Do we make things for the masses or do we make things so good it only is understood by a few people?
This plagues me more often than it should.
In the music side and passion of mine I always want to have performances so astounding and compositions so intricate that they stand out as unique from anyone else. I don’t want music that is for the masses. The huge downfall of this though is that not everyone will be able to grasp it right away. In church music this might not be the best idea because we want everyone to understand the words of Christ. However for the musician there is so much more to music than a simple accompaniment.
I want a hymn book for high level musicians, not a hymn book for the average player.
Video content is so far stretched from itself like music. There’s the fifth grader who just got his first phone and starts to make videos or the Spielbergs and Nolans. As I scroll through videos on Vimeo I watch content that I don’t understand at all, but probably is making waves in the industry. I watch a lot of vlogs which might be the greatest “for the masses” type genre of video.
It is always important to push a craft forward. No matter what it is. Music, video, athletics, dance. They all need to move forward, and they will if people do the work. Elon Musk talks about how technology won’t just move forward on its own. Engineers and bright minds need to be put to task improving, updating, and creating new technologies. In the creative world new people come along all the time and dare to do crazier tricks, larger compositions, or mind bending films. Often, these people aren’t understood by others right away, but they do it because they care. If they care for making themselves better or the craft, it doesn’t matter, but putting in the work is always good.
Now what about everyone else.
Not everyone can be Steven Spielberg, John Williams, or Eric Whitacre. We need the people to explain what’s happening to the world. People like Musk who work on such complicated items, but also give talks to the world on what is happening, how it is done, and why. Martin Luther translated the Bible out of Latin and into the common German vernacular. Bach wrote hymns and music to be used by everyone. Leonard Bernstein, a prolific conductor and composer, hosted concerts for school children. Educating the masses, young and old, is necessary to bring meaning of the complicated and far off down to earth for everyone. If no one can understand your idea will it every take off? If no one appreciates a film is it still a worthwhile endeavor? Is going to Mars necessary if only a million out of 7 billion will ever get there?
The answer always seems grey, not black or white. It is not a simple task to move arts, athletics, or technologies forward and keep everyone up to date.
You should still try.