Category Archives: Quotations

(Un)seeing things hierarchically!

In his outstanding book “The War of Art”, Steven Pressfield says the following about the artist, which is applicable to anyone who seeks to produce a work of value:

“For the artist to define himself hierarchically is fatal. Let’s examine why. First, let’s look at what happens in a hierarchical orientation. An individual who defines himself by his place in a pecking order will:

1) Compete against all others in the order, seeking to elevate his station by advancing against those above him, while defending his place against those beneath.

2) Evaluate his happiness/success/achievement by his rank within the hierarchy, feeling most satisfied when he’s high and most miserable when he’s low.

3) Act toward others based upon their rank in the hierarchy, to the exclusion of all other factors.

4) Evaluate his every move solely by the effect it produces on others. He will act for others, dress for others, speak for others, think for others.

In the hierarchy, the artist faces outward. Meeting someone new he asks himself, What can this person do for me? How can this person advance my standing?

In the hierarchy, the artist looks up and looks down. The one place he can’t look is that place he must: within.”

“Perfections of means and confusion of goals seem, in my opinion, to characterize our age.”
– Albert Einstein

“An expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less until he knows absolutely everything about absolutely nothing.”
Nicholas Murray Butler