To The Source
We have all faced it one time or the other. You have an idea, a beautiful idea. You battle through the whole night trying to tap, interpret and store this idea in a more objective form so that you remove it from the region of fleeting impressions. Or perhaps you desire to present it in such a form so that the maximum number of people can enjoy it with you. Your motivation could even stem from such real-world considerations like money making.
The thing you imagine is an ideal: the vision, the perfect dream. Your biggest challenge is how to tap, transmit, and store this image and record it as close as possible to the original form. It is a recurring problem.
Anybody who ever had a great tale to tell the world has faced this challenge: Socrates, Mozart, da Vinci, Einstein, Shakespeare, etc. The problem is how to overcome the limitations of the medium of creativity reception.
Every monument, every masterpiece, and every artificial marvel you have ever witnessed or heard of is a poor approximation of the real thing. They were all poor approximations because the process of interpretation, transmission, storage, etc., introduced irreversible distortions that resulted in the work being a poor imitation of the perfect state. The effectiveness of the transmission process (from the realm of imagination, or thought, to the physical level) is low indeed.
The limitations and distortions encountered in the creative process are inherent and are the physical limitations of trying to express subjective perception or knowingness, mental impression (thought, idea, symbol), memory, or emotion in the physical world.
Everything you have ever seen in the physical world except what we inherited from nature is a product of the mind and emotions (fire, clothes, houses, electricity, roads, wine, literature, basketball, car, the PC, fashion, etc).
Everything man ever made had to be initially conceived as a thought impulse. These thought impulses and mental images are all in dynamic picture forms (not in words).We conceive ideas in symbols and dynamic imagery. We analyze and store information in patterns.
Everyone whose work demands constant use of the creative faculty will run into this challenge. They include the storyteller, artist, sculptor, musician, architect, designer, dancer, actor, pop-culture genius, painter, artistic director, mathematician, scientific whiz, social innovator, philosopher, etc.
The limitations arise from three sources: first-degree receptivity; second-degree receptivity; and media, materials, process and technology.
First-degree receptivity relates to how pure the human channel (using the mind, emotions and body) is as a transmitter of the inner message.
Anyone whose mind is closed, full of opinions, indulges in excessive self-concern, who over cherishes his beliefs, and who is satisfied with the tried and tested will be a poor candidate for an examination in receptivity.
If the person’s emotions frequently swing from one pole to the other he’d be unable to retain emotional balance. Wild, rampart emotions cloud the consciousness and impede creativity.
Likewise, if the body is weak and tired, in pains, diseased, sedated with drugs and alcohol, it’d be a poor transmitter for messages from the life force.
Attention, attitude, and assumption are three keys you could use in unlocking the inner treasures.
With your free will you choose what you’re interested in, and use your will power to retain interest in it, snuffing out all other attractions that pull at you. Your attitude should be that of relaxation and calmness. Be detached, which means be in balance emotionally. Don’t allow your emotions to be unnecessarily be swayed from one pole to the other like a pendulum. Have a graceful attitude.
Start from the wish fulfilled. Act as if you’ve already succeeded. Assume that you have already gotten this great revelation, story, music, idea, etc., from the inner channels. Pretend that it’s already yours. Imagine what the final outcome could be like and try to make it real to your senses. Fill your thoughts with gratitude of having received this marvelous gift.
Action ties these three keys together. Keep at it. Persist. Get yourself to focus your attention and energy at doing it until something is opened up to you.
PROCESS OF CREATIVE WRITING
Second-degree receptivity is about expressiveness. What mental skills have the translator developed to aid him in maximally expressing the vision to others?
Suppose two writers who have the same power of first-degree receptivity perceive the same great story in their inner vision, which of them do you think will produce a better story? It’d be the fellow with a better expressive skills to convey what he had experienced in striking images, sounds, sights, feelings, smells and tastes to his intended audience.
The major challenge of any creative writer, or any writer of whatever extraction, is language. Great storytellers and writers from Hemmingway to Solzhenitsyn have all had to tackle the challenge of expressivity. To the extent that they can overcome the limitation of language and express what they imagine and feel as close as possible to the imagined source, to that extent will they produce literary masterpieces and become great writers.
