by Thurman E. Scott
In our present time, from all around the globe, there is a cry, a demand, an intensity, searching for creative spiritual growth. People from all walks of life are sounding a clarion call to discover and build new pathways leading to the development of all the tools our Creator gave us. The opposing energy to this searching cry appears to be a nihilist violence, a conscienceless, destructive force that has embedded itself within the fabric of our society. Our inclusive, democratic society and culture challenge each and every one of us to arm ourselves with creative, new ideas so that our technological capacity will never be more powerful than one single individual voice. We face a future in which our humanity, compassion, spiritual and creative courage will be challenged to rise up in new ways, for we are being tested now as never before. In the days to come and beyond, how will creativity and technology work together for the good of all people? How can the artist of today inform the creative processes that will lift us into tomorrow?
The worldwide consumer market demands that American businesses challenge their people to seek the power of creativity to generate new ideas, promote efficiency and productivity, and create better, more competitive products. As cultures converge within the world’s interconnectedness, our nation is working overtime to serve the multiplicity of needs of our new, emerging society. Patients challenge the medical profession to study unorthodox ideas and combine new insights with traditional, accepted approaches, hoping medical practitioners will discover new ways to help those suffering with presently incurable diseases. The cry for a more compassionate judiciary is gaining the attention of our highest courts, challenging them to interpret the law in ways to best align it with the peoples’ needs. With more knowledge of the human brain’s capacity and the complex ways we learn and dissect information, the educational system is challenged daily to experiment with new ways of teaching that will enhance intuitiveness and find the keys to open up the wellspring of creative intellect that is born in every human being.
In the process of this innovation, celebration and acceptance of new directions, we are making great discoveries about ourselves. Technology is a wonderful expression of the power of human ingenuity. All ideas exist in the universal atmosphere in which we are now living. The creative, intuitive pioneers who bring forth new technology are able to feel the essence and vibration of these ideas and calibrate them into a formalized expression and physical manifestation. Each new innovation reflects the hereditary, eternal, fundamental nature of human existence which is to create. This is wonderful.
Our natural response to progress is to feel happiness and a sense of achievement, but we can also respond with complexity. Technological advancements have also triggered in humans a deep insidious fear that technology far exceeds their own individual capacity to think, analyze or create. Increasingly we are a nation of people who are driven and fragmented, suffering from depression and clamoring for self-examination, spiritual renewal and creative expression. The initial promise of technology was to provide seemingly limitless options, choices and constant possibilities for change. This was the ideal. The reality is very different.
The technological systems we employ in specific environments are based on the analysis of what will best serve our needs. Once a new technological advancement has been put in place, its function remains static. Computers do not change after they are designed and assembled; they only repeat the same movements over and over and over again. There is an element of danger when we work within a given system, regardless of the degree to which it serves us.
Technological systems are finite sets of options contained by formulas. In order to learn and apply a system, one must follow a formula. It may be a highly sophisticated, complex formula, but when all is said and done our primary responsibility is to follow the rules. Our increasing dependence on these systems reinforces behaviors that operate most efficiently within specific, defined limitations. Our acceptance and relaxation with technological systems blunt our curiosity and the “muscles” that are exercised during creative processes do not develop. In this process our creative, intuitive self is weakened and patterns of submissive, rote behavior are strengthened.
No one has been truly liberated by technology to further experience and develop their intuitive selves. If anything, today people are racing against time harder and faster than ever. Stress induced disorders and illnesses are at an all-time high. The power of technology continues to grow, but at the same time we are not taking effective, tangible steps to enhance individual growth. Instead, technological advancement and individual growth are moving in opposite directions. Technology now breeds apathy and cynicism in our young, at a time in their life when they need inspiration and vision. Pornographic violence fills the airwaves and art lacks beauty. At times, it feels as if the human spirit is under siege.
History teaches us that non-participation creates stagnation. Recent history poignantly reveals to us the problems that arise when individuals passively abdicate to others their ability to reason, to be curious and to question. When we conform and practice patterns of submissive, rote behavior, whether by refusing to question a political system’s brutality, by remaining silent as atrocities are visited upon the populace, or by negating individual expression, conforming and giving over our power to a machine, we are in danger as a society of civilized people.
Human beings cannot have unique expression if we rely solely upon structures and processes allowed us by our mechanical, technological systems to complete our actions. The advancement of technology and the devaluation of process are directly related. America is a consumer nation and, increasingly, the products we use come from other countries. The skills that were formulated and honed here in the United States to produce great products no longer have a place to be exercised. The way we use technology has undermined the creative development process of individuals.
