Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Destructive Spirit of the Creative Process

"A whole person is one who has both walked with God and wrestled with the devil."
- C. G. Jung

A student of mine in my Creativity class told me he was reading Da Vinci Decoded by Michael Gelb. Which was synchronistic, since I was reading the same book as well (although I haven't gone back to it just yet.) We had a very enlightening conversation on a particular chapter, "Sfumato".

Sfumato basically means "going up in smoke". And it was developed to perfection by the artists of the Italian Renaissance. In the book, however, author Gelb talks about a different idea of sfumato - the Shadow.

In Jungian psychology, one's shadow or shadow aspect is that part of the personality that is repressed or denied. And since every person develops a particular self, it is basically everything that we are not.

(recent thoughts, will develop later...)

April 28
2:21 pm


It's a tuesday afternoon and I'm here at Netopia in Greenhills... Just came from a weekend at Liliw, Laguna, sponsored by Tina (my boss at Art Informal.)

So, going back to the shadow...

One can't have a shadow without a light. Jung says that our shadows are those parts of us that ache to be recognized, that ache to be acknowledged. So if a person has been afraid all his life, inside him is a golden shadow full of courage. Or if a person has been good all his life, has followed all the rules, and lived according to the standards set by society, inside him may be a jester/trickster just aching to break them.

So where am I going with all of this? Hahaha I honestly don't know. I do know that it's better to be a person of depth, rather than a "flat" person. It's better to go through the fire than not having gone at all. In the same vein, it's also better to know what the destructive parts of ourselves are, so that we don't end up sabotaging our opportunities. As writers and artists, it is so easy and tempting to do this - "I'm busy", "I don't have the time," etc.

Creative people like us go through chaotic periods all of the time. At one moment, it's the hurricane, at others, it's the hurricane's eye. I think it's probably a yin and yang process. There's just no getting around it. For example, there are times when we're so open about ourselves, and we basically just give and give and give until we can't give anymore. Then the yang (masculine) aspect kicks in, and we just close, not giving anymore, or at least unable to.


I used to dread uncertainty, unpredictability and chaos. But now, I crave them. How else would we be able to create order, or manifest our visions? How else would we be able to evolve?

Sure, sometimes it sucks. Hell, I still don't know if this is what I want to do with my life (although it can be quite fun and unpredictable and nerve-wracking at the same time.) Hehe, and I think I've made a thousand mistakes already. But then, life's about learning right?

Hmmm... I think I'll listen to "Hand in my Pocket" to end this blog... :D


May 3
5:30 pm
Netopia, Greenhills