Embracing Life & the Purpose of Art

The test of every act of creativity—Does it help you to enthusiastically, passionately, wholeheartedly and gratefully Embrace all your life? This I believe, is the basic Purpose of all the arts—and thus should be the basic Intention of every artist.

The word embrace is derived from the Greek brakhion, meaning the upper arm, hence brachial and brassiere. And in Hamlet, Fortinbras—strong arms. To embrace is to open one’s upper arms to invite and accept the other into oneself. I like to think of the upper arms originating not at the shoulders, but in the center of the chest, and extending out from there to enfold, encircle.

And there we find the metaphoric heart, the heart chakra, the chakra of love. Thus, to embrace is to open one’s heart to welcome the other with love. To embrace is to love.

Henry Moore proclaimed that a work of art “may be a penetration into reality, not a sedative or drug, not just the exercise of good taste, the provision of pleasant shapes and colors in a pleasing combination, not a decoration to life, but an expression of the significance of life, a stimulation to greater effort in living.” Not to “escape from life”—but to Embrace Life!—enthusiastically, passionately, whole-heartedly and gratefully. This—and nothing less than this—is Healing, True Healing. To this we are stimulated to Great Art.