Creativity, like songbirds, can be bought and sold. But songs sound differently from behind the bars of a gilded cage, when sung for a supper.
Greed makes artists compromise. They follow trends rather than their hearts. They measure success in sales rather than in the call of their souls. They agree to distort their work to fit corporate agendas and market demands. Greed turns originality into predictability into a worthless tin horn.
Ironically, greed rusts the very things that made an artist’s work valuable in the first place. Greed transforms artists into celebrities, hogging the limelight, addicted to fame, prisoners of their egos, and detached from the pure, original source of their creativity.
Greed distorts and cripples the true purpose of art, turning the fruits of personal expression into a mere commodity. An artist’s heart-felt response to the world shrivels into a rich man’s prized asset, garnering millions at auction, then hidden away, another coveted diamond on a dragon’s hoard.
The opposite of greed is generosity.
Greed prevents artists from sharing their work with the world, afraid it will be poached. Rather than joining a creative community, inspiring others, collaborating, teaching, sharing their insights and lessons, greedy artists hide in their studios, squirreling away their work, waiting for the best offer. They refuse to support causes, to contribute their creativity, to reap the benefits of selflessness.
Greed clouds perspective, skews values, saps generosity.
Greed is a symptom of fear.
When you are afraid of being deprived, you hoard possessions against any possible future famine, no matter how remote. When you are afraid of being passed over and neglected, left to shrivel and die, you hoard attention. Afraid of competition, you crouch on your mountain of toys so no one else and play with them. Afraid of being taken advantage of, you refuse to open the door to others. Afraid of being vulnerable, you amass a pile of any stuff than could be a bulwark or a weapon. You bank your work rather than letting it see the light of day and of possible critique.
Greed blocks your way. Generosity and creativity clear it.
First in a series on seven deadly creative sins.