The Intangibles Of Life

I’ve seen it written and heard it said that musicians are “different.” True, but all artists are different. We see the world, and life, through different eyes, and what we see and sense is processed in our right brain, which, according to Healthline, is this –
“The theory is that people are either left-brained or right-brained, meaning that one side of their brain is dominant. If you’re mostly analytical and methodical in your thinking, the theory says that you’re left-brained. If you tend to be more creative or artistic, you’re right-brained.”

They go on to state, “The left brain is more verbal, analytical, and orderly than the right brain. It’s sometimes called the digital brain. It’s better at things like reading, writing, and computations.
According to Sperry’s dated research, the left brain helps you with:
• logic
• sequencing
• linear thinking
• mathematics
• facts
• thinking in words

The right brain is more visual and intuitive. People sometimes refer to it as the analog brain. It has a more creative and less organized way of thinking.
Sperry’s dated research suggests the right brain helps people with:
• imagination
• holistic thinking
• intuition
• arts
• rhythm
• nonverbal cues
• feelings visualization
• daydreaming

Note that of all the above activities the right brain supposedly excels at are all intangible… except rhythm. And even rhythm has to be felt in the intangible realm before being tangibly realized in any fashion.

We know the two sides of our brain are different, but does this necessarily mean that we have a dominant brain just as we have a dominant hand?
The fine folks at Healthline say this – “A team of neuroscientists set out to test this premise. In a 2013 research review Trusted Source, they found no proof that this theory is correct. Magnetic resonance imaging of 1,000 people revealed that the human brain doesn’t actually favor one side over the other. The networks on one side aren’t generally stronger than the networks on the other side.”

At this point I want to jump in to refute that last statement with the idea that, because of our genetic makeup and early life experiences, we either consciously or subconsciously choose which side of the brain we pay more attention to, and develop… but I don’t thank that’s true. Probably we simply “are who we are” and try to run with whatever gifts we were given. There is more to all of this, of course, much more, but for my purposes the above is way more than enough to move forward with.

So back to the premise… that artists are different. Speaking to this as a musician, I can tell you that my reality is far different from the everyday reality that we all experience on one level or another. The art of music conjures up all sorts of feelings and visualizations that are far from our daily experience.

I choose to live in, and indulge to the fullest, this alternate reality of thoughts, dreams and visualizations of the most beautiful forms and feelings one can imagine. I love the intangible world, I find that my strength and ability to survive and be a functional person in the real world comes from my intimate and lifelong love and understanding of the intangible world.

“Well, you’re weird. You’re just weird.”

Sure. I get that. My intangible world is far too soft, too unrealistic for you who need and survive on those left brain elements of linear thinking, facts and the logical sequencing of our daily lives. For you, that’s enough, that’s “how it should be, that’s the reality of it, right?”

Nope. Not for some of us. And certainly not for me. “How it should be” for you is not “how it should be” for me. I mean, you might say, “Well, I don’t necessarily like how it is, but it’s the reality of it all, isn’t it?” And again I have to say, yes, as long as you reside and find comfort In the tangible world. But as soon as you access the possibilities of the intangible world within you, all that changes. And if you keep accessing your intangible side, you slowly begin to see the outside world differently, and begin functioning in it differently as well. And at that point, you will become “different.”

As they say, it’s not rocket science. How much and how deeply we activate our imagination usually defines whether we are actually artists or not. One pottery maker imagines throwing a pot that looks a certain way, holds flowers and would look beautiful on someone’s mantle or library shelf. Another pottery maker simply throws a lump of clay onto their wheel and lets their muse guide their hands, throwing a spontaneous pot that was never pre imagined.

Most artists have a concept of what kind of beauty they would like to bring into the world, this tangible world. Where does that ability come from? It comes from their desire to create, from accessing their imagination, from their intangible world, from their right brain! And were you to ask us where our most creative thoughts come from, nearly all of us would say, “Well, from somewhere, you know, somewhere else… certainly not from us, but rather through us.

Now, having beaten this already-dead horse into further submission, I now confess that I’m proud of being one of the “different ones.” And even though I’m one of the truly moderate “different ones,” still I love my time spent in the intangible realm, where life, for me, is spectacularly loving and beautiful. I know how to behave fairly normally in this tangible world. I know what it expects of me, and how to mostly satisfy it.

Yet I have a special respect for those artists who don’t give a flip what the “real world” thinks of them, and instead indulges their reality to the max. For it takes courage to be different when one becomes aware of the expectations of the outside world. For the artistic mind, there must be a deal made with the real world, a line drawn as to what “real world” activities are necessary to function in it… it’s kind of a dance between who we really are, and what part of us the rest of the world is going to accept, at least to survive.

As artists, we strive to bring, into the tangible realm, our concepts of beauty and functionality. According to each of our abilities, we bring our best inspirations to the light of reality, often with the hope of acceptance, of others appreciating and enjoying our labors, or of even being inspired by them. Those of us who were able to actually make a living from our dreams and abilities are especially blessed.

Many artists will tell you that they have to create what they create. I am one of those. I have found endless enjoyment and satisfaction in creating music, writing and photography. For me it’s always an exercise in creation, bringing an intangible thing into existence… it’s a defining activity, defining who I am in all of this, even toward “why am I here.” Immensely satisfying. And definitely addictive.

My best examples of some truly great creative artists who have brought so much into the tangible world are Steven Spielberg and John Williams. Think of it… what they created, with the talented help of hundreds of others.

I want to leave you with this – the stream of creativity that emanates from the intangible realm can be more powerful than we know. Everything that Steven Spielberg and John Williams ever did came from that realm. To be able to find oneself in the intangible stream of that realm, to be even momentarily grazed by it… I assure you, it’s almost as good as a double Jamison’s.

Steve Hulse

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