“The Collector”, oil on canvas, 60 x 50 inches, private collection
“Life is made up of compromises,” said his teacher. “You will learn that the world doesn’t work that way,” said his other teacher. “Yes, I know I said ‘always be aggressive when you are ahead,’ but make this an exception and be safe,” said his desperate coach. Only once did he discount his inner voice and follow advice that didn’t compute; it ended in a colossal failure. The problem wasn’t so much that their advice was bad, but it didn’t resonate with him.
Sheer, ruthless, driven, and brilliant were the unstated feelings grinding inside of him pulverising all his secondary attributes to dust. How could banal things have leverage against this granite outcrop rising to the sun? They couldn’t, and didn’t. So the only way forward was to shape his destiny with the precision of a diamantaire, and turn raw, unrefined stuff into treasure.
He learned from successful entrepreneurs to create products and services that touched the hearts and minds of everyone on the planet, and he did it at 1/100th of the cost, thereby giving value to humanity, even if they didn’t understand it, and giving him exboriant wealth, power, and influence. Oddly, empathy had nothing to do with it.
He received accolades, gained disciples, made meaningful friendships, and created a family. He had the best of everything money could buy: the richest coffee, magnificent homes, the fastest roadster allowed by law, and a wine collection the envy of experts. A death in the family, a betrayal of a friend, a few disappointing mentees, and a barrage of meaningless praise ground his previously untouched vision to a halt. “What was the meaning of all of this?” He wondered, and then continued to ponder his future: “I can’t just stop, I who have conquered everything I have touched, I have to find the next viable and meaningful goal or I am lost.” Many of his colleagues continued their same old processes with their only objective to add a zero to their account tally. Some were looking to educate the masses, with the suspect motive that an educated public taught with the right lessons increases their power and wealth. A few were more exotic and sought to leave Earth behind and populate unlivable Mars. This was not for him.
He had always been an alchemist of sorts turning worthless stuffs into gold, notably in the man-made world. Why couldn’t he do that for the human spirit? Could he find and fully support an area of human achievement that could advance not only himself but humanity as well? He found his answer in art. It’s greatest examples were unique with the irresistible stamp of genius. They transcended petty, vain, and bickering posers and offered everyone a better vision of love, life, and philosophy. He had found, through art, the state of being that made his existence worthwhile. Even greater than that, he found that the best in art was the key to our humanity’s nature, and its nature was to evolve.
He also found that he had the ability to share his discovery on a scale that made the world a far better place than it had been before.