Great power for good will be released in the world when technology and individuals grow in unison. This will happen when technology operates as an extension of individuals’ creative impulses. We will recognize that the computer is there to interpret the individual genius that lies untapped in every human being. Individual creative development will be a top priority and technology will provide the tools to interpret and calibrate the complex, unique, creative ideas that exist in human potential. A national consciousness will quickly develop that will demand that an effort be made for our citizens to have access to the creative development processes that can evolve into the world-wide expansion of global fulfillment.
Creatively developed human beings will provide leadership in concert with technology, as they do now. The degree of our collective creative development will determine our successes, as technology enables more and more collaboration through impulses, intuition, and intellectual creative expressions. Machines that are able to pick up the impulses, vibrations and wavelengths of an individual’s intuitive, developed mind can then calibrate human intention into tangible manifestations of ideas, objects, products and situations. In this process individuals will not relinquish the originality of their thinking to technology; instead, technology will enable from individuals’ creative impulses and intuitive expressions.
Our growth and expansion, supply and demand will reveal the degree to which we have invested in individuals’ creative development. All humans have the potential to create. Our schools and academies now place a powerful emphasis on finding methods, techniques and processes to enhance individual thoughts, ideas and concepts because they recognize that the success of our technological expansion is directly related to institutional investment in the support and development of human beings. There is a powerful incentive for individuals to grow, and a national consensus for individual, creative spiritual growth will put the essence of individual growth at the core of educational and economic structures and processes.
A creative process is a path and series of the steps of discovery: investigative expressions, realizations and acceptances that lead to the implementation of these discoveries into tangibility. Our need for instant gratification makes us want to jump to the end of the process and experience the discovery without taking any of the steps along the path. But the process of taking steps is what gives us the confidence and creative courage to value our unique accomplishments. The steps of a process enable a physicalized expression of our efforts. Individuals can stand back and look at their creations and say, “I did that.” Existentially we feel supported because the thing we created exists apart from us. It validates us and we validate it. Creating fulfills one of our most profound human needs, which is to make a contribution. When we build something with our hands, our creative intellect, spirit and soul, we admire it and others join in and proclaim it’s a job well done because something came out of us that has the potential to foster the well-being of our ongoing civilization. This connects us creatively and spiritually to the original Creator of us all.
When we don’t go through the steps of the creative process, we don’t experience discovery. If we are looking for instantaneous achievement and we do not want to suffer the rigors of investigation, if we don’t study ideas and concepts or involve ourselves in the ongoing growth of our own communities, if we are so turned off, bored and uninterested in everything we encounter that we are left in a state of apathy, it’s no surprise that we would be willing to push a button and not be curious about what takes place when we push that button.
We know that we must exercise in order to strengthen and tone the body. Why don’t we feel there is equal necessity to exercise the muscle of the imagination? Is it possible that the lack of emphasis on individual, unique expression has made people feel that imagination is not a natural part of every day human expression? Or is it that only the so-called special and elite artists have the luxury of using their imaginations? No. We all have imaginations. We are all influenced by the many dimensions of our experiences and these experiences play upon our consciousness. Whether or not we acknowledge it, we all share a part of the vast, timeless collective consciousness of the human race that lives within our subconscious mind. That is why it is so important for us to make intellectual, conscious choices based upon clarity, responsibility, examination and selection of the best of the limitless possibilities of choices available to us in each and every moment.
Originality must be “coaxed” out of the human imagination. It is delicate, shy, vulnerable and fears humiliation. Originality can embarrass those around itself when it first appears, for it stumbles and blunders and fumbles before it gains its stride. Like a wet little chick hatched from its shell, a long-legged colt wobbly standing up, or the toddler we all were once, the new comes into the world with fragility. New ideas and expressions need to be received with gentle, measured receptivity and encouragement.
Originality needs the freedom and safety to falter. With these simple elements of nurture, unique originality will unfold itself, glistening and glimmering in the air, as a brilliant thought, poetic expression or breathtaking image. Once given voice in a disciplined creative process that challenges, liberates, formulates and refines, the uniquely original expression quickly draws great power to itself. Originality then gains force and moves forward with apparent effortlessness, making moments flow and pieces fit together as if by magic. As it emerges into the world, originality has the power to realign old ideas, concepts, structures and habits into rejuvenated energies and vibrant, revitalized inspiration and movement. This is the extraordinary power of creative process in action.
