The fear of saturation and obscurity
I continue to be impressed with your energy :-). I also agree - the only person you can compete with is yourself. Look at how you are now, think about how you would like to be tomorrow, then asses any progress in that direction.
While there has been a lot written about what motivates the creation of art and music, I look at it as falling into one of three categories: the need for self expression, the need for the by products - money, recognition from others, and for some, the inability to do anything else but create art. Stopping is just too painful.
Be well; you make my world richer.
Mathew, this is the finest and most important essay I have seen on your newsletter with the exception of your timely posts regarding Fentanyl.
My ideas may diverge from your take on things considerably. I hope I won't offend.
I think: Although art is wonderful, our estimation of art and the worth of art is excessive. For the past few decades, as A) higher education has become more widely disseminated in the populace, B) as fewer people are blue collar workers, and C) as this country is awash in prissy bourgeosis affectations (Starbucks and 3 dollar coffees, endless programs on public television about dainty, giffted precious English artists) more and more people have decided that they want to be creative. Indeed, in the 1950's, leading eductors said that 85 percent of the populace does not have the raw IQ for college. In the 60's, that view was deemed elitist.
Quite frankly, I think many people who are engaged in creative endeavors could be doing something much more important.
Giving skilled nursing care to a sick patient is more important than scribbling a vacuous poem, song or short story. Cleaning our cities of pollution and toxic debris that causes cancer is more important than drawing an abstract expressionist painting that is only an inferior take on what De Kooning did 60 years ago.
I think we would be better off if we valued the aforementioned jobs more highly and if more people went into these fields. These "artists" will know that they have truly accomplished something, and have made a differnce, when they do the sort of work that saves another person's life.
ANOTHER Point you Made: You said that AI was producing "art." Do you mean that non-living artifical intelligence now has the gumption to fancy itself human and is proceeding to make art. This makes me SICK. I don't know if I want to live in the world we are entering. It reminds me of that woody Allen film (it may have been called "sleeper") in which people go into a machine to have sex.
ANOTHER ISSUE YOU DISCUSSED: You attacked elites and their detrimental effects on art. I have an essay, and a few satirical, angry, funny poems, which rail against academics for their debasement of literature (The poems follow the essay) https://davidgottfried.substack.com/p/up-the-academy-how-and-why-academia