The Creative Act
While sitting under a tree in the woods up the hill from Lake Tahoe one late afternoon last fall, I stumbled across this quote while reading Bernard Moitessier’s final book and autobiography “Tamata and the Alliance” and immediately scribbled it in my journal. Moitessier similarly copied this passage into his log while reading Roger Garaudy’s “L’Appel aux Vivants” on a passage from Moorea to San Francisco some years ago. He wanted to share it with his son when he was old enough to appreciate it.
It is no surprise that being a sailor, artist, and educator this passage moved me significantly. In essence it embodies the work of art I would like this blog, my photography, and writings to evolve into.
Odds are you’re old enough. I’d like to share it with you. Read it, then read it again. I hope it may strike a chord within yourself as well.
“The creative act is the fundamental experience and the revelation of the divine within us.
Opening that crack of transcendence in us requires that we occupy that unique place of epiphany where faith, poetic creation, and revolutionary action become one and the same.
Great art offers the most obvious model of that transcendence. What I call great art (by which I mean mainly non-western art, or Western art before the renaissance) is the opposite of individualistic art, which seeks singularity at all cost, because it is aimed at the marketplace and competition, and because it merely reflects a fragmented, hopeless world.
Great art is not a reflection, but a projection, an exploration and experience of possible worlds. Beyond its creators, the work engenders not passive spectators or consumers, but people who celebrate this life as it is being born, joint creators in its creation. And not only artistic creation, but creation itself.
That imagination has prophetic and subversive value because it hints at possibilities whose conditions are not contained in what already exists. It suggests that the world is not a ready-made reality, but a work to be created.
From that perspective, education consists not in preparing children to adapt to the existing order or to its technical or political demands, stuffing them with knowledge or respect, but in showing them that path to transcendence, that is, the invention of the future. To make transcendence emerge despite all that conditioning.
True education isn’t dogmatic, but prophetic. It is subversive because it teaches us to live creatively, even in the midst of chaos, to not put our hopes in the shifting sands of nature or history, but to become aware that it is possible to live in other ways.
To concrete, practical consequences of this unshakable affirmation of transcendence are essentially revolutionary.
The only possible revolutions are those which don’t exclude mankind’s transcendent dimension; which don’t exclude the divine; which are founded on this article of faith; that the basic foundation of reality is an act of the creative freedom which is called God.
To be a revolutionary is to be a creator of that reality, to participate in divine life.”