Eternal, creative, spiritual imagination exists in every human being. The uniqueness of each person’s DNA bears witness to the potential originality lying dormant in each of us. Each individual has both creative and destructive powers that far exceed all of global technology in the capacity to enhance or limit the human experience and exercise of the life force upon this earth. Creativity, like nature, constructs or destructs. Technology, like all structures of order and repetition produces results that can free us or oppress us. Within the realms of the creative and the technological, each process of art and science must be greatly strengthened and refined in its multitude of applications.
This is the true challenge of the future. There is a deep, insidious fear that human creativity leads recklessly toward chaos and a growing fear that technology will ultimately control human life. Technology must serve human creation and not human’s hunger to control one another. Creativity and technology must become integrated processes. We have been enticed and seduced by the notion that technology would somehow liberate our creativity, that would somehow makes us more creative. No. Our Creator endowed us with creativity. Our true power does not lie behind the screen or a computer monitor of with the infrared rays of micro systems. Our greatest power is already inside us when we come to this earth.
We start out as a single cell and we develop into a multiplicity of cells that make up a whole human being. The actual process of creation itself endows us with imagination. This is because the eternal memory of the process of creation is locked in our cells. We don’t see it. If we experience our eternal memory, it is unintentional and we don’t know how to interpret it. But the unintentional and profound nature of the thoughts, images and feelings it evokes make a deep impression upon us. We can appreciate the essence. Because there is something about it, we don’t quite know what, that we feel some kind of connection to. And the connection we feel comes from what we call our creative, intuitive, spiritual self.
At birth we are awakened by a complex consciousness that plays upon every dimension of our being. The individuals around us support us; this helps to galvanize the potential that already exists within our life form to develop into a cohesive presence. The journey we experience deepens our profound creative, intuitive essence that is lying in wait and hoping to be touched upon so it can reveal itself in physical action and unique expression. During the process of a child’s journey from birth to the age at which it starts to feel validated by its own person, millions of impressions play upon the human consciousness, enriching us with profound, intuitive, creative essence. Not to develop, investigate and affirm this magnificent, dormant essence may truly be the greatest sin we could ever commit.
Young people in our new world of global technology often feel driven, desperate and at the breaking point. The trappings of privilege have become jails of isolation for our young while the underprivileged have been swept aside by technology’s advancement. The disenfranchised are regularly incarcerated and we designated whole communities of our children as “throw-aways”. What must our Creator think of us as more and more people in the world’s most powerful and wealthiest nation appear to be seeking simultaneous secular and religious supremacy as childhood poverty rises and school shootings explode with alarming regularity?
If we do not teach our children that their creative, spiritual power is greater than technology, they grow up deformed and violent in their response to their own hopelessness and seeming powerlessness. Adolescent nihilism is now a true internal threat to national security. Children kill other children and themselves as a desperate response to the inhumanity of our culture of neglect, overwork, divorce, and obsessive competition and consumption. Technology inserted into the natural human encounter with life can never be a replacement for the patient nurturing of the human spirit.
Human evolution, both individual and societal takes place on God’s time. Technology executes on man’s time. Our children are hung between the will that drives our present culture and the purpose that pulls at their souls. They feel the painful split of the post-modern world in their deepest intimacies of mind, body and spirit. They are frequently fear-filled, festering, fragmented and enraged. The further they are driven for their true nature, the more they will lash out. Will we become a society that incarcerates or liberates our hope for the future?
History teaches us the consequences of our actions. Technology provides us with vast and extensive data and information and increasingly wide-ranging communication systems. Art illuminates and informs our choices for the future. The artist is like a phantom. He moves in and out of different circles and ideologies. The artist’s mission is to articulate and bring forth the core truth and essence of any given situation, to express ideas that are acceptable, and most importantly to express ideas that are not acceptable. The artist’s non-alignment with any particular ideology or political philosophy allows him to have the eyes, ears, consciousness, commitment and courage to commit himself to ideas and concepts that are not necessarily acceptable. His allegiance is to bring ideas and concepts into the society that can serve as a foundation for a path toward a better and more profound understanding of his or her society as it was, is now and will be for generations to come. The artist is a leader.
