Carl Jung tells the story of a man who came to see him in despair. He had just married his fourth wife and was anxious it would go the way of the other three, as though he was driven by a compulsion to destroy his intimate relationships. Jung asked about the three former wives and it turned out they were all sculptors.
Jung chuckled and said, ‘Well its simple, you have to manifest the creative part of yourself and stop getting your wives to carry such intolerable expectations.” So the man became a sculptor and managed to protect his marriage from the vengeance of a muse grown to angry destruction in the wings of life’s pageant.
What cannot come in by the door will climb in by the window. When others live out our dreams for us it ends badly but the divorce courts might prove to be the least of a person’s concerns .
After all the creative principle,
”does not take a man by the hand and lead him right up to Paradise; she puts him first into a hot cauldron where he is nicely roasted for a while.” Von Franz
..the choice not to be roasted is really a decision to be eaten up a different way… The muse becomes dark and forbidding..
you have never given her a chance of expressing herself, and therefore she has become inhuman and brutal.”ibid
but with poetic intent, for your pleasure and delight…
When inner choices are restricted some kind of compensation is bound to ensue in its concretised and less conscious outer form. We may then manage to turn our consumerism into an index of success and prosperity rather than experience it in its original form as a compulsion born out of inner hungering and unfulfillment but it will still taste like chewing gum and smell like burnt rubber.
By their nature, Single System Systems discourage the kind of errant wandering necessary for Individuation. We are free in the way captive baboons cling to the bars of their cages when released into the wild. Children are not encouraged to think, to follow their own destiny, to really choose, and so you have 68 different types of snack instead to pour all your creative energy into and, having energetically shortlisted and brainstormed, arrived at the difficult choice twixt Wispa and Mars.
”Here the Crocodile god, Inertia, presides. He invites you to share his sunny log and, as you contentedly bask in the sun, he obligingly swallows the energy that might otherwise disturb your sleep.” Frances Wickes.
Its easy to forget that the archetypal principle associated with creativity and embodied by figures like Dionysus or Loki are gods of madness as well as gods of abundance. Put clinically, emerging potential ‘de-integrates’ ego structures. One way or another it disrupts the human realm, arriving always in a great chaotic clamour that cannot help but make a mess of things..
and that’s when he’s in a good mood.
Analyst Lyn Cowan suggests masochism is a distortion of the principle of submission to higher wisdom. Perhaps sadism and what passes for ‘ordinary’ cruelty can be distortions, sometimes horrendous, of creative buds that fail to fruit when higher wisdom is not acknowledged, Dionysus, Render of Humans, grown angry and petulant.
I once new a man with a string of anti-social convictions, a text book psychopath with very little interest in what was going on around him or in any creative venture until he’d had three lines of coke and half a dozen Intergalactic Gargle Blasters whereupon he would spontaneously weave metered poetry around the evening’s events in perfect rhyme.
Next day it would all be forgotten.
It seemed that much of his anti-social meanness was about more than what he might have suffered as a child, it was the vengeance of his creative spirit that was only allowed out to play once he was massively disinhibited.
Collective inhibition, which persuades us there is nothing we do not know that is also worth our effort, is the same beguiling voice that then offers us a compensatory outer world of dazzling novelty, everything new, improved, and yours by right.
For life to be good it has to be easy. We want it easier as though the worth of life could be ascertained by how little you had to put into it….
as though there was an inverse relationship between meaning and getting your trousers on. Generally speaking our highest ideal is not to have to do anything. We work so that we can take time off from it. We do it today to be free tommorrow.
Life-as-a-journey, with its glassy, jaundiced eye perpetually upon some future goal rather than upon life as it happens, gets upgraded to life-as-vacation, at least it should be if only the lousy world would cut you some slack and let you trough through that bucket list you’ve been nursing.
as though life’s fulfillment could not take place without riding shotgun in the Paris to Dakar rally or walking the ten tors of Dartmoor. So what we want to happen next is seriously going to mess with what happens next. It’s a form of dismissive and limiting attachment that ultimately makes an old grouch of those whose creative life has been made dependent on time and money.
”People who have a creative side and do not live it out are most disagreeable. They make a mountain out of a molehill, fuss about unnecessary things, are too passionately in love with somebody who is not worth so much attention, and so on. There is a kind of floating charge of energy in them which is not attached to its right object and therefore tends to apply exaggerated dynamism to the wrong situation. M.L. von Franz
In the Samuri tradition, warriors were expected to hone their skills in calligraphy, poetry and painting. This was not just to garnish their CV, it was psychological hygiene to make sure that unlived creativity did not sour and devolve into indiscriminant pointyness.
In the West we’re busy cutting these outlets from our curriculum. They can’t be quantified and take too much effort. When would you ever need to play a bassoon? What use is a pen and ink drawing? Will making a kite put food on the table?
So we demure and go back to the T.V. where nothing is required of us….exulting quietly that our sloth is really a measure of frilly cuffed sophistication. Of course one might think of ‘leisure’ as a well earned reward for hard work but that still somehow fails to address the truth that for many, life’s highest value can be measured in days spent comatose on a beach with nothing to do till dinnertime.