Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Just wondering...

... sometimes, I feel like I know everything. I am pretty confident in my life. At my work, I glory in my research and teaching opportunities. I look for the best in my co-workers, and usually find it, and life feels pretty grand!! I have seriously remarked to myself when leaving the Hirshhorn at night, "I am seeing life through rose-colored glasses!" (The fact that the sun is setting when I leave every evening might be helping :) A lot of the time, I have faith that Heavenly Father is working it all out, and I lreflect back and see how much he has blessed me in the past, and I glean even more confidence in the future. (haha- I just got Maria von Trapp's "I have confidence in sunshine! I have confidence in rain! I have confidence that spring will come again! Besides which, you see- I have confidence in ME!" stuck in my head).

But during a few scattered hours this week, I found myself wondering if I really know anything at all. I used to wonder that all the time (it was called adolescence. I'm sure you've all been there). I really disliked experiencing the old familiar sensation of second-guessing myself and living life on the mild side. I'm so thankful for college, for it gave me a foothold and helped me figure out who I am, and it introduced me to the world's greatest people who loved me unconditionally as I slowly figured things out. I found joy in art history and business studies there. I learned how much happiness service will render the servant. And I adventured a lot, which as we know, produces lots of pleasure and fun facebook photo albums :) And now that part of my life is in the past.

I keep meeting people now who used to be like me, and aren't anymore. Do they know something I don't? Will life eventually crush the confidence out of me? Is it even confidence I've got, or something with a little worse connotation... like pride???

I don't have any answers today. BUT true to form, I have an artwork that relates to my crazy musings. Presenting the current world record holder for most expensive artwork from a living artist (sold in 2007 for $100 MILLION dollars, although the identity of the buyer remains hidden and the sale is heavily disputed as genuine amongst the art crowd):

For the Love of God, by Damien Hirst. 2007. It's a platinum cast of a human skull encrusted with 8,601 flawless diamonds, totalling 1,106.18 carats. The human teeth are real. Art legend says that the artist, "Britain's most notorious bad boy," chose the title because it's what his mother exclaimed when he told her about the project. Hirst had been enjoying record-smashing auction results for his brightly painted pills glued to metal cabinets, and dead 15-foot tiger sharks set afloat in vats of formeldahyde (from whence my art economics book, "The $12 Million Dollar Stuffed Shark," got its title). Tabloid writers, who had spent the 90's dishing about his cocaine dealings and outlandish spending records, were all in a flurry when this artwork dropped. Hirst Did It Again.

He seems unstoppable. Virulent jealousy, critial acclaim, multi-million dollar patronage, and continually dropped jaws all surface in his wake. We are all secretly waiting for the day he falls flat on his face, bankrupt (though I'd be willing to bet his ultimate disgrace will come from an OD, Heath Leger style, rather than a decline in value). He's just too good, and For the Love of God practically cackles at us that the artist is fully aware of his brazen status. For the Love of God is a Memento Mori (see my Abject through Zeitgeist post if you don't know what that is) with conceptual references to modern day's deity: money. Pretty brilliant. (And someone thought it was $100 million worth of brilliant). Oh, to put it in perspective, it cost approximately $11 million to make. That's a price increase of 809%!!!! The whole thing is ridiculous.

Am I proceeding through life built on shaky confident foundations like this overinflated pop icon? Or are better things to come for me? Where are the lines to be drawn, between confidence, pride, and foolishness? And wickedness?

I remembered just in time to look at the scriptures before I closed my post. Lo and behold, I was reminded why Nephi was the MAN. Look what he wrote:

"O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell! Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught and revile against that which is good, and say that it is of no worth! (Lindsey's side note: OR say the thing of naught IS of worth) For the day shall come that the Lord God will speedily visit the inhabitants of the earth; and in that day that they are fully ripe in iniquity they shall perish."

Hmm.... When I was little I always thought, "Man, I hope bad guys read this book, so they will stop!" I remember my mom or some teacher teaching me that that the Lord uses three "wo's" in a row only a couple (maybe just 3?) times in the Book of Mormon. So you know this verse means business. But who was it written for? Do bad guys even read scriptures? Or is it all for me?

Little Lindsey (and current Lindsey) liked this scripture a lot better, a couple verses away, "I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.”

I've only got a couple of lines and precepts under my belt, that's for sure. But at least I'm still asking questions :)

PS Mom I think you're right. It all depends on where your confidence is coming from. Yourself=You burn. God=You learn wisdom.


MOM said...

Hmmm...this isn't exactly a "leaping cow" easy topic, is it? I feel like I need to roll up my sleeves for this one. Let me start by commenting on one of your questions... "are better things to come?" I believe completely that all good things come (eventually, if not right away) to those who love God and keep His commandments. And that my dear, you do. I think we all stuggle with some form of pride and have to ask ourselves whether or not our "confidence" (when we have some:))comes from outward influences, self-focus, or whether it comes from the Lord and His strengthening/enlightening, blessing us. I'm glad you feel that "Sound of Music" feeling riding the subway home. That is joyful! As long as we give it all back to God and acknowledge where everything comes from, I think we're okay. To enjoy that lifting, happy spirit, I feel, is something He would have for all of us. Humility is key. Lifting and loving others is key.

As far as knowing everything... you know what they say: the older you get, the more you know you don't know anything!

Poor Hirst. I hope he learns the worth of a soul is not a skull full of diamonds.

Judy Anne said...

Wow Lindsey,
It is amazing to me what people think of to create (and then give it a name). I guess I am just a simple woman who tries to see the good every where I go and in everyone I meet. I have been disappointed (often) but then I remember that this is God's plan and that if a wait a while, I will understand what He wants me to learn. I am, however, an impatient person, so I have difficulty waiting for His will to be done is His time and not my will to be done...right NOW! But, I am if you ever think you have it all figured out, watch out for the new opportunity for growth coming your way. Life is fun, and crazy, and weird... sometimes all on the same day. I love you and miss you.