The artist’s allegiance is to himself and the God he worships. He has developed his God-given essence and his efforts give him the supreme right and commitment to be an illuminator of all things without necessarily being identifiable with any given thing. We must not be fooled into thinking that the artist capitulates; he simply lives through moments in order to understand and interpret them. The artist’s tradition is that he survives the revolution and then perhaps joins the counter-revolution, for he is not aligned with the individuals who head the movements or their philosophies. He is simply there as a chronicler, a chorus, a bystander, a reporter, a voice with consciousness to awaken the dormant, unrealized ideas that live deep in the primal essence of human kind. He has some expertise in all things because all things are part of the make-up of his creative ensemble.
Today there is a mistaken belief that technology unleashes originality. This is not true. It is the artist who creates a path and a way to see and experience new beginnings. This is the historical legacy that has been passed down from Biblical times, through the classical period, to modern times. Although the artist may attain a level of comfortableness and acceptance by others, in reality his soul is always enflamed by his voracious and potentially rageful, uncompromising pursuit of being a trailblazer in his own time, in thought, word or action. The artist is not necessarily seeking to build or to destroy, but he uses the actions of creation or destruction to accomplish his desired end: to cut through society’s facade to find a deeper truth that will hopefully serve human existence.
At the height of his investigations and research, Sigmund Freud conducted a renowned study into the behavior and essence of society’s archetypes. He came to great and far reaching conclusions which were further advanced by other great thinkers who followed Freud, including Karl Jung who developed theories about archetypes as reflected in dreams and symbols. When Freud was asked to analyze the archetype of the artist he said, “Take him away. I have no need to involve myself with the artist. It is a waste of our time to try to study him or predict his behavior with any certainty. Because the artist can live without anything. He does not need society’s ethical, political, social or religious institutions to define his existence. He is able to create in the moment. The great Picasso, for example, created something in every moment. The artist in his true essence is not determined by the primal essence of any particular society. The artist’s primal essence is universal.”
We’ve all been confronted with the pressure of being asked, directly or indirectly, “Who do you think you are? You have these highfalutin’ ideas that have never been tried or proven and have no basis in reality. Don’t bring those risky questions into this conversation! It’s dangerous to go down that path. Those ideas are potentially detrimental to us all and I’m going to remember that you brought them into this discussion. So please, just don’t say anything more.” When we dare to dream, we inspire opposition as well as commitment in others, and moments of contempt may await us on our path and mission.
In these moments, when people are critical of your daring to speak with a new voice, have compassion for yourself and know that you are not wrong for speaking. Because if you do not speak up when you hear worn out ideas being spoken and old patterns expressed over and over and over again, you experience deep and profound creative implosion that will make you feel stifled, tired, dull, uninspired, and eventually you can even become ill or diseased in body, mind or spirit. You must say to yourself, “not only is this boring and unintelligent but we are not using the vast power of our mind, our most powerful gift, to summon a new direction.” Over time, your pent-up unexpressed creative energy and your longing and need for a new voice can vibrate powerfully in you. An encounter with the new can trigger an explosion, like a rocket engine that lifts the payload up and up, moving out of the gravitational pull of the old, the so-called safe land of has-been and yesteryear. As you leave the past behind, and with it this old thing, this carcass, this tightly-fitted imprint on your being, you are propelled forward. Without reservation or hesitation, the inspiration and intuitiveness that you start to feel as you approach the power and awareness of your new beginning touches upon your excitement and gives you the permission, courage and power to have a new voice.
In this process, as you begin to express your original thoughts, you will experience the fear of the unknown. Sometimes undiscovered ideas, images and expressions create deep and profound feelings of terror in us. This terror stops us from investigating undiscovered lands of opportunity. But if you have trust, faith and a commitment to your voice, it is as if you’re riding a rocket. As it boosts you high up in the sky, what was so reassuring, familiar and safe becomes a dim, tiny image that you are almost unable to see in the face of this matchless frontier of beauty and power. Your longing to embrace the unknown and eternal is a natural dimension of human destiny. At the same time, we fight to hold onto the past and fear embracing new thoughts and expressions. This struggle between the future and the past is a natural part of the process of development. Perhaps understanding the essence of this struggle is the path to enlightenment. The glaring, vibrant vastness of the universe’s inviting, open frontier makes that comfortable place you’ve been locked into for so long seem like a distant, unimportant memory as you embrace the power, insight and illumination of new possibilities. We stand within the possibility of global harmony and world-wide peace, informed and humbled by our past transgressions, inspired by a multitude of new opportunities and able at last to reach out to one another as never before, wherever one of us may be, at any time, anywhere on this earth. What glories await us all.