Monday, August 31, 2009

Hunter-Artists in the 21st Century

I once read that the Bushmen of the Kalahari have two possessions: a hunting spear and a paint set. Whether this is true or not, I love the archetypal image it presents. One tool is used to feed the body. The other feeds the soul. It struck me that it didn't make a difference if we inhabited a desert, forest or city. We still need to hunt for food. The basic necessity that gets overlooked is art. Without the nourishment of beauty, connection, emotion and mystery sparked by art our humanity starves and dies.

The arrow and the brush share a more essential symbiotic relationship. Both are needed for obtaining food and making art. All types of hunting, from catching trout and picking snap peas to gathering a paycheck involves finesse and artful skill. Powerful creation and appreciation of art requires keene senses and the courage to enter unknown territory.

Our ability to integrate the arrow and the brush determines whether each action we make regenerates the world or destroys it. In business, do we use our arrow of choice to pierce the task at hand in an object oriented way that wounds the earth and shatters the heart? Or, do we wield the arrows of technology and information with the adeptness that re-weaves the world again and again?

Modern society doesn't present many examples of how to live as a hunter-artist; a person attuned to the nature of the body, the nature of the soul and the nature of the world. Yet, to live a human life, it would be helpful to find ways of using both our arrows and our brushes to ways appropriate to the digital world we are in.