by Thurman E. Scott
I have always had to find a very creative way to run our business. For nearly twenty years, before we were located at 145 West 28th Street in New York City, we were creating new material and searching for new, alternative, original techniques with which to develop our expressions in the written word and in creative action. Our collective struggle kept us in an on-going creative process.
In order to create new techniques and new writing forms, we had to gain an in-depth understanding of the primal foundation of our society and of the many different elements that make up our society. We used those same insights to build our theatre complex, our organization and our programs. Because we had limited financial resources, we went back to our foundation which is our creative process to gather together the right insights, the right individuals, the right commitment, the right long term goals to sustain us in our work. Without our creative process, none of this would have been fulfilled.
With our experience, insights and findings, we look across the landscape of America and the world and we see that the larger society is in search of the best ways to maintain its organizations with integrity and deliver a product that is produced with quality and commitment. When we look within our own internal surroundings, we see that we have much to offer that is necessary to the larger community. We have spent years on the front lines of creative discoveries, working deep into the night in our creative laboratories. It is the nature of our job to test, to probe, and to struggle for new expressions, new forms and new ideas that hopefully will inspire and uplift the consciousness of our society. That is our charge; our actual charge and our philosophic, visionary charge. Because this is the nature of our job, we feel we must pass on these insights and information to the larger society, the society that is the backbone of America.
In reality, there is only process. Process is the ever-unfolding of the struggle of consciousness from one decade to another. The question we need to ask is: Is process being articulated in given situations and what is this process directed toward? Form and process support what already exists. Wisdom, vision and great complex ideas already exist in human beings.
The first steps to do anything in life are to liberate the limitless possibilities that exist in every human being. When you liberate a person’s potential you open up great possibility. When a person’s intuition, mind and imagination start to function together, which moves the mechanism of the mind and imagination into a process of intuitive probability, a person can respond imaginatively, emotionally and inspirationally. The person is no longer locked in the confines of the factual intellect, but instead has the full range of his or her creative intellect. This creates in the person, at a moment’s notice, new insights, new possibilities to analyze a given situation and new world opportunities.
The creative process of liberation of the imagination, feelings, insights and intuition will always be the same regardless of who is going through the process. It will be the same for the young idyllic student with his heart and mind meeting drama for the first time in a conservatory, struggling and longing and voraciously working, being pulled by dreams of the past and day to day new awakenings toward his vision. This journey is the same process that every chairman, CEO, division head, business man or woman wishes to have, struggles to find and fights to implement with grace. This process is the dynamic that serves every person who ever starts out to do anything in life: to understand the steps, to understand how to apply the steps, to determine what is the most expedient and creative way to do any given thing, to always have a general understanding of every complex situation and to understand the complexity of specific situations.
Any technique, be it a technique to operate a computer, make a shoe, create an actor, or help a person learn to write, any technique is a house built around talent and expression. Talent and expression are illusionary. Talent and expression are like bashful children. All humans have talent. All humans have something to say. All humans have wisdom. All humans have great, complex possibility. What is needed is for humans to be shrouded in security so that they may have their natural expressions. Technique is a housing around talent which gives security. Where there is security, possibility and naturalness flow forth. Where there is not security, there is not an environment which allows belief to grow.
The way to build an actor is to give him the tools of technique. First, he must be made available to his creative, emotional, intuitive powers. After this person can feel a real feeling, have real imagination, speak with a connected voice, move with a flow in the body, have a creative understanding and knowledge of dramatic literature, then this person possesses a creative instrument which is ready to be taught very specific techniques that will enable the instrument to respond creatively in an imaginary situation. After the actor has many years of study and practice, and the inner form and outer form have been molded together, we see a person who has the possibility of creating and bringing to life the written word, creative insights, and intuitive understandings of given situations. He is ready to practice his craft in the job market which, in this case, is the theatre of the world.
Similarly, the way to create a banker is to send him to school to learn the techniques of banking. These techniques teach the person how to analyze trends in the economy and specific industries, and then to apply this knowledge to specific situations. The techniques build a shroud of security which liberates and starts to unravel the person’s natural and unique talent. Creative expression of unique talent strengthens belief and facilitates whatever is needed in specific situations.
