To what purpose do we share? Why do we write, draw and sing? What do our continual manifestations of creativity have to do with the world of our experience?
It is understood that we exist within Creation, or, the Material World. The 3-dimensional world of our senses (sight, sound, touch), plus time, the 4th dimension. It is also understood that, from the perspective of consciousness (mind, spirit, soul), this Creation is also Maya, a sanskrit word for the illusory world of the senses or, again, the Material World.
As an artist, graphic, textual and aural, I create in sight and sound, according to my feelings and thought-processes at the time of creation. An idea may birth itself in me and percolate for minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or years, and then come out as a beat, a song, a poem, an essay, a drawing, painting or graphic. It is indisputeable that, however that idea expresses itself upon leaving my thoughts and emotions and manifests materially upon whichever canvas I choose, the idea itself is not original, that it comes from some deeper well-spring that all humans share, which is what allows you to read what I write, listen to the words I sing or look at the picture I paint and feel something upon witnessing it.
My own, personal interpretation of a deeper Reality – as opposed to a surface reality – a deeper Truth – as opposed to a surface truth – that we all share, is what allows us all to resonate deeply to beautiful works of art, to empathize with an emotional song, or nod to words written which describe what we feel or think about something almost exactly. The closer you and I are in our backgrounds and cultures, the easier it is for me to translate those deeper currents of reality into forms that you can understand. The closer we are in immediate experience allows you to feel the emotional currents that may underly specific forms of expression, creating an immediate bond of sympathy that will transcend any other perceived differences.
But does that poem, that essay, that graphic, that song reflect what is Real? Or is it only a representation of something that is unreal? Is the work of art or literature meaningful beyond our experiences, or are our experiences the sum totality of our awareness?
Our experiences bind us not only to Creation, but also to each other. I used to always emphasize to my physical geography classes that our most fundamental and intimate relationship – post-birth – is not with each other, but with the world around us. We share Incarnation, as a human family, within the bounds of the Material World. We share, as a human family, the generic symbols and archetypes of collective unconsciousness. We share, as a human family, the range of emotions that cause us to smile or frown. We share, as a human family, the progressive and encompassing stricture of time and space. Therefore, we share, as a human family, all of the requirements necessary to create an illusion of reality that binds us, in turn, to the Material World.
So if this world is the product of a form of collective consensus regarding the nature and form of reality, what does that mean in terms of our expressions and the existence of a greater Reality? The double-slit experiment, which underlies and upholds the most basic assumptions of quantum physics has banished any doubt about the relationship of consciousness to matter. The act of observation changes the state of matter at the most fundamental level of aggregation, the quantum field. Mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.
Or, if you don’t think it, it’s not real. We create reality in each moment, then. We co-create this reality by agreement. We are trained from childhood in the conditions of this agreement and by the time we are adults, it is mostly an unconscious process. If you have children, or remember your own childhood, you can recall the process by which it occurred: the constant bombardment of questions leading to answers that reflect very subjective viewpoints held in common. As we age, we find confirmation of these early lessons in our friends and society in general, which further solidifies our perceptions and views of the world that can harden with age unless we consciously cultivate a mindstate of questioning, seeking and an openness to new ideas and experiences. The natural creativity of children becomes stultified, their opinions and viewpoints grow more rigid as the world loses its magic.
In fact, that selfsame creativity that we often associate with artists and the insane is the common birthright of all children. We think of artists as strange, eclectic and wierd because they don’t think like most people, because, generally speaking, they remain open to ideas and experiences. We don’t think of children as strange, eclectic and wierd because we associate their curiosity about the world and everything in it as a function of their youth and inexperience. Once children gain more experience, we expect them to settle down, to conform and to take on a more conventional and acceptable attitude that plants them firmly in the cultural ground tilled by their ancestors and elders, to themselves then become to propagators and protectors of our collective experience of reality.
As painters, as writers, as musicians, we play around with this experience of reality and find meaning in highlighting specific aspects of of our common heritage. We draw upon relationships, religion and social mores in our search for deeper meaning, using symbols and archetypes to awaken our deeper instincts and understandings of reality. And these, in turn, open the door into that deeper, underlying Reality, if only for the duration of that shared experience of art, music and writing. Being multi-dimensional in nature, we find comfort in the realization than we are more than the sum of our individuated experiences, in the knowledge that we share more in common with each other than that which binds us to our own lives and situations.
Life would be lonely without this ability, without this connection, the confirmation of which also substantiates our sense of belonging within the human community, the human family. We find comfort, then, in co-creating the illusion. In the telling and sharing of our stories, in whatever form, as our distant ancestors did as they huddled around the tenuous fires of primeval humanity, set against the encroaching darkness of an unknown and dangerous creation that threatened our very survival as a species.
The illusion is the necessary condition of incarnation. Art reminds us that we are in it together. Artists are the spiritual warriors of the Material World, pointing us back to that which is true beyond our own experiences. Confirmation that there is more, and that, whatever that “more” really is, we are an integral part of its expression.