I don’t know if these words will be for you – the right words, on the
right place, at the right time, or the wrong words, on the wrong place, at the
wrong time, or any other combination in between these two extremes. You have to
decide for yourself.
Some time ago I had a strange dream. I was
walking along the steep path that led towards the hills and a mountain behind
them, when I came across a man who was descending down the same road. When we
approached each other he said:
“Hello there! It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it!
“Yes, a very pleasant day, a perfect day for hiking”,
“Every day is good for hiking, though not every hiking
path is good for you. Talking about hiking, how is your latest painting
I probably had that funny expression on my face of
somebody who was suddenly struck by a great surprise, for a wide and friendly
smile appeared on his face.
“Do we know each other, sir? How did you know that I
was an artist?”
“Well, perhaps it’s my job to know. Sorry, I can’t
tell you more about that”, he answered, and then quickly added, “ but there is
something else I can and should tell you”.
“I know that you are enchanted by the technical side
of creating Art and the impact it makes on others. Therefore I perfectly
understand why you are on your way to the top of this mountain. This mountain,
in fact, is not built of rock and soil, but of skillful drawing, lucid picture
compositions, appealing color combinations, intelligent use of light and
breathtaking brushstrokes. It contains ideas of promoting your work and
selling yourself and your art. Likewise it is partly composed of the
wishes that you might one day be able to say - I have worked for this or that
prestigious company. And at last but not least, it contains hopes for filling
your piggy bank with glittering coins, your ears with flattering compliments
and your shelves with golden awards.
You say “I am hiking on this road”.
No, my dear, you are not hiking. The truth is that you are dancing the
everlasting dance in a vicious circle. You are dancing a perilous dance of
vanity and idleness. Above all, most of the time you are dancing to somebody
else’s music. And although you claim that this music contains some notes of
your own, it is still being composed and played by others. You might say after
all: “well, I am just a dancer and need some music to dance”. But you are
wrong, for you are much more than a mere dancer.
However, once you have finally climbed the steep and
tricky slopes and have reached the highest peak of this mountain, you will
discover that there is even a greater mountain in front of you. This mountain
will be covered in mist, and although you will not be able to see the peak, you
will sense its presence behind the curtains of fog. You will then know that
there is a splendid peak that is waiting to be conquered by you. You will be
attracted by this newly discovered mountain. In order to reach its
invisible peak you will have to rely on your own intuition and your previously
gained insights. There will be no charts or maps to show you the way. You will
have to create them for yourself. And because most of others did not dare to
leave the comfortable position on the lower mountain peak, there will be not
many whom you can turn to and ask for advice.
And when you ( if you) reach this higher ground, there
will be no one to witness your great achievement, except for the mountain
itself. If you in the meantime did not manage to realize who you are and how
good you are, you will be in trouble, my friend.”
“I believe I know these things; why you are telling
this to me?”, I replied in an angry manner.
“Believing and knowing is not the same. Besides, who
says I am telling it to you only?
He then lightly touched his hat and went down the
road. I stayed behind puzzled by his words and asking myself who this guy was.
The conviction that I have previously seen his face quickly grew in my
”Damn it” , I finally realized, “ it’s William Blake!”.
Then I woke up. My eyes fell on the book that I read
last night just before I fell in sleep. The book’s title was: William Blake,
The Complete Poems.
William Blake, painted by Thomas Phillips in 1807.