So many people are hypocrites. Politicians, for example, pretend to care about and represent the interests of the people that vote for them, but their real allegiance is always to those hat fund their party most handsomely. Their higher calling is to protect their own personal power and privilege. Ultimately, what they stand for most is feathering their own nests.
Product designers claim to want to serve their customers, making products which make customers’ lives easier. Yet, they are compelled, by convention and law, to place corporate profit above that goal. They acquiesce because their real interest is in protecting the comfort and safety of their family, which is entirely contingent on what they can earn, as a product designer.
Journalists tell us they are there to hold the powerful to account, but all too often they serve as mere mouth pieces for their billionaire employers. These billionaire media tycoons claim they represent their advertisers, but they may actually value their access to corridors of power and opulence far more. Both the journalist and media tycoon are ultimately trying to make a good living from writing their ideas and having people read them. As an edifice, it’s a horrible, self-contradictory mess.
Musicians say they stand for being entertaining to their audiences, but so many are really out there to feed their own egos and to behave appallingly without sanction. Some don’t even care about the quality of the music they make. But some musicians do. Some are so committed to the music they make, they only peripherally hope somebody might find it entertaining, or soothing, or exciting, or inspiring.
What you really stand for matters, because at some level, what you claim to stand for and what you truly stand for can be in stark conflict. At that point, your lie is exposed and you will either create intolerable psychological tensions in yourself, trying to claim the opposite (which is corrosive to health and peace of mind), or your fraudulence will be fully exposed and you may be expelled from your practice.
What you stand for and what you say you stand for ought to be the same thing.
As an artist (and as a human being), you ought to be honest about what you truly stand for and take whatever comes, from your pronouncement. The deceit of saying you represent one thing, while really representing another, is a dangerous, unstable game to play, on which you stake everything. People take that gamble because they think the deception can be maintained indefinitely and their true interests are furthered, while others remain ignorant of their duplicity. That ruse rarely works out for them, in the long run.
You may be punished for your honesty and integrity. People often are. However, living dishonestly, without integrity, is a brutal, miserable way to live.
What do you actually stand for? In whose interests do you truthfully act? What is it you really want from your art? Are you pretending otherwise? These are important questions to answer. Your integrity relies upon it. In the end, your integrity is all you’ve got and it’s hard to get it back, once you lose it.