Wednesday 8 June 2022

Subcreation is the archetypal "Romantic" form of thinking for these times. If you don't yet do it: you should

A few months ago I published a post about Tolkien's creative process, and why it has such a powerful appeal for these times. The post retrospectively seems - on reviewing it today - to provide an important clue for how we ought to respond positively to these materialistic and mundane, dark and demonic, times. 

We all-of-us need to be subcreators in our own thinking. 

Naturally, I do not mean to suggest that we all (or even most of us) should be writing write fiction and poetry, nor painting and drawing, like Tolkien. Neither do I mean that this subcreation should take any particular 'public' form. On the contrary; our subcreation should not be done to impress or to influence 'other people'.  

I mean instead that we each of us have the capacity to subcreate in some way, and primarily in the world of our thinking

That-thinking may be helped by physical activities - such as writing, drawing, fishing or... whatever actually is helpful for you... But whatever that physical expression of subcreation may be - it should be a means to the end of subcreative thinking. 

It is in this realm of our subcreation that we are most likely to find personal meaning and purpose in reality - including our  everyday reality of totalitarian bureaucracy and propagandistic mass media.  

That is one meaning of Romantic Christianity - that (here and now) everybody needs to become a subcreator; and that we can only do this for our-selves.

Subcreation must be active and personal.  

And also that - if this is not already happening, in your own life - making subcreation begin to happen ought to be a major life-priority. 


John Goes said...

Very timely post for me. It intersects with several things I've been working on and thinking about.

I have often struggled with my tendency to go through phases; to start things, and to leave them "unfinished." In the past, I would have been discouraged as one of these waves of interest ebbed and would try to "force" myself forward until, inevitably, I was defeated and frustrated.

I have come to see now that spiritual learning and the creative process are inherently non-linear. Clue-following and trial and error characterize this road. And what is essential, in some sense, is not the creative output but the inner learning that accompanies it. With this understanding, the ebb of a wave should perhaps instead be marked as yet another clue about where the divine self wants to go.

I found the following two videos by Jazz pianist Hal Galper to help clarify some aspects of how this works in practice. One of his points is that a musician should realize that the actual instrument is not the piano (or whatever "thing" a subcreator works with) but himself. And to be a creator means following what in the world resonates with you, which is a non-linear, highly personal process.

"What is Practicing?"

"The Illusion of An Instrument"

Bruce Charlton said...

@John - Those videos are excellent! - and can be generalized beyond music, and from performance to 'life'.

Evan Pangburn said...

"Tolkie"... I assume that's a typo, and not a cute pet name for the man?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Evan - Ha! Well spotted.