Chapter XII

When the "shit" hits the "fan"...


Einstein once said that "imagination is far more important than knowledge" – I personally haven't fully reached that stage of freedom quite yet, but I am more than willing to believe that Mr. Albert was correct. Such as what happens in the main theme of the novel “Blindness”, by the Portuguese author Saramago, Julia Cameron, an American teacher, author, artist, poet, novelist, filmmaker, composer, and journalist, affirms that “Creativity - like human life itself, begins in darkness”. I am inclined towards the notion that as blind as love, or as life itself, strangers can actually meet themselves and each other in the dark. It seems that Creativity "blinds" us as much as it "unbinds" us. For some individuals, quite inexplicably, creativity fades out, whereas for others, it can simply become adrift. However, I believe that Creativity can always be found, even if it only lasts for a night.

Transversally, there is another kind of Creativity, that subscribing Dante's words, is also possibly found in a place designated as "hell”, and where “nothing shines” – in a dark forest where you find yourself waking up from a state of "wandering" through the straight path, and “how hard” it was to reach it, or even describe that “wood of wilderness”, where you supposedly arrive to a dead end, only to find a beginning. This is, I suppose, the cruel kind of Creativity: the one that almost kills us, and which I happen to be an expert on… This dark wood only exists for us while we are walking through it wearing a veil, but in the midst of the journey, the veil does usually fall off at some point, and to which you either choose to see and feel you Creativity, or you simply do not. I have personally only reached Creativity to find that it poses a deep and profound interrogation.

What is Creativity and the Creative ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns and relationships; to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods or interpretations? What do these concepts encompass? Is there a state or quality in being creative? What is the difference between an Artist and a Creative? Aren't they both leading you to the creative activity, with the purpose of creating something from whatever thought, expression or imagination, which consequently results in a work of art, or as a method of innovation?

Creativity is the jet fuel delivery system for knowledge and wisdom. The gift we offer each other, and which makes everything else possible. However, those very tools which provide boundless human imagination and grant us the capacity of self-expression or artistic contemplation, may also entail a dark side, which can distort our very perception of reality as a viewer, through the subversion, corruption, or even through the manipulation of entire masses and populations.

Like flowers, some of us can grow in any soil, whilst others, very much like orchids, will only flourish in certain grounds. This doesn't necessarily indicate that the former can´t contribute with their free thinking and atypical minds towards different creative fields. It only indicates that the process to get there for “orchid types” might be different from those who get there in a more methodical way, or for those who strive more within their executive function.

Dr. Gail Saltz, an American psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, columnist, bestselling author and television commentator, affirms that she has been struck by the enormous discrepancy how celebrated the genius. She has researched, studied and spoken about how genius individuals have suffered, and continue to suffer throughout their lives. A suffering which is not only a result of their apparent or diagnosed illnesses, but very much because they feel “rejected by others for being different”. As a result they isolate themselves and become lonely, “often void of real loving relationships and contentment in their lives”. “They have changed our worlds for the better with their art and their scientific discoveries”, but their personal world remains voided of warmth, comfort or acceptance by/of others, largely due to the fact that society lacks of understanding towards these individuals. "While their sparks enable them to create history altering innovations”, Society has “shunned many” through rejection. This may have caused them “great misery” and “emotionally to glider". The real peril coexists within the people that actually surround us, and in which "words are of course the most powerful drug used by mankind" – quotes by Rudyard Kipling.

Therefore the answer must pretty much lie in mastering our communication, and for this same matter, it is important to start attributing the accurate names to things, and redefining what it really means to be an Artist, or perhaps, a Creative at heart. An "Artist" is a person skilled in a creative activity; in one or more of the visual primarily arts for aesthetic purposes such as: painting, sculpture, drawing, graphics, architecture, design, among several other artistic fields, or someone who happens to rise in one or more of the performing arts, such as theatre, music, dance, performance, or even within the media, such as the radio, cinema or television. An “Artisan”, meaning a craftsman, handicraft person, a "chef", a fashion or interior designer. There are also some examples or artisans who are considered artists, such as a ”Composer”, who could perfectly be a novelist, a writer or melodist, a singer-writer, a serialist or even a tunesmith soundtrack musician. In fact "the Artist" is seen as an expert that could range from a magician to a virtuoso of some kind; a specialist, proficient master. A knowledgeable, gifted person with exceptional skills. There is also ”Artistry” in trickery or deceit, meaning the person who exhibits creative endeavours and conniving resourcefulness. At last but not least, an "Artist" can also be considered a creator, a generator, a producer, a maker, an initiator, and consequently an inventor, such as a pioneer, a founder, a builder, a designer or even a multi-purpose architect. A “Creative” can be a person who has the quality or power to create something through their intellect, such as declarations, speeches or history that may or may not require knowledge or imagination, and which can be transformed into poetry, tragedy or comedy, resulting in works of original thought patterns, that refer to whatever expression, visualization, perceptiveness, imaginative, exceptional mind trip or whatever interpretation that can be wise, talented or inspirational towards a brilliant consideration. This unique something which can be Created is not habitually achieved through an ordinary process.

My aim here is to raise my voice from Artist to Artist "in service" of the “Artist" in all of those who are skilled in the creative activity. A concept which is not the same as the word "Creative" but yet, comprises all Creatives who have that original quality or talent that enables them to create - either it be a person who is already aware of it and therefore creates on a regular basis, or one who also might have happened to be born with this capacity, but for some reason, is still blocked in that process of development.

There is no such thing as a struggling or tortured artist. This is mankind’s invention. In fact, Gail Saltz describes the "Origin of the tortured artist" did not only emerge from the "effects of illness" but also due to the effects of our "reactions to illness and difference". Asserting that every brain and every life holds some kind of potential. ”Squashing that potential by dismissing those who are outside of some standard mould is not only cruel on an individual level but is a flat waste on a sociable level." Therefore we should be "armed with the knowledge of how to treat and manage the differences that cause suffering, by knowing how to best mind the potential that accompanies differences. We cannot only increase the genius of many but also enhance the quality of life for many millions" With this implicit notion, you can subsequently stop seeing Creativity as something frightening or dodgy to pursue, and remind yourself that most of what our damn culture declares as neurosis, derives from blocked creativity in opposition to our purest versions, which are part of the holistic and user-friendly universe, that can indeed hear our prayers. Creativity connects us to our emotions and intuitions. It metabolizes life and is a spiritual practice which connects all "Artists" (in service of human life itself) with the great creator. The "shit that hits the fan" is somewhere around the lines in being able to recognize the difference between Mars and Jupiter. In the same alignment with Julia Cameron´s views "For those who speak in spiritual terms, routinely referred to God as "Creator" but seldom see "Creator" as the literal term for "Artist". Cameron suggests you take the term "Artist" literally if you are seeking to forge a creative alliance from Artist to Artist with the great "Creator". Accepting this concept can greatly expand your Creative possibilities". Just as Julia Cameron, I am willing to believe that God is an Artist. Whatever God it may be. Either Christian, Judaic, Buddhist, Muslim or any other perspective of a supreme faith. In view of the universe, of angels perhaps, of the sun, of the stars and constellations, "God's will is for us to be creative"...