- Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
- Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
- Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
- Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
- Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
- Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.
– Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman statesman, lawyer, philosopher, 106 BC to 43 BC
These clear-eyed and crystalline words were written over 2,000 years ago by one of ancient Rome’s most revered and influential legislators. I often muse on these six points and try to embellish his simple litany of human blindness and stupidity…to no avail. The “Art Not Hate” project is a response to point five— it attempts to refine and develop our perception of both others and ourselves in the mix and mayhem of life. But, ironically, creative people can be as prejudiced and spiteful as those who do the world’s more mundane work (think Michael Richards [aka Kramer] on African Americans, and Mel Gibson on Jews). Nonetheless, when we create with others who are different from ourselves, there are inexplicable moments of empathy when we know that the person next to us shares our feelings and fate…and we are changed for the better.