June 19, 2012

Proposal: "Generosity Model"

I was reading an very heart-felt passionate article about the "wrongness" of pirating music this morning. I could definitely sympathize with the author and the many commenters that wrote in. But, I felt it missed something.

It's not that I think stealing is okay or that artists shouldn't be compensated for their work. No, I think the whole premise is built on the wrong model, the wrong view of how life really is.

Even the word "pirating" is kind of humorous because history shows us that the pirates were just stealing what the trading companies had stollen from the New World peoples. If everyone starts demanding their "piece of the pie", the complications are infinite. Who compensates nations whose "historical" treasures were plundered years ago and now bring revenue (and tourist dollars) to many of the worlds great museums. Even now, people are trademarking words in our language and genetic code. Where will this stop?!

No, current legal and therefore political assumptions are built on a "business model". To me, that model is based on our animal nature: you hunt to eat, or you run to not be eaten. And it has served the human animal quite well - just look at how we dominate the animal kingdom on this planet - almost an infestation if you ask me. [smile]

But, we are more than "animals". We CREATE. Of everything we do as human beings, this is what clearly separates us from our animal brothers and sisters. We use our mind to share with our fellow man. And it is because of this that I think we need a new model - a "generosity model".

Artists, whether they are musicians, painters, writers, or any of the other billion titles you can give to "creators", create because they have to, it's in their very nature. If they don't share, they are "dead to the world", lifeless husks just barely better than vegetables. And their first thought has never been "What can I create for money?" From the first cave paintings to the present day, man, and woman, created to connect with others, to share what was inside of them, to make others lives a little more enjoyable with a little something for their senses.

Instead of lamenting the moral decay of our society because technology is allowing people to take what they want without paying for it, we should ask if that very technology is instead forcing us to look at our basic assumptions of how we "share".

Artist create, not for money, but for love, for the need to give of their humanity, to express what seems impossible to express. If they can make a living at it, all the more better.

But what they give us is more than just their music, or art, or words - no, what they give is us is the best possible example of "generosity". They give because it is their very nature to give - a trait I say is in all of us, we just have to let it out. Give to others, like they have given to you.

Since this is sort of rebuttal to David Lowery's story, I will put in this caveat: Since the artist shared with you, let their example move you to share back. If you want to compensate the artist for their work - do so. But don't limit yourself to a "business model". Buy a CD or MP3 if you want, but that is only the tip of what you can do to compensate the artists:
  • Respect the music: Just don't play the music but really listen to it. Let the artist's message permeate your very soul. Connect with them as if they were in the very room with you. And tell others, let everyone know this "artist" you have met, even if it is only through their music.
  • Support the artists message: Why did the artist write the song to begin with - to express heartache or joy, to support equality or standup against injustice, or just to help others release the music inside each and everyone one of us? If the music moves you, let it. Donate your time (and money) to whatever cause the artists message gives you (even if it to you alone).
  • Create: Everyone of us has the ability to 'create' - it is in our very genes. And share - don't see how much money you can get for your creativity - life is more than money. If you can see that, if you let it permeate all you create, you will be compensated beyond your wildest dreams. Maybe you won't become a millionaire, but I dare say you will be a rich man none the less.
And this goes for everything we humans do, not just music: art, literature, programing, design, cooking, sports, building....and the list goes on. If we all gave of our hearts instead of looking to fill our "wallets", we would all have what we need to not only survive, but to thrive, to go beyond....