Blog: Choice

Christine Alfery

Posted on June 23 2021

Blog: Choice

Featured image: Happy Days

What do you choose to value?

One of the things that I deeply value is my time, MY TIME, in my studio.

As an artist I know that I'm very selfish because of that. But, you know I have never heard of an artist call themselves selfish because they choose to value their alone time in their studio. They choose to enjoy and value the quietness of aesthetic and the media they that work with.

Artists choose to value this time over and over again, BUT, are they really selfish? After all, they are only thinking about their own happiness and their own life. No, they are absolutely not selfish. There is no question in my mind that they're not selfish, because they are thinking of that beautiful experience of being able to create something and they wish to repeat it over and over again. They don’t understand that this time in their studio could be labeled as selfish. Why? Because the word selfish in today's culture is thought of as something negative.  It implies that they lack consideration for others and are concerned chiefly with their own personal profit or pleasure.   In popular usage, the word ‘selfishness’ is a synonym of evil. The image it conjures is that of a murderous brute who tramples over piles of corpses to achieve his own ends . . . and pursues nothing but the gratification of the mindless whims of any immediate moment.

Yet the exact meaning and dictionary definition of the word ‘selfishness’ is: concern with one’s own interests. This definition does not link any moral equivalent to the word – any good or bad selfishness. It merely is a reasonable, objective definition of taking care of one’s own happiness and self interest. For example, eating when hungry, taking shelter when needed, taking walks when needed, looking at the stars when needed or painting in one’s studio when needed.

If selfish is understood as filling an empty cup, if selfish is choosing to create and make one's life fulfilled, ……. is that really being selfish? Or is that just taking care of oneself so that they in turn can understand and share with others?

The artist is not a parasite living off the work of others to make things for the public good, because they choose to be happy, or because of this alone time. The artist is not a slave to a "group think" process because of this alone time, the artist is just – well, the artist is just, living a life of happiness and fulfillment. That's something that a slave or a parasite could never experience and wishes that they could.

Don’t be a slave to another's thoughts. Be your own self, take care of yourself, and share, not because of guilt that would make you feel you are selfish, but because of happiness that will make others happy, including yourself.

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