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Art Imitating Life

Does life imitate art? This question is similar to what came first, the chicken or the egg, although it may not be as simple to answer. Maybe the art people create is a reflection of the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times, that pervades the society. Or maybe the art creates the zeitgeist and the behaviors follow that path like water in a stream. 
How much reality is there to art? After all, one could write about their life experience and give it a little twist.  They could also make a movie about some ancient and fantastical time that has never existed.  Yet within either of those would be something we can relate to – and ultimately feel as a part of – despite that it was filled with ‘untruth’. Aristotle claimed that tragedies and comedies were to realign our values as citizens; basically, the stories we hear are meant to inform us about the validity of our feelings in reference to the feelings of our society. Can a movie really straighten us out like that? After all, art often comes in movements associated with politics, fashion and general ideology… but could you argue that it is those things inside of us that created the art in the first place?
Our reflection in the mirror is not perfect because the image is flipped, but it’s a near perfect representation of what we’re seeing. It is fair to say that art is not a perfect representation of the swing of the times, but rather that it is a near perfect representation of how people feel, and therefore can be influential in that it inspires people to act in accordance to – or perhaps in spite of – the predominant values of the time. People can feel compelled by the imagery, or ideas espoused in the music, poetry, novels, films or even dance. As with a mirror, we can take a look at ourselves and see what we want to change, and on the other hand, it’s merely a reflective surface bearing our likeness.
So perhaps the deeper question that must be asked is: are you the mirror that is reflecting your image?

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