Thursday, 22 August 2019


Creativity or art can be seen as man engaged in one of his highest divine functions. He is acting according to the image of the Creator planted within him and fulfilling his office as God's vice-regent or representative inside the creation. 

But there are rules.  When man creates he should do so as an expression of his own unique individual nature thus bringing something into the world no other being can. At the same time, he should not create purely as an individual. This is the major and spiritually disastrous mistake of so much art and science and invention of the 20th century and beyond. Creating from the self as opposed to through the self is where it has all gone wrong. The true creator creates in accordance with God's laws, though since the word law implies a certain rigidity and lack of freedom, patterns would be a better word. But these are the laws of creation, the parameters that God set up at the beginning, and to go against them is to go against the order of creation and thus God himself. If we do this we are not so much creating as anti-creating, being creatively destructive as it has been described.

In fact to go against them is also to go against our own being since these laws are the template according to which we are made.  Thus it is no coincidence that it is only when human beings abandoned belief in a transcendent reality that they started to create outside of and actually against nature.

And what was the effect of this? It certainly wasn't any real happiness or fulfilment. To begin with there was a sense of liberation, the rush of energy you get when a container is shattered and its contents released. But then the energy is dissipated and there is nothing left.  The feeling of emptiness results and that is what we currently live with and what we try to fill with novelty (the 'news') and distraction. But this never works and like all drugs we need more and more to achieve less and less. All this from abandoning reality and seeing ourselves as self-created which is what materialism really amounts to for if we have no creator we are responsible to no one.

Art to achieve its proper function must be moral. Of course, you can have art without morality but it always, however good, and most is not, falls short. But what is morality? It might be defined in several ways according to one's beliefs about the nature of reality. For the Aztecs even human sacrifice may have been seen as moral. But there are clearly true and false beliefs, those based on truth and those based on illusion. Fundamental to real morality, however, is the acknowledgment of God and the recognition of cosmic good and evil. I use that adjective to differentiate between what is good in a spiritual sense and what is good materially. Today we see material good used to justify spiritual evil and it deceives many. The current obsession with climate change, for example, uses a legitimate though probably overstated concern to advance an agenda of totalitarian control and substitutes faith in God with repositioning ourselves as God. Let me explain what I mean by that.  Being responsible stewards of creation under God is right and proper and what we are called to be. Being the ultimate arbiters of creation as the climate change lobby imagines we can be is blasphemous. As I said in my previous post we are meant to be gardeners of the planet but under God who is the head gardener.

So real morality involves two things. The recognition of God and the understanding that he has set up an order of being in creation with its own proper rules. To go with these is morality. To go against them is immoral. You might just as well say good and evil. This order of being is not an inflexible system with no give or room for creative expression but it does have laws, some of which, like justice and mercy for example, cannot be obeyed slavishly or in a bureaucratic rule-following way for they complement each other and so have to be interpreted on a spiritual level by the discerning mind that has adapted itself to truth through striving to love the Creator.

This brings us back to art and creativity and the fact that to be an artist of a kind is one of our primary roles. But we need to create according to the rules and patterns of creation and the natural order of being. If we don't, we are following Satan not God and that is what humanity in the mass is currently doing.


edwin said...

I am somewhat out of touch with what is now considered art at the universities, where most of us encountered it in my day. I studied literature and assumed that art was a religion unto itself, with no obligation to anyone or anything, so long as it provided an aesthetic high. I was required to read D.H. Lawrence, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway, none of which offered a coherent or satisfying view of life: eroticism, money, machismo? But they certainly wrote well. One could admire their sentences. But I always felt something was eluding me, or as though I were standing on quicksand when what I needed was terra firma. This exaltation of the artist could only have occurred in a world in which spiritual reality had been eclipsed by materialism. The way to God, which is the proper subject of art, became a way to nowhere, a stumbling through sensuality and amid the remnants of virtues such as courage and compassion, uncoupled from their Divine origin and purpose. I tend to think that art is impossible these days, for there is no longer a shared vision of transcendent life that would make it ordered and intelligible. So, literature has devolved into script-writing - usually obscene or sentimental (often both) - and the plastic arts into cryptic forms whose eccentricity is supposed to be their value. I agree that there can be no genuine creativity without love of the Creator. Most of what passes for art now should hung on the walls of hell, to which it leads.

William Wildblood said...

'Art is impossible these days'. That's a chilling thought, edwin, but I think you are right. Another reason for the increasing madness in the world. If we refuse to face the direction in which true art should point how can we make it? But we can make devilish non-art and we do, fit for the walls of hell, as you say.

Anonymous said...

"Morality is the backbone of halfwits" Mark Twain

William Wildblood said...

I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean.

Anonymous said...

It's an empowerment of the individual and a protest against intellectual and cultural conformity.