The initial conception of the great story is a series of dynamic images together with the accompanying environment (scene, cast, geo-physical setting, emotional coloration, and extraordinary features) that the translator has to still and transform into dots and lines. (The process of enjoying the work is the reverse of this.)
The process of creative writing involves essentially then, using words in the chosen language medium in such a way, manner and form that they convey, as close as possible, an image that mirrors the original imagery.
The other limitation has to do with materials, media, process and technology. If you are a painter who sees certain colors in his mind’s eye, but the pigments available to you cannot give you a combination close to it, what do you do? Or you're an architect. You have made this perfect design, yet the materials available or known to man at this point in time are unable to see the dream actualized, what do you do?
A good example of a limitation imposed by media is the representation structure. The 2D-representation format limits the scope of expression of an artist, painter, architect, designer, mathematician and scientist.
Representing a 3D object on a 2D medium (like paper, canvas, and screen) is frustrating and unfulfilling. How do you represent depth, distance, mathematical abstraction, shades of color, and so on? Of course all translators have devised smart improvisations, but they are all poor approximations: you cannot express a 3D object effectively with more than minimal efficiency on a 2D medium.
Yes, the sculptor is on a higher pedestal on this than the painter is, but even the sculptor is limited: his image is static rather than dynamic.
The Pantheon and the pyramids were built because the technologies for building them were available at the time. The scientist, designer, sculptor, etc. are limited to some extent by the technology available.
Before the advent of computers, engineers and scientists could not solve some nth order differential equations. Even then, Seymour Cray had to invent the supercomputer before some of them that used to take six months to solve can be solved in a couple of days. The imagination defines what can be; technology determines what is.
Naturally, the limitations created by these media of creativity reception are not eternal. Contemplation, meditation and other techniques, which you can look up in many 10-dollar paperbacks, detail how the mind, emotions and body can be balanced properly in order for them to be clearer tools for receptivity.
Creative people have undergone tremendous discipline to master cutting-edge skills for heightened expressiveness. The frontiers of science and technology is being extended every day to provide new materials, better processes and improved technology that offer artists, designers, innovators and inventors greater freedom and flexibility. For example, in the field of designing, computer-aided design (CAD), and 3D imaging are being used to model the prototype to look and act as close as possible to the original concept or mathematical model.
CREATOR OR TRANSLATOR?
Having come this far, you can see that the medium of creativity reception is a linkage of the translator (or what we call the “creator”), the medium he has chosen to express this, and the materials, process and technology available to him. The most important linkage here is, of course, the human element, the translator.
In a way, we can argue that the human element is not a creator but a translator since all creation in the matter, energy, space and time universes is finished. Every possible state you wish to access already exists; all you need to have the experience is to furnish the state of consciousness required.
Man then is only a translator who transmits what he “hears,” “sees,” and “feels” in his inner world. Perceptions and ideas do not belong to him exclusively as such, but are an organic mesh of his inner world and Divine Spirit. This relationship can best be understood by imagining a PC linked to a large computer and communication system - like the World Wide Web. Divine Spirit is the source of all perceptions, love, light, wisdom, freedom, knowledge, imagination and perfection.
On another level, we can argue that the human element is a real creator himself, since the Universe outside the realm of time, space, matter and energy is an unfinished creation (or evolution, or whatever). We can then see him as a co-creator with God continuing the business of creation at least in this deathless level of existence.
Both views are actually right. It may not make sense to some people immediately, but the more you dwell on it, the more you see the wisdom in it: man is both a translator and a creator.
To make the creative process easier and reduce the distortions in the final product, man should remove himself in the way of the transmission process and come as close as possible to the source of all creativity and the fountainhead of all wisdom, freedom, charity, beauty and orderliness.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chukwujama’s career purpose is to assist individuals, teams, groups, organizations and societies uncover the motivation and disciplines required to tap more of their potential. Send all communications to: email@example.com