Watching the news this morning, I learned that apes in captivity have an increasingly alarming problem with cardiovascular disease.  Just like humans.  Could it be inactivity, or the food they eat?  Maybe, but it struck me that the word that summed up the root cause for their heart problems was “captivity”.

It’s true that primates in captivity live longer and generally healthier lives than those in the wild, especially considering the reduction in the quality and scope of their natural habitats, due to human occupation and activity.  However, is it a life worth enduring if it lacks freedom?

We are all, to some degree or another, held in captivity.  We have our personal circumstances that bind us.  We have obligations.  There’s the job, the office and the commute.  We’re often stuck in traffic.  There is a mortgage to pay.  I wonder to what extent this invisible captivity contributes to cardiovascular malaise?

It seems to me that freeing yourself from your captivity, but without having to resort to a feral existence, might be the ideal.  Fortunately, imagination and art can do that.  In your artistic works, you experience a genuine freedom to do and be almost anything you want.  You can be transported briefly from the chains that bind you to a world of your own making, in which your expression is valid and wanted.  If you are lucky enough to make a successful living from your art, you are also freed from the daily toll of traffic jams, commuting, clocking in, cubicles, office politics and so on.  You might even be financially independent.

I wonder if anybody has studied successful artists, as a group, comparing them to office workers, from the point of view of cardiovascular well-being.

About tropicaltheartist

You can find out more about me here: There aren’t many people that exist in that conjunction of art, design, science and engineering, but this is where I live. I am an artist, a musician, a designer, a creator, a scientist, a technologist, an innovator and an engineer and I have a genuine, deep passion for each field. Most importantly, I am able to see the connections and similarities between each field of intellectual endeavour and apply the lessons I learn in one discipline to my other disciplines. To me, they are all part of the same continuum of creativity. I write about what I know, through my blogs, in the hope that something I write will resonate with a reader and help them enjoy their own creative life more fully. I am, in summary, a highly creative individual, but with the ability to get things done efficiently. Not all of these skills are valued by the world at large, but I am who I am and this is me. The opinions stated here are my own and not necessarily the opinion or position of my employer.
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2 Responses to Captivity

  1. susangeckle says:

    You may be on to something here. Artists like Georgia O’Keeffe lived to be in her 90s, and looked very healthy,vibrant and worked until the end. I always thought it was her art that kept her alive. Making art is not only fun, it gives our lives meaning.

    • It’s one of my funny little quirks. I see the connections and patterns that others don’t. It seems to me that heart disease and having a broken heart have something deep to do with each other. It’s a long standing cultural understanding that we forget to consciously acknowledge sometimes.

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