Some Like To Think In Stepwise Refinement — Of Ideas, Or Knowledge, Or Creativity, But They Never Can Say What Goes On Between The Steps


Every artist knows the truth that they are only the conduit for the art they make.

Sometimes, they give credit to something concrete, like a sculptor who says the statue they created was already in the stone, but that’s just being poetic. I’ve talked with so many artists who are clear and emphatic that the work just arises from within them. Wallace Stevens, the great American poet, referred to that source as his “interior paramour.”

As a writer — a kind of artist — and a philosopher, I’ve noted the impossibility of having a thought before it arises. Have you ever wondered where the words come from? Even this now. (As I typed the question mark at the end of the prior sentence, the words “even this now” had already welled up from within me, without conscious intent).

If you are any kind of physical-materialist, you’re probably all ready to give definite answers, but stop for an instant: we think in words; if you hold to the idea that you think those thoughts by creating them in your head, how could that possibly happen? You would need to have the thought already before thinking it! That is not possible. Yes, you were already thinking about something that is holding your interest, and yes, you’re in this “process” of thinking about it, but unless you already know what your next thought will be, or line of text in your novel, poem, or conversation, how would you create it?

We can toss the problem off to unconscious processes, but that’s no answer — how would it’s impossibility be rectified by a process that can’t know what it’s doing?

And some like to think in stepwise refinement — of ideas, or knowledge, or creativity, but they never can say what goes on between the steps. This is why science relies on statistics, rather than hard math.

No, there is a primordial spontaneously creative responsiveness to reality that I would have no problem calling God. You can structure it as God working through you, or you could just recognize that you are a work of art… ☺️

ཨེ་མ་ཧོ། ཕན་ནོ་ཕན་ནོ་སྭཱཧཱ།
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