Wednesday 15 July 2020

Humility *and* creativity

Perhaps humility - the humbling of pride - is what we modern, Western Men most need to learn. In this context; much of what appens in our individual lives - including much of what seems most negative - takes-on urgent and decisive meaning.

Deep-rooted pride simply must be taken-down - yet this is not easy for God to accomplish: not easy at all! We have so many wrong responses, so many excuses... I certainly do.

It is a case of God being cruel to be kind; sacrificing the short-term and temporary for the long-term and everlasting.

We are so addicted to finding the answers, to getting life sorted-out - and we resist being grateful for the grace of what is given us; we forget that our primary task is to know and follow Jesus.

It is a recurrent experience that the heady feeling of mastery, being-right, knowing-the-stuff and assuming a smoooth and delight-full future will be followed by a fall, a crash, set-backs, disasters, disease and the rest of it.

For our own good. This is precisely what we, each and individually, should learn-from. And if we do not learn... well then the lesson will be repeated until we do.

Yet humility cannot legitimately be pursued with monomania; because any virtue in isolation is a sin; and because passivity and mere waiting will lead to despair.

We moderns must be motivated if we are to resist the active evil of these times - and our motivations must be strong.

Thus for us here-and-now (although perhaps not for all everywhere nor in the past) creativity in our living is necessary. In the past and other places, creativity was generally felt to be a passive inspiration or even possession by deity - the human creator was merely regarded (regarded himself, too) as an instrument or conduit of the divine.

But not for us. We do indeed await grace from God, but we cannot wait inertly - we must meet God 'half-way'. Not an option, but a necessity. We must be active in pursuit as well as receptive to being-pursued.

This is what we need, this is what is required for modern consciousness - because we need to choose freely and actively that-which-we-need.

(Unlike the past when - it seems - what people need was often thrust-upon them. No good for us. We must seek and embrace what we need.)

So this is what must happen. The attitude towards life is creative, where creativity is in harmony with God's creation but not confined to it; where our own inner creativity is active. Where we add some-thing (albeit little, it makes a difference) to what is already there.

Active in whatever way we personally are constituted; and we can be sure that there is an inner creativity in every living person, a contribution each can and should make towards the Kingdom of Heaven.

Not - of course! - that kind of evil fake 'creativity' of the modern-arts or pseudo-science; but an active meeting-of some inner impulse and initiative with that which is divine in this world.

Nobody can be prescriptive about this. You may be the sole example of your kind of creativity. But we know it when we do it - even if nobody else can see it, even though nobody else admires it. Indeed, it is generally best to be unassertive about our own creating. Just be doing it, and leave its 'reception' to God.

(We need to be active in our creating, but not in our self-promotion!) 

(And for many or most people, our creativity is not channeled into One Big Thing, one specific art, craft or expertise; but is spread across many things - many things at once, many things through time. But none the less, none the worse, for it. Like someone who does good in many small things over many years; compared with one who does One Big Thing, a single act of Great Goodness - perhaps composes a wonderful poem of melody, or who dies a martyr. The latter will attract more attention in this world; but we can be sure that the former will be regarded as equivalently valid in the eye of God - and the Right Thing whenever it expresses the true nature of an individual.) 

Thus, on the one hand, pride is the deepest rooted of modern sins - for most people in the West. And much of our lives will be 'about' trying to teach us this fact. On the other hand - we cannot collapse into inert self-less acceptance, we cannot be merely passive and self-effacing; because that way we will conform to the prevalent evil.

The task, therefore, is to be both creative and humble; confident and active - but not For our-selves.

Indomitable in our creativity, inflexibly determined to do creativity - yet the products of that creativity need to be treated lightly and without possessiveness. Put them out-there, and leave it to God to decide whether they take any place or who (if anybody) they may reach in this mortal life and world...

It really is the doing that matters - while it is being-done. The products of creativity need to be recognised as themselves but straw.

Whatever is true and real about what we have-done is already eternal, and we need not concern ourselves about that.


Gary said...

Like a lot of your work, it makes a LOT of sense, and gives convincing answers to a lot of very deep questions which have perplexed thinking people for ages.

It would, however, need immersion in your previous blog posts in order for it to "click". That is, if you shared this piece in isolation to somebody unfamiliar with your work, it would probably seem very speculative and wishful thinking, at best.

For those of us who have been reading here for years (I´ve been an almost daily reader since about 2014, and can directly credit my conversion and almost unbelievable turning around of a troubled life to it), it is a capstone.

In a sense, I feel that this post is almost a perfect "Afterword", a sort of concrete conclusion and exhortation for the journey to continue, to those who have read the ouvre (pardon my French) that came before it.

Epimetheus said...

It seems that everything most sensitive in a human is most divine. The soul itself is the most sensitive and tender of all, and pride would see it frozen forever in amber, unchanging, paralyzed behind a false narcissistic facade. Is pride simply one's own direct opposition to deep soul-growth? It hurts the most, deep down there, and it often feels utterly unprotected.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Gary - I must acknowledge that this blog is primarily for my own benefit. What value the blog has partly depends on this fact.

Consequently - sometimes I am motivated to try and make my Notions accessible; but at other times I lack such motivation, and just present my conclusions unadorned and without links.