When my friends and I first discovered music, we didn't fall into the category of people who began playing guitar to get a girl's attention. Instead, we were trying to find an access point, a way to channel things that were vague, yet powerful, hard to fathom, like the vastness of the sea in the middle of night. We could feel then what all humans inevitably feel. That there is something wrong, even though we might not know what it is.
As we grew up, we learned about love, lust, guilt, loyalty, betrayal, shame, rage, and joy. All powerful cocktails of emotion that played no small part in forging who we became. Among the thousands of hours spent trying to find our way into music, there would occasionally come a moment when the tones we produced found an echo chamber in our souls and connected our emotions to a public address system. This is when I first felt truly alive.
One thing that really resonated from this transcendent experience was that, whatever the emotion we began the music evoking, once we hit the vein of connection, it meta-morph into a type of euphoric joy. It didn't matter where it started, but that type of ecstatic state always became the goal. They were prayers, these songs. The honest and heartfelt prayers I could ever imagine.
Once I found that, I began to see it in all of the greatest artist's work. Mozart, Michelangelo, Beethoven, Poe, Dickinson, DaVinci, Frost - list all of the masters in history and you'll find it in their work.
In seeing this, the truth was opened up to me. Any strong emotion, connected with transcendent art, becomes a catalyst for the ultimate experience of being human. It was the muck and the mud and the shit come divine purpose, the perfect 'Christ being born in a stable' explanation if I've ever heard one.
Take this into consideration as you create your art. We are magicians and shamans, conjuring transcendence and the ecstatic experience. We connect our audience with the most true essence of themselves and allow them to experience the spectrum of deep emotions. In the end, that's why they show up. Because we get them to feel something.
It reminds me of the (likely incorrect quote) "Science, medicine, and engineering help us sustain life. But art, beauty, and love are the reason that we live."