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Image in Creativity

Fr. Louie Angeles

Is there an image involved in the process of creativity? If there is, is it something tangible and concrete as the concept of creativity may imply or as we commonly it is like a sudden flash of light that makes itself transparent through which one can peer through without knowing what it is and what it means. It seems to be forceful in the sense of being insistent and yet gentle; it makes you think about it as it comes back to you. In a way it takes hold on you without it being apprehended. It is reassuring and yet one is not sure about its whereabouts. There is here an existing duality in image a duality between knowing and unknowing, between forcefulness and gentleness, between certainly and uncertainty, between insistence and freedom, between presence and absence. This is similar to Martin Bubers philosophy of truth in dialogue, relation and

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mutuality or even of conflict as Buber speaks also of confrontation. Bubers philosophy of truth is realistic and even more realistic, that is, it is mystical. If creativity is taken in this mystical and spiritual sense, Buber takes you to real communion with nature or to a cosmic association. Presence for Buber does not mean passivity or nothingness. Presence involves tension, a tension between being and becoming, you and it, presence and detachment, relation and experience, activity and passivity, totality and partiality, enduring and passing, immediate and mediate, directness and remoteness, primitive and inventive, latency and actuality. This tension is solved in the act of reciprocity and in case of the I-Thou relation it is love. This act of reciprocity and love is found to be stronger, forceful and living, almost magical in the relational process and states of primitive and natural man. It seems that primitive, natural man had closer contact with his environment and his nature that he had imbibed in himself the forces of nature and had expressed this force and directness in the wholeness of his relation. Buber tells us that the source of this force and magical power is cosmic:

The primitive world is magical not because any such human power of magic might be at its center, but rather because any such human power is only a variant of the general power that is the source of all effective action.

It is perhaps in this spiritual sense that we can understand creativity. Ordinarily, creativity has been understood as productivity in a physical quantitative sense, as something tangible, a concrete physical effect. For this reason man tends to value thinking in terms of material effects, verifiable truths, pragmatic experiences, and workable hypotheses. In a way, this is considered as a scientific prostitution of a captured and raped mind with its powers sexually abused. This is related to what was said about human sexuality in my other paper1: the victory of Greek dualism over the Hebraic realism and holism has resulted in what might be called schizoid sex. This is not to downgrade the role of science and technology and the progress made in its name. But science has to be humble enough to admit its own limitations and boundaries otherwise the battle cry of Nietzsche will be resurrected in our times: if there were gods, how can I endure not to be a god. This is certainly a failure to recognize human life and freedom as a gift which calls forth the attitude of wonder, admiration, appreciation and thanksgiving. Sam Keen in Apology for Wonder says:

Louie Angeles. Male and female Integration in the self According to Humean Psychology. Unpublished material. Page 64

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Precisely because human life is finite, it can be considered a gift. The conditions under which life is given are not evidence that the creator of life harbors the hidden intent of enslaving and possessing man and placing him under the horrible burden of a sense of obligation. Human freedom is not destroyed by acknowledging that it has limits: it is merely understood as human freedom.

What Sam Keen tries to do was harmonize the duality between intellect and will, mind and body, spirit and matter, reason and wonder, the Apollonian and the Dionysian way , between the god of ego, light, youth, purity, reasonableness, order, discipline, balance and the god of ecstasy , license , direct participation, dance, wine, song. Sam Keen sees in the homo tempestivus the timely man the model of authentic man. Among other things for him an authentic man:

In wondering he finds hope, because he recognizes that to be exiled within the limiting structures of temporal existence is to be ignorant about the range of ultimate possibilities. Because the future is open, he can throw the full weight of his freedom behind the project to which he commits himself, knowing it is impossible to determine in advance the range of novelty that is possible. On the other hand, homo tempestivus is sufficiently Apollonian to be aware of the provisional limits which are currently the defining structures of human personality, culture and historical existence.

An article of Time magazine, Reaching Beyond the Rational, has an interesting projection of the future of science and the new role of mysticism and religious experience in the realm of truth and knowledge. It is a realization of the limitations of the science as the mathematician Martin Gardner recognizes: modern science should indeed arouse in all of us ahumility before the immensity of the unexplored and the tolerance for crazy hypotheses.

