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077: The Warning
Wherein we discuss history's cycles, and what this means for us artists....
Welcome to week 77 of the Draw or Die Newsletter.
A little deeper topic this week to think about and dwell on. It’s not meant to scare anyone or be “doom and gloom”, but to show you there’s a silver lining for artists that stay sharp and heed the warning.
“History never looks like history when you are living through it.”
― John W. Gardner
Premeditatio Malorum: Preparing for Uncertainty
The ancient Stoic practice of Premeditatio Malorum, or “the pre-meditation of evils”, is a mental exercise where one visualizes potential obstacles or adversities. It's a preparation technique, a way of forecasting issues so that they don’t catch you off guard.
As artists, we are no strangers to adversity.
Every creative endeavor involves an emotional roller coaster—ups and downs of motivation, challenges of self-doubt, and times where the external world simply seems not to understand our vision.
Stoics believe that by contemplating these challenges in advance, we become better equipped to deal with them when they do arrive.
The Fourth Turning and the Cycle of History
You might be asking, "What's this 'Fourth Turning' business?"
In essence, it's the idea, based on historical patterns, that societies pass through four distinct stages or "turnings" over roughly 80-100 year cycles. The Fourth Turning is marked by societal upheaval and a desire for a new order. Van Neistat has a great video on his youtube channel that summarizes it all.
We are in the middle of a “crisis” cycle right now, a "Fourth Turning”.
Over the next decade we will face more challenges, environmental, social, and political, unlike any in recent memory.
Why Artists Matter NOW More Than Ever
History, with its cyclic ebb and flow, shows that during times of upheaval, artists become the beacon of hope, the voice of reason, and the mirror reflecting society's soul. In chaos, they find inspiration; in darkness, they find light.
The coming decade will be tumultuous. But that’s where you come in.
Artists have always played an integral role in shaping society’s response to change.
Your brush strokes, your melodies, your words—they all have power. Not just the power to create, but to heal, unite, and inspire.
Turning Adversity into Opportunity
This doesn't mean we sit back and simply let things happen. Instead, let's harness the Stoic practice of pre-meditation:
Anticipate: Visualize potential challenges. The global stage might shift, local industries might change, and artistic platforms may evolve. How can you adapt?
Create: Dive into your art. Use the turbulence around you as fodder for your work. Reflect the times, challenge the status quo, or offer an escape.
Elevate: Use your art as a tool for change. Reach out to communities, collaborate, and build bridges.
To anticipate is to be prepared.
The Stoics knew this, and through Premeditatio Malorum, they trained themselves to be resilient. As artists in the middle of a Fourth Turning, this resilience is our most vital asset.
Draw, paint, write, sing, dance—whatever your medium, now is the time to immerse yourself in it.
Train, prepare, and be ready. Because if history is any indicator, the world will soon need its artists more than ever.
Stay creative. Stay sharp.
Draw or Die.
🔥This Week’s Drawing CHALLENGE!
This week’s drawing prompt is…
“SEE THE FUTURE…”
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