (miracle of miracles) they begin to form real ideas; thoughts that go beyond pop culture’s propagandized marketing and arise from true introspection and study.
Revelation Number Four: Thinking, whether done professionally or by the amateur, is highly overrated. It is the art of observation we should embrace, as in my favorite childhood poem, "The Wise Old Owl."
THE WISE OLD OWL
The wise old owl sat on the oak
The more he saw, the less he spoke
The less he spoke, the more he heard
Why aren't we like that wise old bird
NOTE TO THE READER: For the record, John Lennon happens to be one of my favorite composers and I fantasize that generations to come may elevate his memory to the status of a 20th century messiah. After all is not the word of God love?
I also believe that in the arts the idea of "amateur vs professional" is the biggest bunch of BS to ever come down the pike. Art in specific and thought in general ARE LIFE. That a painting that once sold for $35.00 can rise in value to 35 million seems so incredible to me, particularly when one considers that half the world population lives on less then two dollars a day.
We are not unique in our humanness; our suffering and pleasures are universal and vary only by degree. Words can be made to say anything. It is amazing that these symbols can evoke images in the imagination so beautiful or so deeply threatening that their craftsmen have in turn been rewarded with millions as well as punished by death.
I think it is hard for man to separate the artist from the art or the thought from the thinker, but it is an essential element of the act of appreciation. The universe of ideas exists as an infinite pool in which our consciousness floats. We surround and segment ideas with our corporeal form. Art gives ideas body, but we no more create ideas then we create life itself. Perhaps that is why art critics seem so heartless; it is not the artist they have spiked to the cross, but the idea and its execution.