A writer, an artist, a creator of anything in any way, shape or form, has just the one ambition. Beyond the pure technicalities of the work at hand or the dreary reality in which it has to be accomplished, the builder of things wants one thing above all, an ambition to suit a lifetime. It is to achieve timelessness in his creation.
An author hopes to write a work which transcends the shackles of the present — context, timing, politics and others, and write something for generational consumption. Which is why timeless classics are called timeless. The themes they deal with and the subject matter they depict can transcend the vagaries of time which consume everything. Of course, timeless is also a matter of cultural interpretation, but that’s a far more complicated rabbit hole to venture into. No one in the course of human history has written anything that can transcend the boundaries of culture and appeal to one and all. Religious books, it may be argued, are an exception for the likes of the Bible and the Koran have sold billions of copies in multiple languages. But I think that’s more due to the process of cultural assimilation and spread of religion through various means than a truly timeless classic. Of course, I’m likely to he wrong on this one.
Construction can possibly transcend the cultural barriers the written word cannot. I doubt there would be a man from any culture or walk of life who gazes at a wonder of the world and is unimpressed in some way. The Taj Mahal, the Great Pyramid of Giza, Angkor Wat. All these and more were very much a product of circumstance of a bygone era we may never fully comprehend. Their very existence is dependent on context of the past, but they were built to endure, enthrall and elicit wonder and amazement for far longer a period than the creators would live. That is a commitment to craft. You may not understand why a certain structure exists or tue history behind it, but you can feel it. You can experience the grandeur for yourself and lose yourself in its timeless beauty.
Bur the same could be said of art. Perhaps, but not really. Art too is a prisoner of its medium, though the line between sculpture, architecture and art is often blurred. But taken in its purest essence of substance on canvas, the interpretation of art is hugely subjective and could be most unimpressive to the uninitiated. Therefore, it cannot be a timeless medium for a timeless work that can enthrall all of humanity, regardless of barrier.
It is the hope of every creator to make something to outlast himself and leave behind a legacy that will enrich humanity. It seems to me that building something is the surest form of achieving such immortality.