In the modern world, it has become a stereotype that being high on drugs, weed, or liquor induces creativity. Creativity is considered to be a quality that could just be acquired through smoking a joint or gulping down a shot. To people who believe that, the answer is simply NO. The steoretype flourishes because some artists tend to believe that they are creative only when they are high. To them, I would say that this is just their natural talent that has been unleashed due to the oblivious state induced by the drugs where one is unafraid of showing it. But the thing is that naural talent goes to waste if natural talent doesn’t work hard enough and relying solely on substance to carry forward their artistic journey is going to lead them into but doom.It might be a totally diffferent thing that creative people might take a puff once in a while just like the President of the United States plays baseball once in a while but that does not make him a President and neither does substance abuse makes a person creative. Creativity is a quality that is attained through hard work, determination and perseverance and this has been tried to be illuminated in noted stand-up comedian Biswa Kalyan Rath‘s epic rant below.
“Every time I post a slightly non-mainstream thought on social media, I can be sure to get the response ‘What are you smoking bro?’ within a few seconds.
Every time I go for a gig, the organisers/student body make sure they ask me if I need something to ‘get into the zone’. When I say no, they are surprised and disappointed without exception.
This stereotype that all writers are drunkards, all comedians are stoners, all actors are cocaine addicts, all musicians are high on MDMA is only the symptom, underneath which lies a much deeper, much bigger, mammoth cultural bias:
That art, unlike other ‘mainstream professions’ is a tragic and mysterious profession. That the artist is an eternally unsatisfied human being with much pain in his life, a struggler; who to deal with his tragic life indulges in substance abuse. When the abused substance meet the pain in his blood stream, a chemical reaction ensues, of which art is the byproduct.
This stereotype stops people from sending their children to study art, aspiring artists from considering art as a serious profession and even imposes subconsciously upon professional artists, an unhealthy self-image, and subpar self worth.
Lets dance through the rhetoric.
Do some artists do smoke/do drugs/die of overdose? Yes.
Do drugs help enhance creativity? May be. May be not. Just like any new experience.
Do all artists do drugs all the time?
Strange as it may seem but art isn’t something an artist vomits from time to time under an influence or at the golden strike of inspiration.
Art is just like any other job, where the quality/quantity of your product is directly proportional to the amount of hours you put into your work. After your initial honeymoon with raw talent is over, it’s all about patiently learning the science and practicing the craft until it becomes second nature. It can be frustrating/boring/mundane.Every great artist has the same secret, long and painful hours of work.
It takes years to make something seem effortless. Thousands of details to make a drawing seem like the first draft, thousands of days of rehearsals to make the singing seem all natural, thousands of rewrites to get a joke perfected. Thousands of details audiences’ eyes don’t even notice.
After all that work, when you ask an artist if he came up with something because of the weed he smoked, what you are trying to say is, ‘Hey I can come up with that if I smoke some weed’.
No, you most certainly can’t. You lack the skill and expertise. Just like you can’t play like Sachin by smoking weed, you can’t write like Carlin by dropping Acid. A comedian can’t write code by dropping acid, a coder can’t write comedy by smoking weed.
So next time you see an artist trying something you don’t understand, just call it bad, horrible, fuck all. That’s an acceptable and honorable feedback.
Make your judgment open to judgment. Don’t hide behind a stupid and baseless comment about drugs. The world could really use one less stereotype and hundreds of potential artists.
P.S.1: Anecdotal Evidence: I have equal number of friends in corporates and art. Percentage wise, way more of my corporate friends use drugs than my artist friends. [This is not a point, this is a counterpoint. One exception is enough to counter the rule, the rule here being ‘Artists smoke weed more than people in regular jobs’. So, please refrain from vomiting in comment section by making this a central issue while ignoring rest of the argument. ]
P.S. 2: Anecdotal evidence 2: I have worked with many artists over the last few years. 90% of them, especially the successful ones have no dependancy on any kind of drugs.
P.S. 3.: Anecdotal Evidence 3: I have not seen anything good happen to anybody because of any drug ever. I have although, seen some lives being ruined.”
The original post could be found here.
Thank You for reading.