Thomas Kuhn proposed a scientific theory called paradigm which indicates that science is not cumulative, but that is collapses and is rebuilt after each major conceptual shift. The other side of the reversal in science is the new place of mysticism.
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MIT physicist Morrison says: rationality has to include, so to speak, the irrationality. Harvards own Gingerich, astromer and historian of science says: there might be noncasual things in the world it maybe that aspects of mysticism totally outside science may come back and be incorporated within its frame work.

This pervasiveness and strong influence of science and technology is seen clearly from the development of a theory of image in the 18th century from associationism to the phenomenology of Husserl as given in Jean Paul Sartres book Imagination: A Psychological Critique. The central question in the theory of image seems to be on the modes of being of image as perceived. There is here an existing limitation of human perception. Quidquid percipitur, secundum modum percipientis percipitur -a philosophical idiom that whatever is perceived is perceived according to the mode of the one perceiving.

This sounds like the Kantian theory of modes or patterns of perception in the mind. Sartre says that there are two ways of perceiving image: directly in itself or indirectly in reflective thinking. So Sarte concludes that the only way to establish a true theory of the being of image is to propose to nothing which does not have a direct source in reflective experience. The image that is perceived is given an interpretation, a meaning in which in a way is limiting the richness and boundless reality of the image. Interpretation through language cannot completely explain the reality of an experience. Symbols are only signs of hidden reality. Just as in worship it becomes an ideology or an illusion when language of theology or signs and symbols do not transcend the human condition. Langdon Gilkey expresses this clearly in his existential inquiry on the reality of God in an ontic search an examination of the shape of the ordinary human experience in order to find the dimension of intimacy and symbolization, he says that linguistic symbols, including those of religious language, cannot communicate, that is, have meaning or use, if they do not function importantly to thematize some significant area of common, ordinary experience.

Sarte continues to say that when the image is identified with the object, then we have a naive metaphysics of the image. There is more in the image which is not in the existing, external object.

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The reality of the image can apprehend or take hold of an individual in a new encounter. It is interesting to note that Martin Buber enumerates three levels of encounter: 1. In the life with nature it is knowledge as man beholds what confronts him, its being is disclosed to the knower. 2. In the life with men it is art: as man beholds what confronts him, the form discloses itself to the artist. 3. In the life with the spiritual beings it is pure action: the You appears to man out of a deeper mystery, addresses him out of the dark, and man responds with his life. Essentially the image is not the thing. Sarte says that the image has the sort of metaphysical inferiority relative to the thing it represents: the image is the lesser thing, possessed of its own existence, given to consciousness like any other things and maintaining existential relations with the thing of which it is the image. Here I would like to outline the different schools of thought regarding the theory of image from associationism to phenomenology of Husserl: 1. Descartres- image is corporal. Knowledge of the image leads to consciousness of the image. 2. Spinoza - an image is an affection of the body, chance, contiguity and habit originate the links between the images and memory which is a physical revival of an affection of the body brought about by mechanical causes.. 3. Leibniz image is suffused with the intellectual. Associationism was no longer physiological, for images are preserved and interrelated in unconscious fashion in the soul. He expresses though the difference between image and idea to a purely mathematical one. 4. Hume- gives the description of the mechanistic world of the imagination. Images are linked by reactions of contiguity and resemblance that act like given forces, clustering by attractions of a mechanical semimagical nature. 5. Taine everything in the mind that exceeds raw sensations is reducible to images, to spontaneous repetition of sensation. Image is merely a resuscitant sensation, a set of molecular motions. 6. Maine de Biran- psychic fact is a physical motion.

