The Icarus Deception: Get unbrainwashed and make art

We've all been brainwashed. Brainwashed into thinking we aren't special, that we're cogs in an industrial machine. Seth Godin argues that for generations the industrial economy instilled fear into the masses. Fear of being different. Fear of shame. Fear of failure. We remember not to fly too close to the sun, but we've forgotten the equal risk of flying low, near the dampening water. This is "The Icarus Deception." Godin argues this needs to change. Now.

I believe Godin’s gospel. He makes common-sense arguments about why each of us should pursue our passion and create “art.” Today, audiences are accessible, resources our plentiful, and demand for new artwork is immeasurable. Now is the perfect time to be an artist.

Godin emphasizes the importance of overcoming the fear we’re brainwashed to feel. Our fear of shame. Our fear of failure. He quotes the brilliant Krishnamurti, “What is needed… is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not to escape from it.”

This truth hit me. Hard. I censor myself habitually. I have strong opinions, but am anxious at the possibility of offending and alienating people. I want people to think that my work is perfect, but this creates an impossible benchmark for success, the effects of which are crippling. I have a digital vault of incomplete projects and unpublished materials. Those aren’t doing anyone any good. I recognize that this needs to change. Fear of failure is a struggle I must overcome.

Art is risky, and risky is imperfect by definition. Our vulnerability is what makes us human, and our shared humanity is how people connect with each other.

Godin’s “The Icarus Deception” is full of wisdom. I was a bit brainwashed. I guess this book helped make my mind dirty again.