In Flodor Dostoyevsky’s novel, The Brothers Karamazov, Father Zosima proclaims that,”Beauty will save the world.” As I thought about what this means, I remembered a parable I was told when I was on my first Art is Power Tour in Panama. The story goes,
A huge inferno was consuming the forest, and all of the animals ran for their lives… except for a little hummingbird. Instead, the hummingbird flew to the lake, filled his beak with water, and then darted back to the fire and sprayed it. In amazement, the other animals watched the hummingbird shooting back and fourth, over and over again. Some of the animals screamed, “You’re crazy! You can’t possibly put out the fire on your own.” The hummingbird, without skipping a beat, responded to the animals, “I’m doing my part.
This story resonates with me because I generally see artists in the same light as I see the hummingbird. A person who spends their life crating beautiful works of art that free people from their fear and apathy for a moment of truth and beauty, may seem like they are fighting a losing war, but if every person in the world spent more time in deep meditative introspection trying to figure out a way to beautify the world, then many fires could be put out.
Here is a video of the story narrated by Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Wangari Maathai.