L’art pour l’art (or “art for art’s sake”) is an old French slogan that was used to support the notion that art should be created without any ulterior motive, whether moral, political, financial, personal, psychological, etc. The idea was that art should stand on its own and be free of agendas, whatever those agendas might be and regardless of whether they live in the conscious or unconscious parts of the artist’s mind.
I’ve always wondered if there’s such a thing as l’amour pour l’amour or love for love’s sake. Can romantic love be free of agendas? Or do we always bring our stuff into relationships? Maybe it’s not really love if there are underlying agendas–if we use people emotionally or physically in any way, even if we aren’t aware that we’re using them. Maybe that’s why relationships fail or why love falls apart: because agendas change and form no longer follows function. I don’t know.
There’s an Easter book that I write about every year. It’s THE COUNTRY BUNNY AND THE LITTLE GOLD SHOES
by Du Bose Heyward, and it’s about a little brown country girl bunny who wants to grow up to be an Easter bunny. All the snow white boy bunnies laugh at her and say she can’t do it. And when she grows up and has twenty-one babies, the boys laugh even more. But of course she does
become an Easter bunny–because she’s hard-working and fast, and because she’s a wonderful, loving mama bunny–and she brings joy and love to the world.
Are there agendas in this book, with its underlying themes of faith, equality, and meritocracy? I suppose, although there’s nothing heavy handed or didactic about it. The story is open to interpretation and meaning is left to be made by the reader, not the author. In the end, it’s a book about love and believing in oneself, even when no one else does.
Happy Easter and happy spring!