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Fragmentation and creativity


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#1    markdohle

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 11:57 AM

Fragmentation and creativity


A good friend of mine sent me an article that dealt with mental illness and creativity.  This essay immediately caught my attention, for perhaps it could answer the reason for my desire to write and the inner healing I experience from it.

Creative works can often take on a dark aspect that can cause some people discomfort.  Edgar Alan Poe comes to mind.  In reading his story titled “The tell tale heart”, it is easy to get the impression that for someone to be able to write that masterpiece of horror, they had to be bit mad themselves.  Literature often deals with the shadier aspect of what it means to be human and the better the book the more it points to the author having a certain understanding of his own inner dark nature.  Perhaps it is the inner fragmentation, the inner clatter of voices that leads to this ability to portray aspects of our nature that we would rather not look at.  Is our creative urge a form of therapy and nothing more?  Probably not, for many of our most famous artist have a bad end, their self destructive tendencies getting the better of them.

Why do people love art anyway?  Why are so many attracted to the darker forms of art as well as the violent aspects?  Do artist speak for us, giving us a peek into our own unconscious minds.  Taking us on a journey to have some kind of a dialogue with those nastier parts of ourselves, which is safe…, .like going on a roller coaster ride at an amusement park; being afraid but also protected at the same time and because of that feeling more alive?

I did not start to write until I was 50 and there are things that flow to the surface when writing that have scared some of my friends when they read it.  Most of it was some of my darker poetry.  I delighted in writing it and in finding the proper art to go with it.  It was freeing for me to write it and also to send it on.  It was like setting something free in me.  Others, well a few have told me that I speak for them.  So perhaps someone who can write about such things is just a spokesperson for others?  The more I write, the less demanding my inner fragmented self demands my attention, since in writing I am allowing them to speak.  I don’t identify with the voices, they are bits and pieces of me and perhaps if I did not give voice to them my own inner division would have continued and expressed itself in more self destructive ways.  Perhaps when some others read me they may find some healing as well.  Is our Art, all of art, speaking for those who either can’t, or are afraid to express their inner darkness, which again is only an aspect of their selves?

This is something I wrote almost three years ago which may illustrate my point a bit:

(Quote)To say we are a species prone to violence is an understatement.  We entertain ourselves with violent images.  “Guy flicks”, of which I still enjoy from time to time and of course are overflowing with themes of revenge, often accompanied with a great deal of humor. Also with a large dose of violence and a very high body count…. in some movies hundreds are mowed down by the star of the movie….the good guy. Though amazingly in these guy flicks, little blood is actually shown.  When these scenes are being depicted there is often laughing and clapping so as to spur the hero on in his attempt to get justice.  I can say that I am one of those who cheer the hero’s on their course.  I am not against these kinds of flicks, though I wonder what need is being fulfilled in watching them.   However I can’t get myself to watch ‘slash’ movies. Perhaps it is a generational thing. Which are filled with blood and gore and no humor at all, that I could discern (yes I have seen one or two movies in this genre).   Just unending terror and pain for the victims, all done for the entertainment of the audience, helped along perhaps, with a soda and of course with a large bag of popcorn. (Unquote)

I once gave a talk on the 11th step and in the process of giving that talk, I came to the realization that the alcoholism that some in my family have did not pass me by like I thought.  All my life I have sought to bring my many disjointed parts of myself together.  In the Navy I partied a lot, drank more, mostly because I was alienated and lonely.  However the alcohol did not take hold of me.  I continued my presentation, putting my notes aside, I shared with these good men on a 12 step retreat that as deeply as alcohol touched me something touched me deeper.  Perhaps out of self preservation, or grace, or both, I knew from a young age that if I did not develop a loving relationship with “my higher power” I would disintegrate.  So God, grace, love, whatever some may want to call it, touched a part of my self that was healing and not just numbing.  So no matter how much I drank the call to go beyond the pain in trust, or to not run from it was stronger than my desire to numb myself.

I think we all walk on the edge and many will never experience this reality.  Many will experience their own inner demons and perhaps art, or just plain hack writers like myself, my help them to deal with it.  Being fragmented and perhaps just a tad from being mentally ill, has its advantages.  Those who go over the edge for whatever reasons need our compassion, love and empathy.  They also need to be listened to.  Not that reality is only dark and that we are only fragmented, no, we are much more.  It is in relationship with something bigger than ourselves that we can bring these parts together.  We are never alone, even in our darkness moments, never alone.  God is not Santa Claus, nor can we demand that the world be a certain way, it just is and I believe there are reasons for what we go through that we at this time cannot understand.


Journeying with us

Inner serpent and rage,
cold and dark,

(Light supreme journeying with us),

pulled here and there
in scattered parts,
a whirlwind at times
no place to rest.

