“Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn’t matter. The intent does. Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.” ~ Seth Godin, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
If art is a gift, should it be given away instead of sold? Some say “yes” and choose to simply to make the world a better place by making a unique and significant contribution to it. Some people give their lives to make the lives of others better. That, to me, is the greatest and highest form of art in existence.
Two such men lived in the 1920s when Type 1 Diabetes had yet to be understood.
Until 1922, the prognosis for all Type 1 Diabetics was death. That year two scientists, Sir Frederick Grant Banting and Charles Best, discovered insulin and its significance. Banting and Best could have gotten extremely rich by patenting their discovery, but they chose not to, so that relatively inexpensive insulin therapy could be immediately available worldwide. (Via Mental Floss)
My son was diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic in the 4th grade. This is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. In a few days he will be 21 and is in great health. His life was spared by the discovery of two men who saw their life’s work as art – something to be given to enrich the lives of others. It wouldn’t have been wrong for them to profit from the discovery. They just chose a different, albeit higher way. For that, I will forever be grateful.
As an artist and songwriter, I understand the importance of copyrights and intellectual property. I have both benefitted and been a benefactor from my artistry. I understand the difference very clearly. So before you rush to conclusions, I am not judging or condemning artists being paid for their work. I am simply stating that there are times that art takes on a more meaningful life as a gift to mankind.
I’m grateful for two men who overlooked the temptation to be mercenary with their life’s work.
I’m grateful they saw their discovery as a gift to others.
My son’s life depended on their art.
Someone’s life may depend on yours, too.