There is something within an individual that eventually moves beyond the conscious practice of a technique and allows naturalness to take over completely. At this point we see only their individuality in their expression. But at one point this expression was a factual, mechanical practice of technique. Information that is not transferred into creative, intuitive, metaphysical, and psychological possibility remains cold, technological fact. But when this information is dissected and assimilated by a person, that person then moves into the creative, spiritual flow, and you no longer see technique at work. When a great violinist plays you do not see technique. You see intuition, you see spirit, you see inspiration. The violinist could not play without a technique housing his or her talent. Once they have that housing, then the mystery that only God knows unravels in the moment. That is the process with everything a human being does.
This individual will bring force to every situation he or she encounters whether it’s sitting down with pen and paper to start the process of writing a new play, book or essay, writing a piece of music, scoring a song or creating an expression of poetry, or whether its going into a business enterprise to analyze the complex structures a business has set up to maintain its security, or sitting down in a board room meeting with your CEO and other executives to find out how best to approach the direction of the company or the direction of the day to day operations of any given thing or situation. This process allows the artist and the business person to come together as two powerful, fully armed creative beings in a relationship of enthusiasm, and expectancy of success with a common goal: to overcome whatever is asked of them and with a shared respect of one another’s contribution to the uplifting and ongoing process of serving our institutions, our country, our world and our universe.
The process of creative exploration has been confined to the world of the artist. The artist has seen himself as an elitist because he is the sole member of society who is allowed his creative struggle. The artist is judged as irresponsible because his process of creative discovery cannot be socially quantified. Members of the business community see themselves as the responsible members of society. This has resulted in the isolation of the world of the artist from the world of business.
We recognize that due to the nature of our work we are more apt to find new expressions than those who work in the business community because many times members of the business community are locked into a situation where they have to maintain the structure they have always had, a structure that upholds our collective status quo. This is because they have not been given opportunities to look for, probe and try new expressions. Nor have they had the opportunity to be the beneficiaries of new ideas.
The artist must be willing to reach out to find a larger world of expression. Traditionally, in his isolation, the artist produces a piece of work, be it articulated as a word, dance, painting or score. He then presents his work to the world for the world to see or hear. The world at large goes out for an evening to see a piece of work; and the experience of that work is confined within the space and time of a single event.
The artist has a greater responsibility to the society than this. The artist is charged with supporting the larger cause of existence which is to exist in a manner which reflects the spiritual and creative essence of all humans. The artist’s struggle allows him to discover new insights and he must share this process with others to help them to find new ways to think, new ways to make choices and new ways to preserve the integrity of a product or idea. The artist cannot perpetuate isolation or elitism because all humans are part of creation. All humans are creative beings.
One of the problems humanity and the world suffer from today is that we do not accept that humans are natural, whole and deserving of forgiveness and redemption. For many centuries the collective and individual consciousness has been a belief in the inferiority or superiority of individuals or groups of individuals. The belief has long existed that there are those that are superior and those who are inferior morally, socially, ethically, creatively or spiritually. The result of this belief is that in everyday life we cannot look out across the landscape of humanity and see humans. We look across the landscape of life and see certain humans and certain other people we do not endow with inalienable humanity. This moment has created a belief in the collective consciousness that it is not our charge to support human potential. We have instead supported a few individuals’ potentials. The overall result of this policy of support is the belief that only some individuals have power. Whereas the larger universal message is that all humans have power, as a collective consciousness we have power and each of us individually can make a contribution to our society.
We have not put out the larger universal message. One of the reasons we have not put out this message is that we do not believe we can be forgiven. If we do not believe we can be forgiven, then we cannot accept the fact that somewhere along the line we may have committed a crime. One of my earliest understandings was that life is not a process of moments to be judged as good or bad. Life is a process of moments that humans live through and ultimately we will all walk down the road to a higher consciousness. We will all do many things in our lives but we will eventually reach a level where we feel the inhumanities we have practiced toward another human being are wrong. Then we will find it within ourselves to say that that act was committed in my low consciousness and maybe that act was wrong, but I can see that I gained something from it. I gained insights into my ability to stoop that low. I have learned, I can forgive myself and I can go on. Now I can contribute. Through my struggle I have had insights into myself and the world.
