Is it art imitates life or life imitates art?

Yesterday I was having this conversation with a friend, somewhere in the middle of the conversation I said; ” Well as they say, life imitates art”. To which he replied no, it’s art imitates life. I paused for a second and thought about it and than concluded: “I’m pretty sure that it’s -life imitates art-. As we couldn’t agree on the matter, we went online to our dear friend Google; who confirmed that both statements were true and spoken by great philosophers.

Aristoteles declared around 320 BC that “Art imitates life” but many decades later Oscar Wilde declared in an essay that “Life imitates art far more than Art imitates life”.

Now you’re probably wondering where I’m trying to go with that. Well see, first of all let me tell you that these two statements are perfectly true. But like Oscar Wilde said the former is more applicable than the latter. Let me give you basic examples to demonstrate this:

Art imitates life goes without saying. This is for example when an artist sits in front of a fruit bowl and actually try to paint this same bowl on his canvas. Or when a musician tries to duplicate the sound of a bird into a music peace. Or even when a movie director makes a movie based on a true story.  These are simple clear examples of ‘art imitates life’.

But what is life imitates art and most importantly why is this even more meaningful? Dramatically this can be explained as, you become the some of the art that you allow yourself to be exposed to. Of course  you have to expose yourself in a great level in order for this to have an impact. Let’s say a child who grows up in a house where both his parents are musicians and dansers will end up doing the same thing or he may at least end up doing something leaning in that direction. He will probably end up to be a composer, a music writer or having other functions that lean on the images and views that he grew up being exposed to.

An other example is when you watch videos of sport or crossfit, you go to seminars and read books about this kind of workout, you will end up wanting to become just like that. Because in your mind this has become your new normal, your way of life.

The biggest industry who makes the most use of this theory is the advertising industry. By broadcasting a certain product several times in a day on a tv channel or billboards; the great companies hope and know that people will end up buying their products because that’s what they’ve been exposed to.

These are all clear and plain examples of the latter. But when we look further into this we can see that, art imitates life in such a way that even the elements that we get exposed to on an unconscious level end up to become part of us.

For example nowadays we often see explicit images of sex on tv. This comes up on more and more regular basis, and this tendency ends up making younger and younger children want to be intimate at a very young age just because they got exposed to these images on an unconscious level. Also images of violence and the notion of fear that is proclaimed on tv nowadays results to the fact that more and more people goes on to live in fear and are more prone to violence or accept it much easily because they’ve been served this on a daily basis.

Knowing all this results to one outcome: How can you use this for your advantage instead of letting it control you?  When I wanted to start writing a book I went to a book launching event and one of the speakers told me that if you want to write you need to surround yourself with other writers in order to share ideas, experiences and to improve in your skill but most of all you have to read lots of books. If this is true for writing it is definitely true for any industry or any other aspect of life. If you’ve always wanted to run a marathon, start running, watch videos of others doing the running, study the best methods of running and talk to people who have done it before you. By surrounding yourself with the art of what you want you prepare your mind to accept the fact that you are ready to go after that which it is that you want. If there are elements in your life that you don’t want then make sure to delete and avoid exposing yourself to those images or other forms of art that express these ideas.

Once on a plane to the States I met this girl who was sitting next to me during the flight. We were talking about music and somehow we ended up talking about Adele, I told her how I admire her music and how steady her voice is and so on. To which she replied, she is a great singer but there is a lot of drama and I don’t like all that sadness. This hit me, it was the first time that I realised that listening to someone’s declaration of sadness actually made me feel the same, even when I wasn’t going through those emotions at first. This made me more selective to the kind of music I was listening to and which art I was allowing around me.

So now that you know all this; which art would you like to surround yourself with?