These were the words of Guy De Maupassant, the legendary French writer. I am currently reading a wonderful collection of his work, entitled Complete Original Short Stories of Guy De Maupassant. It’s filled with stories that demonstrate his greatness. Works of art that stand like a testament to his brilliance.
“I entered literary life as a meteor…”
These words might shock the common man. How vain, how conceited, how full of himself! This reaction is the response of a dullard. The irrelevant clerk. The quiet commoner. The man of no particular fire.
Some men believe that greatness is their destiny; others laugh at the concept. Some burn with a dangerous flame of desire; others are a lukewarm stove. Some are always dreaming about the apex of a Mount Everest; others are stupidly staring at a traffic jam.
*On a side note, it should be said that women despise the common man. His broken dreams, his insecure back peddling, his petty anger, etc. They secretly wish that he would dissipate…fade away into the distance. And that, in his place, a GREAT MAN would emerge – a man ready to carry her off into the heroic distance.
2.) It exalts a noble cause(s): i.e. the family, military sacrifice, etc.
3.) It blends nature and humanity together in a creative way
By contrast, here we have a bad piece of art:
The painting is bad for the opposite reasons:
1.) Nobody can understand the meaning
2.) It lacks a noble cause
3.) It fails to blend nature and humanity together in a creative way
Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” In short, the two things have nothing in common. They’re diametrically opposite.
The same is true for great and bad art – the fundamental difference is profound. And learning to spot the difference is crucial. If you can spot a great work of art, your spirit will be sanctified. You’ll have a road map to the noble life. You’ll find a kinship with the heights of human emotion.
But if you put your faith in bad art, you’ll become lost. You’ll be lacking in a Weltanschauung. You’ll be alienated by the trickster. Your soul an empty cup…waiting to receive the poison.