I was going to write about the lessons for creative entrepreneurs that I’ve learnt from my favourite Do Lectures; the ones I’ve been lucky enough to see live in the barn, and the ones I’ve watched online. But that’ll keep for another day because the one unifying theme and the one underlying narrative in all of them — almost without exception — is love.
Love of a craft, the love of a place, the love of people, the love of food, the love of the planet, the love of endurance, the love of curiosity, the love of music, the love in creativity, the love of freedom of expression and the love of the possibilities this world can offer. Every talk is the story of how someone’s love for something took them from one place to another, always better, ending.
Even the talks that are about inventions and innovations, or fighting an injustice or righting a major wrong, are all filled with undercurrents of some strange kind of love that drove or supported or sustained the storytellers. Even the most traumatic and confronting talks have the purity of love at their core or in their resolution.
Lined up like this it looks like a trite and cliched new age shopping list sung to the tune of the Beatles’ most annoying earworm, but it’s not. Love is all you need, and love is the only thing that matters.
That quote from Robert Webb’s book ‘How Not To Be A Boy’ is a blinder, not quite literally, but it stopped me in my tracks like I’d walked into a lamp post. It is the melancholic and poetic equivalent of David Hieatt’s Two Films idea. On your deathbed will you look back on a life of what ifs or one lived full of love? Will the reaper have the last laugh or will you?
I was going to write about how simple acts of creativity and craftsmanship and campaigning have love at their core. I was going to try and pull a lesson from it that you can do any old job if you put love into it, and that is true, but that should be self-evident. If you need an easy explanation of why you should do what you love or do what you do with love, then you are too far lost for this feeble blog post to help.
The world seems to be in a shitty old state right now, and it’s hard to see the love as the horror unfolds ever faster on our scrolling screens, but it’s alive and well and available to all. In every dark corner and in every hopeless situation you will find glimmers and embers of love.
The Do Lectures matters so much not just because it inspires people to go out and ‘Do’, but because it demands that we Do with love.
I’m no philosopher and for thousands of years better women and men than me have tried to define love in literature, art, music and even science, but you don’t need a definition from me, or them. You know what love feels like. You can see it in people’s actions and in the work they produce and you know, deep down, what it feels like when you work in love and with love.
Forgive me then for quoting Socrates (‘a lovely little thinker’) as a summary. “One word frees us of all the weight and pain in life. That word is love.” And as the writer Katherine Fugate added,* “Same answer in Ancient Greece as it is today.”*