Creativity as the Moral of Life
Over the centuries, people have studied the various scriptures, seeking clues and programs for living a good life. Yet despite a complete immersion in sacred literature and moral philosophy, many seekers miss the point. What do we find here? What do we find in the Vedas, Psalms, Gospels, Upanishads, Koans, Talmuds? This flat fact, straight in the eye truth: each scripture was written. All wisdom had to be created. Every story and godsong, every moral philosophy, each present, indeed often despite themselves, the life-course of the writer: he wrote, he created, he invented. Creativity is the basic moral center of life. Creativity answers both the ontology of man--what he is as life-form, and the ethic of man--what he should do as life-form. A man ought to create. This supplements, supports, presupposes, and allows any other ethic of kindness, love, industry, humility, or even worship and self-abasement.
For all life forms create their body, create their behavior, create their offspring, create a niche for themselves. Men consciously create so much more: words, relationships, technology, art, personality, truth, beauty. All culture comes from the biological necessity of man: to create. No man can survive without it, and if he somehow could, he would not be happy.
For men are best smiled when they believe in themselves, which means believing in their significance doing something. We define ourselves by our jobs, and by working, we barter for what fulfills all our needs: money, food, love, thoughts. No idle gardening or television will fulfill. It is the deed and the grand deed that makes a man feel grand, that makes him feel happy to be alive. And if it is good to live, if good means good for life, then creativity, the only achiever of goods, must stand as the base of all virtue.
For what good can there be other then good for life? If it were good for something aside from life, what would that matter to the life? If my deed does not enrich my life, how is it ever good for me to do it? I can only be good for myself, otherwise I am a good of someone else. Good is an object or objective which fulfills life, value is the estimation of good, and virtue is the habit of fulfilling our life. Since all virtues are learned by practice, and so are created, creativity is the basis of all virtue and morality.
If life creates itself and grows and maintains itself by creativity, then what else should we praise in man then creativity? Yet what is preached in its place? Love, charity, daring rescues, bravery--can these center life? Can they center morality?
Love that is love is creative love. Every romance is a creativity of dance, mutual growth, ingenious kindness, performed conversations, shared goals. Unless a man is a man, is his own independent self, what woman would swoon? If he does not command according to his own mind, what does his confidence win? For he must be able to play her heart like a harp, to create a new life in her. And again, she must create a new life in him. They must play each other like mutual musicians.
As for grudging tithes, as for charity to strangers--how does this feed the soul? Blessed are the rich in spirit--of course! The rich in spirit, those with fertile souls who sculpt their heart like a piece of art, those who make their personality their canvas, who approach every situation as a challenge and create a unique solution, answering sunset with sunset, child with child, and not echoing a manual of answers. And if blind charity fulfills my personal values, then so much the better that I give.
The brain itself constantly creates consciousness, and it is the creation of experience that characterize all the values of life. Thus, creativity is the very meaning of life, being what life is and does. Yet how is this an ethic?
Creativity as an ethic means working to fulfill your own needs through your own effort. This requires productivity: to make goods to use and trade. One must converse, have an exchange with another person. Conversation, the basic human exchange, involves creatively estimating the person we talk with, estimating ourselves, and dancing with another's mind.
To make the creative ethic more stark, one ought to regard his soul, his friends, his life as a constant artistic creation. Life is art. It is with this mindset that one will enjoy participating with all the joys and tribulations that come to him. This means viewing the whole of life as one artistic enterprise: one creative goal that all the small parts of life adhere to. This makes integrity, the unity of a human life to one set of ethics, to one vision of a beautiful life.
For fate is internally determined. By making our unconscious, which pulls the world into shape for us, we thus create our world. Would a man gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul? But it wasn't till I made the whole world that I earned my soul. It is by choosing how I will play, by making decisions and committing to life that I forge the tone of life.
What of worship? What of honor? What of tradition? Every tradition had to be created, and by a man who was not traditional. Furthermore, every tradition, even if exactly followed, cannot encompass life. We must constantly interpret, reinterpret, and redetermind how we will apply a tradition. Even the most fundamental practitioner must decide what a gospel truth means to their mud-and-guts life.
However, as every artist and original knows, what comes from the self, what is original to me, is my joy and favorite. I love my children above all others. It is through my creative effort, my unique opinions and applications, that I establish my style, my personality, my life and purpose. Everything gold comes from a gold heart.
Therefore, we derive this lesson from scripture: it is moral to write it, immoral to believe it, moral to make, immoral to read. That is to say, any writing of another profits only insofar as it inspires one to write his own life, his own book. Who will filter my sunshine? What book will block my horizon?
Therefore, the obligation we have to family, friends, community, and society only obligate insofar as we choose them as our values, insofar as we recognize our need for them. Our loyalty is absolute and binding, but it is creative loyalty. We do not play a part without playing the part.
True to self means traitor to all else--all that would obligate us from the outside. "God within, to hell without," one might well say, but this is only true when we recognize the God of Genesis 1, God as creativity. No person, no spirit, but creativity itself. Every man must be God to be a man: he must create. This is to say, God is man's most famous creation, and might well symbolize his creative imagination. God was always part of man, but creativity is greater then God. Man is the ratiocreative lifeform. Thus, humanism, the man-centered belief, this allows man, this celebrates man, this focuses on the greatest value to man: mankind itself. We are Father to ourselves.
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