(To observe with the light supreme)

love and hate sit down over coffee,
lust and chastity dance together,
faith and doubt are best friends,
and the world a mirror reflecting back,
in love of self and the love of the light supreme
the puzzle comes back together.




#2    Beany

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 05:16 PM

You know, Mark, I've thought a lot about whether there are reasons why we all sooner or later experience hard times. I'm not sure there is a reason why, in that it is part of a plan of some greater entity that we have these experiences. What I am pretty sure of is that each of us can view these experiences as lessons, if we choose to do so, and by being good students we can learn more about ourselves & the world around us, and the knowledge we gain can be another tool in our tooxbox, so to speak.

I've always tried to stay away from living on the edge and the darkness, not out of any higher morality or consciousness, but because those few times I've gotten close to it, I experienced tension and unease physically that made being me uncomfortable; it's like my body knows I shouldn't go there way before my mind kicks in. Maybe it's a kind of body wisdom. I have known people who are dedicated hedonists who seem to have no restraints at all, and often went over the edge into the darkness. They didn't appear to have any conflict at all about their decisions and behaviors, no unease physically or mentally, while I seem to have an autonomic red flag that warns me when I approach the red zone. Maybe this is a by-product of my childhood, which was fraught with danger, uncertainty, and caprice, and with parents whose behaviors seemed to be totally without constraints. Maybe because as a kid I lived involuntarily in the dark side, it holds no allure or mystery for me, and I know it's a one-way ticket.

Maybe this is why my life is all about choices & personal responsibility; I've seen the hell we can create if those elements aren't in our lives. And I vowed to myself at some point, first unconsciously, then consciously, to never be the instrument that brought chaos and pain into the lives of my children or those I love. But I never saw any of this connected to the sacred or the divine, but instead as solely my responsibility to exercise freedom of choice, followed by action. Maybe God/the divine does or did have something to do with this, but if so, I've fulfilled my part of the deal as best I can. There were times when I had to "let go and let God", but many more times when I told myself I could take it on and handle it, and did. That's when I learned a lot of lessons, I think.

I haven't written so much in a long time; it feels like Sunday-go-to-meeting time. This morning, Mark, I feel like we are sharing the same heart, which is a blessing for me. Thank you.


#3    markdohle

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 12:04 PM

View PostBeany, on 21 October 2012 - 05:16 PM, said:

You know, Mark, I've thought a lot about whether there are reasons why we all sooner or later experience hard times. I'm not sure there is a reason why, in that it is part of a plan of some greater entity that we have these experiences. What I am pretty sure of is that each of us can view these experiences as lessons, if we choose to do so, and by being good students we can learn more about ourselves & the world around us, and the knowledge we gain can be another tool in our tooxbox, so to speak.

I've always tried to stay away from living on the edge and the darkness, not out of any higher morality or consciousness, but because those few times I've gotten close to it, I experienced tension and unease physically that made being me uncomfortable; it's like my body knows I shouldn't go there way before my mind kicks in. Maybe it's a kind of body wisdom. I have known people who are dedicated hedonists who seem to have no restraints at all, and often went over the edge into the darkness. They didn't appear to have any conflict at all about their decisions and behaviors, no unease physically or mentally, while I seem to have an autonomic red flag that warns me when I approach the red zone. Maybe this is a by-product of my childhood, which was fraught with danger, uncertainty, and caprice, and with parents whose behaviors seemed to be totally without constraints. Maybe because as a kid I lived involuntarily in the dark side, it holds no allure or mystery for me, and I know it's a one-way ticket.

Maybe this is why my life is all about choices & personal responsibility; I've seen the hell we can create if those elements aren't in our lives. And I vowed to myself at some point, first unconsciously, then consciously, to never be the instrument that brought chaos and pain into the lives of my children or those I love. But I never saw any of this connected to the sacred or the divine, but instead as solely my responsibility to exercise freedom of choice, followed by action. Maybe God/the divine does or did have something to do with this, but if so, I've fulfilled my part of the deal as best I can. There were times when I had to "let go and let God", but many more times when I told myself I could take it on and handle it, and did. That's when I learned a lot of lessons, I think.

I haven't written so much in a long time; it feels like Sunday-go-to-meeting time. This morning, Mark, I feel like we are sharing the same heart, which is a blessing for me. Thank you.

Thank you again for such a thoughtful comment.  I use words different than you, but you are a partner on the path with me.  The Holy Spirit guides all who are open to seeking deeper meaning and love in life.  The inner warnings you speak of I too have experienced, perhaps not to the degree you have; you are very sensetive.  Pleasure for humans, since we are not contolled by our instinct (at least we are not contrained by it) can become addictive and self destructive.  The more we seek the less we are gratified.  True fullfillment comes from inner peace, love and I believe a loving relationship with the Infinite.

Peace
mark





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