I ran across the above tweet yesterday and was immediately struck by the wrongness of it, though it took me a little while to understand why it was wrong. In concept, it should be a true statement. Shouldn’t the best way to become anything better be to become a better person? Shouldn’t that be a fundamental truism across the board?
Yes, it should be true. Yet, looking back through literary history, there is not much evidence to support it.
Artistic ability does not really seem to be associated to being a better person. One could argue that there is a tie between wanting to be better or at least questioning what it could mean to be better, but I don’t see how being a subjectively better person makes you better at the art and craft of writing (or any artistic endeavour for that matter). It does, however, still make a great sound bite, and I won’t argue that it doesn’t do any damage to let it run wild. The world could use some “better people” right now.