Being an artist has no intrinsic value, it is valuable only to the canvas that loves paint or the paint that dreams of the violation of brushes. It is memory, I believe that art is memory, and so I suppose then that artists are memory keepers, but so are many others, so are writers and recorders of all sorts. But I will say this about the memories that art keeps, I am talking about painting. They are memories of ourselves! It is not the memory of paint, or surface, it is not the memory of museum-going. It is the memory of light. It is the memory of time, of land and the gamboling wind, it is the memory of hats!, the memory of dust, of circumstance and being. I do not think I am making myself clear! That is because it is very difficult to put words to this, for I am speaking of something so ethereal, no words can stick to it. It is memory. It is the memory of ourselves as we have existed through time. It is the memory of blood and breath. Painting gives us that. It lets us remember. But I still cannot say that being an artist has intrinsic value, even though it is illogical to then speak of art's great value as a memory keeper, or a feeling keeper—feeling that is memory, or memory that is experienced as feeling. It is illogical, because without artists, there would be no art, and therefore no memory. We would not remember ourselves! Yes, yes, I know, we could read the Illiad or Beowulf, and that is memory as well, and it is powerful. (I have heard the beating of a thousand hooves in pursuit of Grendel, and I have tasted what those armies tasted, and I have felt their drunken fatigue!) But standing before a painting—let me be specific, it will be easier: Standing before a painting by, say, Rembrandt, do you not slightly bow your head in memory of the low roof? Do you not watch the dust that filters through the window, remembering the movements that unsettled it, the creak of the chair as the sitter sat? Can you not smell the dusty corner full of shadow and a shaft of light? So far, machines cannot create that experience, and neither can people who are not artists, and animals can't do it either, only artists can. But I do not think any of that matters, for I do not find a world that values artists. It is a world that romanticizes them, particularly their unhappiness and struggle, it is a world that enjoys stories of their misery in life and wild success in death, it is a world that delights in hearing of their self-destruction and their tragedy. But it is not a world that values their well-being. If there is celebrity attached to the artist, then I believe there is also value, then the artist has value because, as we all know, celebrity has enormous value in our culture, it is the value of forgetting ourselves. Now I will make a logical statement based on the foregoing, and then we will be finished with today's paragraph, which I spent more time untangling and (more or less unsuccessfully) sorting out than you will ever know—consider that I began with a statement that I then completely refuted and how that contradiction was unresolvable but necessary nevertheless to resolve—that statement is this: Forgetting ourselves is clearly more valuable than remembering ourselves.