Friday, June 06, 2008

Inspiration and its Source

Friday, June 06, 2008
Inspiration ~ breathed upon. As in, words, lines or curves breathed onto the page, screen or canvas. The expression breathed upon has divine connotations. It conjures up the imagery of the divine being breathing the creative source into the heart, mind and soul of the inspired one. This implies, then, aura of openness. In order to receive breath, one must relax and open oneself to the experience. Think about the fact that we do have awareness of the fact that our lungs expand approximately 12 times per minute. What happens at those rare, unfortunate moments when we do have such awareness? The Eisenberg principle takes effect ~ manifested as A-N-X-I-E-T-Y, a force which blinds us to the simple and sublime.

Inspiration seems much like a grace ~ unsought (though desired), uncontrolled, and irresistible. The artist's performance involves her body and mind, yet it remains a cherished gift. Inspiration exists prior to consciousness and outside of the realm of skill. It defies comprehension. It embodies the sort of poetic madness that comes from having glimpsed at the empyrean and the ninth sphere of paradise. Inspiration provokes a compulsion to create. Through creation, the artist reaches revelation. The struggle becomes striking a balance between divine impulse and the artist's own human consciousness. Art ~ defined as the product of inspired creation ~ promotes conscious revelation. Does this increase self-awareness? Does it enhance the well-being of one's inner self?

At the core of inspiration lies madness and irrationality, as sourced by genius. What is genius? I think it's an innate ability to channel the frightening beauty of the divine winds. A quick foray into the etymology of the word tells us that, in Ancient Rome, genius described the guiding or guardian spirit of an ancestor who guarded his descendants. Genius ~ guiding spirit. Kant saw genius as 'the ability to independently arrive at and understand concepts that would normally have to be taught by another person.' Focus lies upon the concept of originality ~ a talent for producing ideas which can be described as non-imitative.

Do you know, dear Reader, what are the three characteristics shared by geniuses?

  1. Systematic and orderly approaches to problem solving.
  2. Sense of wonder, ability to look at things in a fresh, almost childlike way. Keeping an open mind and a flexible attitude on all subjects.
  3. Ability to concentrate with greater depth and intensity than the average person.

So ... genius lies within the grasp of us all. Neither excellence achieved at skill performance nor some culturally-biased quantification of intellectual strength embodies the true spirit of genius. Genius refers to the way in which one sees and processes one's surroundings; it requires self tolerance and patience. And of course ... some good, old-fashioned perspiration.


K9 said...

what an excellent post! i often paint breath - youre about to find out - because its such a loaded multil layered device in art literature much. even the recent post with the blue ox -from his nostrils are breath force coming from the sacrificial animal.

i think when you take the elements of grace inspiration consciousness and skill you do get an authentic work of art.

real art is when you make something rather automatically and then when you look at it - it tells you what YOU are, not the other way around.

there was this movement of automatic painting among the surrealists that was all about channelling that grace and no self censorship. one thing i can tell you is when you consider what will happen with the art after it is made (who will buy this, will i get money) in some ways you have already lost that force. its very hard to do.

i do believe that the path of art-in all its forms-is a path to actualization. and the path is the reward. sounds kind of corny but its the only way to go (for me at least)

so good to have you back!

..................... said...

really wonderful well written post..
when i'm inspired, a strong compulsion to create does exist. if that compulsion is not met or satisfied i become frustrated. fulfilling inspiration does not always lead directly to a well-being of one's inner self though .. however, it can though.
for me the path has always been the reward once i realize the path i ought to take. once the work is completed i'm not all that interested in it. i don't even specifically care if i show it or sell it. i need to look into the eisenberg pirncile. i've never associated an awareness of my breath as anxiety causing. rather as a calming experience as when i do yoga. you learn to be conscious of your breath.
anyway, i mention this cause before i moved outta our bedroom i would always wake up during the early morning hours 3 -4 am with what i considered anxiety attacks. since i am sleeping in what used to be my mother's room i'm much calmer at night although i do still wake up, but not due to anxiety. .. and when i do wake up i take my paper and crayons and doodle.
and i have SHE to thank for giving me the idea for moving out .. lol..

Enemy of the Republic said...

I'm blogrolling you now or I don't know when I'll get there. I shall be back for the post.

ThursdayNext said...

I love the concept of breathed upon...beautiful.

HELO said...

"...Inspiration exists prior to consciousness and outside of the realm of skill..."*

Hi, only a commet. Post the reference or the bibliography of all information you read to enrich your article.
*Brogan, T.V.F. "Inspiration" in Alex Preminger and T.V.F. Brogan, eds., The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993. 609-610.