Where does our hope lie? Where shall we ground ourselves for continuing on and changing our ways radically? Can we be confident that creativity is the key to our survival and sustainability as a species?
Creativity is who we are, creativity can redeem and save our species. I agree with Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés that "all women and men are born gifted." All we need to do is release this creativity, get out of its way, as M. C. Richards used to say. Estés also believes that "a woman's creative ability is her most valuable asset." I believe that is true of men as well -- it is the most valuable asset of our species.
What Are We Waiting For?
What are we waiting for? Let us remove the obstacles, let go of the guilt, and get moving. We have nothing to lose but our pessimism and cynicism, for, as Otto Rank warned us, "pessimism comes with the repression of creativity." Creativity is not in short supply. There is an abundance of it, plenty to go around.
It has always been this way. From the original fireball to the birth of the atoms, galaxies, supernovas, stars, sun, planets, earth and her marvelous creatures. We humans are latecomers to the creative universe, but we are powerfully endowed with creativity.
Our Despair Is a Cause of Hope
Some of my hope comes from the realization, growing daily, of how perilous our situation is on this planet. As more and more people get out of denial and the addictions denial puts us in and come to realize the danger that our unsustainable species is in, there will be action and there will be grounds for hope. This sounds paradoxical, and it is: Our very despair is a cause of hope, for despair often results in breakdown, and breakdown results in breakthrough.
Our systems are breaking down today -- all of them. And we feel it. All our professions, all our religions, all our politics and economic and educational establishments need reinventing. They all lack feminine energy, wisdom energy. They lack cosmology and creativity.
This gives hope -- that the Divine can and will return in a more balanced form to our species. It will return through a coming alive of our love of life and a response to the pain so omnipresent on our planet. This response will precipitate an outbreak of creativity. If we can use justice and compassion as contours to contain and to critique the use of creativity, then what we give birth to will serve other generations and other species instead of destroy them. Then the Spirit will be at work once again, creating and re-creating, co-working with humankind.
Creativity is a Choice: Yours & Mine
Let us not deceive ourselves or live in a silly illusion about our creativity. Creativity is a choice. (In theological terms, it is grace and works operating together. It is an option to live a life with grace.) Creativity is not a particular gift given to certain people only. It is a personal choice and a cultural choice. An individual choice and a family, professional, and societal choice, and at this time in our history it is a species choice. We choose whether to let creativity flow or not -- in our educational systems, our media, our politics, our economics, our religions, our very psyches. In theological terms, it is a matter of letting the Spirit in, the Christ in, the Buddha nature in.
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I believe Sri Aurobindo had this in mind when he predicted a "coming dawn" for the resurrection of poetry itself -- provided we tap into a "larger cosmic vision" that would and could release the "Divine possibilities" of our species. Perhaps Hildegard of Bingen, the twelfth-century abbess, mystic, scientist, and artist, put it best when she said:
God has gifted creation with everything that is necessary. . . .
Humankind, full of all creative possibilities, is God's work.
Humankind is called to co-create. . . .
God gave to humankind the talent to create with all the world.
Just as the person shall never end, until into dust
they are transformed and resurrected,
just so, their works are always visible.
The good deeds shall glorify, the bad deeds shall shame.
Choosing "Good Deeds That Glorify"
It is true that we are a species that can say "NO" to our potential. We can choose not to develop our creativity and that of our children; we can choose to turn our creativity over to others and to institutions that appear more imposing than ourselves. Yes, we can use our creativity for demonic purposes -- even to deny our powers of creation is to serve demonic powers that will willingly fill the gap. Yes, we can resist evolution -- even our own. And our bad deeds will shame. And our species will end, bringing down much beauty with it.
But I do believe, and I am sure the reader believes, that humankind can opt instead for the "good deeds that glorify". We must. The Spirit of Creativity is expecting us to do so. Creation is waiting for our response.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, member of Penguin Putnam Inc.
Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet
by Matthew Fox.
Creativity is Fox at his most dynamic: It is immensely practical and leaves the reader with a message to put into action in life. Fox tantalizingly suggests that the most prayerful, most spiritually powerful act a person can undertake is to create, at his or her own level, with a consciousness of the place from which that gift arises.
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About the Author
Matthew Fox has devoted his career to unleashing the suppressed mystical and life-affirming traditions within Christianity and other faiths. His theology of Creation Spirituality the belief that we are born in "original blessing"-earned him the headline making censure of the Vatican, who officially "silenced" Fox in 1989 and precipitated his dismissal by the Dominican Order in 1995. Now an Episcopal priest, Fox is the author of more than twenty books.