Archive for February 24th, 2010
I thought that this was a tree until I looked with greater care – it was a fern plant that was as large as many trees in the cloud forest of Monteverde. It was impressive to say the least, a true picture of the force of nature. Somehow, something small became huge, became more than expected. For myself, this is encouraging for it points to the possibility that I will become more than expected regardless of my now being well into the second half of life.
“The unborn work in the psyche of the artist is a force of nature that achieves its end either with tyrannical might or with the subtle cunning of nature herself, quite regardless of the personal fate of the man who is its vehicle. The creative urge lives and grows in him like a tree in the earth from which it draws its nourishment. We would do well, therefore, to think of the creative process as a living thing implanted in the human psyche.” (Jung, CW 17, par 115)
So, does that make the artist a victim? I don’t accept that idea in the least. Am I an artist? In my opinion, yes I am an artist. Do I feel that I am a vehicle for some “unborn work?” Without question I accept this as a truism with regards to my “self.” For some time I thought that it was music that was my art, my gift; then it was the images I would make with paint, water colours or charcoal; and then it was photography. But predating all of this was the notion that it was with words that I was to bring forward some “work.” I knew it wasn’t a matter of choice, but of some compulsion. Jung here shows some of the wellsprings of that compulsion. Yet for me, the wellsprings go deeper, born out of my “raison d’être.” I have a need to poke into life, to examine life and my presence in that life, to question everything in search of what lies beneath. Thanks to JF for sending me a document containing these words:
“The urge to know the things of life, to doubt them and reason about them, became for Plato a daemonic grace, a “force” of human nature that grabs hold of one, not a mere “technique” that one is free to choose or not, not a mere slave to be kicked about at whim. For Plato the rationality in whose name Socrates accepted the sentence of death was not its own ground but the sublimest for of participation in a divine “giveness.” (Heisig, “The Mystique of the Nonrational and a New Spirituality”)
Powerful words that echo Jung’s words while pointing to that sense of deeper and bigger that I keep talking about. Again the lack of choice, of freedom is mentioned. I want to challenge this as I do see a way out of the compulsion – a messy out in which the “host” decided to quit, saying no to life and the divine madness. There are enough examples of artists going mad and ending it all rather than continue being the vessel through which work as yet unborn could emerge.
For me, it has been lying within, waiting for the right time. I sense that my life is more about being tempered and made ready to do the work. I sense that in this process I am to become a part of the process, not simply a victim. When? What is this work? Good questions which, as of yet, have no acceptable answers. And in thinking about all of this, I wonder if this isn’t more about delusions of grandeur, pathetic attempts at manufacturing some mystical meaning for my life. But even this must wait to be proven true or untrue.