Have you ever had the chance to save a life?
I have not. Well, not that I know of. I know people who have with action and words and attitude. I know someone who’s birth is the ONLY reason that another is alive. I know someone who seems to save teens’ lives with the same frequency that he eats bacon. I know people who say another’s words and actions have changed the course of their lives for the better.
None of these describes me. I just know these people. These AMAZING people. Alas, I am not one of them. I do have to say that it is kind of amazing to know them though.
We learn early that firefighters, police, teachers, doctors and nurses are types of heroes, people we should look up to. We never really look at our friends or family as heroes. Not unless you have police or teachers in your family anyway. There are average people who go completely unnoticed that have probably saved a life. That person that gave you gas money when you were stranded, or maybe they gave you a ride to a hotel or gas station. The random guy who gives a sandwich to a homeless person. There are countless other selfless acts that we all do every day that COULD be the act that saves a persons life.
No one really thinks that an artist (painter, musician, dancer, potter etc) is a hero. Artists are usually perceived as selfish people, who only do work for themselves. Even if a song helps change a persons life direction, no one but the changed person will really credit the artist for the new direction. Even then the song is the real hero, not the artist. Much credit ends up going to the team that makes the song sound as good as it does.
I should add that as a person an artist can do many things, like donate money to charity, to become a hero. I am really wondering why the medium is not what can change a life. Could a person that got dragged into going to the theater experience an epiphany and strive to become better? Or maybe a gallery viewing sees a painting that strikes that cord and makes them change.
This started of as a question on whether or not you have saved a life and has turned into musing on why society does not seem to think that artists are not heroes through their medium.
Yes, we artists are kind of selfish when it comes to our medium. That does not mean that we do what we do solely for ourselves. Just like people blog to have their ideas shared, artist create to share their ideas, feelings, beliefs and skills. We want people to “see” the world in a different way in hopes that it will make an impression. We want people to change when they see, here, touch, taste, smell our works.
To the best of my knowledge I have not saved a life. I have definitely changed some lives, but I have not kept someone from a path of destruction. I have certainly not had any of my art be the reason for a change.
My questions still stands.
Have you had the chance to save a life?