If I do not accept that I can be forgiven, if I do not accept the possibility of redemption, I cannot look at our history. If we look at our history we will see the inhumanity we have visited upon one another. If we do not, we will say, those people are just bad or those people have nothing to offer. No. All humans have something to offer. Were they given opportunity? Did they develop themselves? These are the questions to ask. All humans have something to offer. We can learn from all humans.
We are a society that has a need for humiliation and punishment. Because we humiliate and punish we cannot connect ourselves with individuals to see if there is something to be given or to be gained. If we were to connect ourselves to a human being, about whom we maintained a belief that that human should be humiliated or punished, and through that connection we were to discover this is a human being with something to offer, then we would feel our guilt. And so by not accepting the possibility of forgiveness and redemption we cannot walk down the road of success and enlightenment. If we are willing to forgive ourselves for the past we will see all humans as those who have something to offer.
Will we do this? Or will we stay in our isolation with our elitism and our pre-conceived distortions of other individuals? If we drop our elitism, our isolation, and our distortion, we are afraid. We will say, oh my god, we have been controlling those people and we have hurt those people, we have killed those people, we have enslaved those people, we have put those people in prison camps, we burned those people, we gassed them, we said they were inhuman, we said they were like monkeys, we said they were lesser, we said many things. Maybe we need to get rid of that consciousness of elitism, isolation, and distortion. Maybe we need to not say, oh my god, black and white cannot be together, Jew and gentile cannot be in commonality, man and woman are so different from one another.
If we drop the barriers of separation and see that we all have that great, powerful potential, enthusiasm, possibility, probability and it all exists in everyone, then we will say: there is no separation, there is no separation at all. All you need is to have a housing around you to let your individuality develop. Then I will lose my fear of you. I will lose my fear and I will lose my guilt. I will feel free when I see that my enslavement of you has not killed you. Then I will be willing to forgive myself. I will be able to look at my life and say, yes, I have been capable of committing dastardly acts. And the process of looking at the truth of my existence will make it possible for me to see the larger process of life. I will be able to understand and accept more of the complexity of me and therefore I will be able to accept more of the complexity of the ever-unfolding world around me.
If we accept the possibility of forgiveness, we will be able to say maybe I was wrong, maybe I did not see the whole picture here. And maybe there was no reason I should have seen the whole picture. Because human beings are fragile. We are part of God but we are not God. Yet we think we are God in our interpretations of the complexities of life. Consequently we are not willing to forgive ourselves. If we start to look at this, maybe we will be able to make the next step.
The next step is to use your experiences and the insights you have gained through your past mistakes, acts of ignorance and sometimes acts of inhumanity, and start to have new beginnings, acceptance of new awakenings, and acceptance of the inspiration that comes as you start to understand your struggle. Within your struggle, do not be put off by old accepted generalities. Go back to your basic American past, which is to get up, dust yourself off and try again. Only this time, with this acceptance of all your past experiences, you will feel the knowledge, the insights and the intuitive belief in yourself that will generate great spirit and wisdom in your life. You will no longer question your own intuitive instincts or movement ahead.
The foundation of the unraveling of our complexities allows us to make mistakes. We must learn from ourselves and others before us. We must be willing to share the knowledge and wisdom and insights that come from our ongoing struggles. We must share the power with our neighbors because we will discover that the person or persons that live in or outside of our midst are also struggling with what seems to them to be the accepted bounds of their limited possibility. Through their struggles, they now see the wisdom that they gained from the pain, the spirit, and the intuitive feelings of limitless possibility.
This path through process and form gives us a foundation of security. To travel on the path through creative process inspires belief and trust that there is a way to solve problems, to create new opportunities and to overcome the fears, burdens and compulsions as we march into the ever-unfolding new horizons of potential triumphs. We are all members of a unified collective consciousness. The artist and the businessman are autonomous and inter-related. We all share a collective responsibility to one another, the world, and the universal spirit in each of us.