Thursday, January 13, 2011

Immodesty vs honesty

Immodesty and pride in others tends to be offensive to us.
I know I have sometimes offended people gravely by being too obviously proud of what I was doing.
I didn't like that.
But I'm thinking, modesty and humbleness are doubtlessly desirable qualities. But so is honesty. If a person, say David Bowie, has done undeniably impressive work, would you prefer him to either be unaware of that fact, or even to suppress that knowledge just not to offend?

Bowie actually is not just a good example, he is one of the reasons I thought this. In the early nineties or so, when he was in the band Tin Machine, the whole band were interviewed, and he said he'd gone back and re-listened to his back catalogue, and said: "I think I have done some wonderful work. I have to be honest..."
And I think I'd prefer him to be honest, too. It might not feel pleasant always, but it's valuable in the longer run.


Anonymous said...

You have to keep it in proportion. DAvid Bowie being proud of his work is one thing. If he had gone on to compare his achievements to those of Mozart, however... People that make too much of what they've done, out of proportion to its significance, that's what irritates people.

Ray said...

An old Turkish proverb says "Whoever tells the truth is chased out of nine villages." Maybe this explains our politicians.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Dave, thanks, that's insightful.

I'd say though that how great some given work is, is very subjective too. Personally I *do* think Bowie might be up there with Mozart, but for some people he's just another pop star.

ttl said...

If a person, say David Bowie, has done undeniably impressive work, would you prefer him to either be unaware of that fact...

Some of Bowie's work is very good. But so is everyone else's. We are all very good at something.

And, as Dave says, in the wider scope of things, Bowie is only average (at best) as a musician.

But comparing yourself to others, or others to you, is a fallacy. A pointless exercise. There is only one Bowie. So, there quite literally isn't anyone else in his field! And if you are the only one doing something, there's no one to compare it to.

The only contest, if you must have one, is that of authenticity. How unimpeded do you channel your Higher Self? And in that game Bowie, and quite a few other rock musicians, haven't always ranked very well.

Pretentiousness kills art. That is why many skilled artists are soon forgotten. And the corollary is why Bach and Mozart continue to sell so well hundreds of years after their death.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

You do have some good points.

But it seems to me that many strong artists are so despite quite strong egos, somehow they manage to keep a channel open to the Higher Self anyhow.

That's just my perception of course.