“The yearning to create is a universal impulse” was spoken by Carl Jung. I've always agreed with him. But, recently, I've begun to wonder if that impulse is currently in dormancy in mainstream culture. I'd call creativity, broadly, the ability to transcend traditional ways of thinking and/or acting, and to develop new and original ideas, methods or objects. In the Twilight of the Idols, Nietzsche criticized the German culture of his day as unsophisticated, decadent and nihilistic. In many ways, it seems like we are there again.
I live to create. I'm a Maker. So, when I don't see it happening all around me, I feel like a fish out of water. I have an idea, though, that, for many people, "making" has been eclipsed by "buying". The mental memes that people get caught up in claim that "making" takes too much time or that it isn't economically expedient. But, that's just it: creativity isn't about time or money. It's about satisfying a deep human impulse....a call to be intimately involved with one's own process. Creative activity drives consciousness inward as it searches for buried meanings that have been obscured by the distractions of hurried everyday life. As the "Maker" works, symbols arise, as do memories, aspirations, visions.....the leadings of The Muses! The Maker lets go of self-identification with ego and yields to the pull of the creative impulse. S/he can palpably feel the hand of the Muse guiding the process. Ideas rush in and are given credence. Everything seems possible. The proverbial Box is transcended as possibility abounds.
Mainstream culture, at present, is pretty in the Box. There is a lot of conformity, many unexamined "ideas", intensely scripted and self-censored behaviors. And, of course, there is the "convenience" of commercialism. If people want an item, they just go buy it.....even if that means incurring debt to do so. Where is the resilient---creative!!!---response of making it? I make, for example, a lot of my own clothing. I prefer not to use a machine and hand sew the garments. I recently finished a wool skirt in which every stitch was done by hand, including having made the buttonholes. The process was a Journey. As I sewed, I recalled my Aunt Helen, a seamstress, and her love of fabrics, colors, textures. And, from the scraps, her fashioning of fancy garments for our dolls!! I drew upon the Joy that she radiated as she sewed quietly in her home.
As Kealey watched me hand-sew the buttonholes, he asked me "how I knew how to do that". Well....that's just it: figuring out how to do things is the most exciting part of the creative process. It's in those moments of "figuring it out" that we discover our grit. We find out that we're not dependent upon an external economic system or mindset....that we have within us the tools for resilient, independent lifestyles. We cease to be a cog in the giant, ever-turning economic wheel. We're free. We are empowered. A sense of self begins to arise that is confident and poised.
I also enjoy making art-cards. Each one is a unique and original piece of artwork. And, they are made from 100% upcycled materials. Sometimes a card will take me four or five hours to paint. And, during that time, the intended recipient of the card is on my mind and in my heart. It's an opportunity for communion that is negated by running into a boutique and simply buying a card.
Jung understood that the unconscious mind is often working to solve problems outside our awareness, delivering its insights through the process of creating. In many cases, however, we fail to harness this inner creativity because we think that we are too busy or are too caught up in our conscious thoughts, fears, and worries. When this happens, we become a widget in the Matrix.