Tuesday, 4 December 2007
Interview with Todd Hart.
MS: How can we change the world and what is there to be done?
TH: I think the preliminary question is why should we change the world?
My parents were christian missionaries in Africa and they tried to change the world because they believed that everyone needed to believe in Jesus so they could go to a perfect paradise in the next life. I no longer believe that. And in some respects it seems as if with the ever-increasing population things could actually get worse. But fundamentally I am an optimist and am excited about new technologies and changes in medicine, genetic discoveries, ways of making my skin look younger :) So I guess I would say that fundamentally I want to change the world because it is the only thing that makes me feel better about myself and which makes me feel that we as people can some day achieve on our own the thing that centuries of people living in fear have sought in religion - a fairly trouble free world. But unfortunately this means that I believe in everyone learning as much as possible and becoming as aware as they can be about how life works and its incredible complexities so they can better contribute to improving things step by step. This begs the question of whether I would be happier making "art" or "music" which I might have difficulty showing a direct link to some concrete thing which I can see makes the world better (i.e., less carbon emissions, or water in rural Africa) or whether I would simply rather enjoy the years I have living in a bath of pleasure making things that create a community etc. And of course, this begs the question "What is really a better world?" and where does the "soul" that we have as humans fit into this world. Sometimes the future which is perfect seems cold? Also, a lot of people are disenchanted with "science" as a way of looking to a better future because it has been misused and because of the people who use it. This doesn't change the fact that understanding all of the complexities of science and how our world works, including how the mind works, is the magic key to all.
And I also think it is important to fight for these beliefs because the more people that believe in something which is completely untrue, the harder it may become for me to make the world better in a way that I think is true. Things DO matter.
MS: What do you have faith in?
TH: I have faith in the laws of nature. Though we might not understand them completely and we constantly get them wrong, I have faith that they work consistently and we can understand them if we try and it will explain most everything from the way we feel to the way our lifestyles form. And because of this, I know that certain things will always give me pleasure even if I do them over and over and other people think they are boring. Because I know that's the way I work. And I think everyone should learn this about themselves and accept it.
MS: Do you hope to be remembered and what for?
TH: I hope to be remembered as someone who had an idea that was really unique, any idea, and it made the world better. There's nothing wrong with being a big chimp in a sea of chimps and enjoying life until I die, but I'd like to be remembered for more.
MS: What is most important to you?
TH: Ideas and being happy. But sometimes people think that being happy is feeling some kind of ecstasy or laughing/smiling. Whereas in some ways I might be happiest in a state of some kind of angst because it is counterbalanced with the knowledge that I'm stretching myself and it's a difficult but I believe I will do something new and fun and that will make me even happier. I also find these days that often I am very happy in a moment of some little nostalgia, such as walking by a spot and remembering someone or some feeling I had that made me excited or warm.
It is also a shame that I realized so late in life that when you have an idea and you think that it's a great one you have to just do it even if the people you know will think it's strange, or it will feel odd. Eventually people get used to everything and the strangest thing becomes common. When I finally got old enough to not care and started just doing things because I was bored with everything else, I finally started to feel that life was actually pretty great. There is WAY too much repetition and not nearly enough people saying "I've had enough. I'm going to try it a new way." So many people are starting new bands or doing art and doing EXACTLY what everyone else is doing because they want success in a little way for here and now. But what's most important is to do something that you really think is a genuinely good idea, not just different, but really good and throw it out there for the world to see. If you think you would come to me with your idea and I would say, "But this is obviously just [blank]" than maybe you should spend some time in the library or searching the Internet, or travelling. Anything to give you a really good new idea.
Steph Raynor: Are we anywhere near where we need to be?
TH: No. This is obvious.
MS: What question should be added to this list?
TH: "What's the best example of Art really changing the world for the better?"