Art Is Love

by Avatar Adi Da Samraj

A compilation of excerpts from Discourses Given in the 1980s

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Many of the purposes of art have been lost.

The arts, traditionally, were not a means of self-expression. All the arts were forms of ritual, or service to the community. There were dancers, painters, singers, sculptors, people who would recite, people who wrote stories, but they didn’t do these things merely to express themselves. They did them because all the arts were presumed to have a function within the community. An individual would study to become proficient in any one of the arts, if he or she had the talent for it, and the talent was proven. Then that person could go on and spend his or her life doing this kind of work.

In general, the community in which an individual lived had a formula, a consideration, an idol, a history. It had a spectrum in which a person could operate as an artist. What a person was to do—let’s say, for instance, as a painter—was pre-established, including the techniques to be used and the images to be created. Therefore, the individual had to transcend himself or herself to learn the art.

He or she would submit to a master—not a spiritual master necessarily, but generally a master of the craft—and would be schooled in the “cult” of the art. The artist would learn the tradition, the limits, the techniques, and the purposes of art in that culture. By submitting to this demand of the culture in general, the individual transcended his or her own self-possessed motivation.