The couch has become an impotent helm and the television, an empty sea unfit for exploration. As society gives us more external means of entertainment and exploration, we must look inward. We must unlock our potential for growth and search for an understanding of our world. In dealing with the various demands placed upon us by our schools, occupations, friends, parents, and most importantly, ourselves, we must also find constructive ways to vent our anxieties.
With the rapidly increasing power of the computer, electrical technologies are manifesting themselves in every aspect of our lives. There is no doubt about the benefits we receive from this technology. With the computer comes knowledge and power. The globe has become a smaller place where information spreads at unimaginable speeds.
As we increase our contact with the often commercial and generic nature of electronic media, there are things we must not lose sight of. We must not let the information age slowly devour our imagination. We must always have ways to express ourselves and strengthen our individuality.
In this spirit, and observer of advancing technology once noted, “One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary men, but no fifty machines can do the work of one extraordinary man.” One of the most important characteristics that distinguished a man as extraordinary is his ability to deal with the problems he encounters through spiritual means and this re-evaluation of himself.
The epitome of this spiritual evaluation is art. I have found artistic media to be the most effective outlets for emotion whether it is through music, writing, sculpting, painting, or design, art holds the keys to self-expression and a shaping of individuality. Art is a means by which to convey your ideas without limitations or restrictions.
In his relation of art to morals, Ruskin writes, “Life without industry is guilt, industry without art is brutality.” His statement describes the need for art in a technological society. It implies that without artistic distraction from the monotony of our daily routines, our lives will be filled with tedium and the void of civility. As Shakespeare once wrote, “Art is the imposition of order on chaos.”
Art has an enemy called ignorance. With its philosophical and sometimes quirky personality, are has been known to elicit ignorance. It is ironic that art also has the wonderful ability to make people aware of their society’s diversity by exposing them to new and foreign ideas. As we enter the next stage in our lives, we must keep an open mind to the unique experiences are can offer.
Art stares us in the face under its masks and churns within our minds under its chains. I cannot stress enough the importance of unlocking the creativity you all possess. Even for those of you who have already discovered constructive and satisfying means of venting your emotions and expressing yourselves I urge you to exercise your minds and unlock your potential through some artistic medium.
As states most simply by Longfellow, “Art is Power. Art is the power of understanding. It is the power to exercise the soul. It is the power to open your mind and speak you mind. It is the power to overcome ignorance and celebrate diversity.
(That was my Valedictorian speech from high school graduation.)