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7. R.P. Peillaube - images are necessary to the formation of concepts. 8. Brochard because the object is alterable, I know that the image is not equivalent to my concept. Image has the functional connection to thought. 9. Ribot claimed the existence of sensation and images together by laws of association. Considered thought inaccessible to intuitive awareness. He spoke in thingish terms. 10. Henry Bergson the thing is the image and the matter in ensemble of images. He insisted on the role of movement, pointing out that every image is always accompanied by schematic activities. 11. Phenomenology of Husserl an image is an image of something. Husserl distinguished an imaging intention and a hyle enlivened by the intention. This general outline of a theory of image clearly shows the influence of science. The psychology of synthesis of associationism attempted to erect a psychology on the model of biology. Image was understood in a mechanistic, physiological, biological way as seen in the words used to described image: set of molecular motions, corporeal, affection of the body, opaqueness of the infinite, given forces, schematic motor activities. Even Henry Bergson, an opponent of associationism, had to concede that image is a thing. He defines consciousness in a vitalistic term, as an actuality resulting from the bodily state. Then the appearance of the phenomenology of Husserl made a departure from the mechanistic view of image and gave a new dimension to image the dimension of intentionality. But even the act of intentionality seems to have a functional role an image is an image of something. It seems that intentionality tends to something else other than itself, an object, a meaning. Husserl made a distinction between the concrete psychic reality, the noesis, and the indwelling meaning the noema. James Hillman believes that: even the idea of creativity, the cherished goal of so many people is moulded by those biological notions of potency and reproduction. Because of the seed of all natural process always shows itself physically creativity is conceived by reproductive act of a tangible result a book, a child, a movement (James Hillman, Apology for Wonder) while Keen was notes that: under the impact of the technique of mass production, creativity has been increasingly identified with work and work with productive activity (Sam Keen, Apology for Wonder).

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Creativity as Process

It seems that the creativity has been described previously in a negative way it is not mechanical, biological, physiological, vitalistic, and intentional. What is there left to describe creativity? Can be there creativity outside of structure, form, intentionality, and meaning? Is creativity outside the dimensions and limitations of time and space and human consciousness? Is there a spiritual dimension in creativity? Is there something beyond what science and technology cannot explore and explain? Is there a psychic reality?

It seems that scientists are recognizing today the realities beyond science. The article Reaching Beyond the Rational reports:

No longer able to accept the atom as simply a miniature solar system in which negatively charged electrons blithely circle the positive nucleus, they found that the electrons kept jumping from the orbit into a different orbit without passing through intervening space - as if the earth were suddenly transferred into the orbit of mars without having to travelEven strange notions were still to come when physicist succeeded in producing such ghost like particles as the neutrino (which has no mass, no electrical charge and can hurdle with ease through the entire earth).

The article summarizes the whole thesis into a projection into the future with a vision:

The new critics have suggested that the cold, narrow rationality so long stressed by scientist is not the only ideology for modern man to live by. If such notions gain widening acceptance, they may usher in a new paradigm as significant as Copernicus own revolutionary idea.

In todays advancement of technology, science has paved the way for the spiritual. This was accomplished not only in a negative way that because science

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cannot explain its new discoveries it has to admit the spiritual reality, but also in a positive way in the sense that the new media in science have shaped a new mode of awareness and pattern recognition. Our mode of awareness has been changed from fragmentary, structured, limited levels of consciousness to what Marshall Mcluhan calls the myth - the mode of simultaneous awareness of a complex group of causes and effects. In his book Medium is the Message, Mcluhan recognizes the media as extensions of some human faculty psychic or physical. We have to change our mode of perception to adjust to our electrically-configured world to which Mcluhan says:

Our electrically configured world has forced us to move from the habit of data classification to the mode of pattern recognition. We can no longer build serially, block-to-block, step-by-step because instant communication ensures that all factors of the environment and of experience co-exist in the state of active interplay.

The expression of Mcluhans state of active interplay seems to relate to what Sam Keen says as the principle of creativity the principle of oscillation. It is an interplay between primary and secondary process-thinking (id and ego), between play and work, fantasy and realism, imagination and conceptualization. Jean Piagets terminology, it is holism an interplay between an active subject and organized mental structures. Although it has a biological basis, he tries to show the process of the development of the intellectual operations as related to certain schemes of the organism. It is keeping a balance between organization and adaptation.Harold Rugg (Imagination) also sees in creativity a certain balance between the unconscious and the conscious in a conscious-unconscious continuum and places the act of creativity at the threshold of the transliminal mind. Laurence Kubie seems to ascribe creative ability to the preconscious. He considers the unconscious as rigid and inflexible. He is opposed to the classical psychoanalytic interpretation which makes the unconscious the source of the creative acts and ascribes to it escape and defense mechanism caused by accumulating experiences of repression. It is not the symbol that we employ which is unconscious but only that which it represents.

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Following this concepts of creativity as active interplay between pattern recognition and media, between principle of oscillation, of holism, of the threshold of the transliminal mind, of the preconscious, creativity becomes a process, an encounter, an polarity between being and becoming ,known and knowing, discovered and discovering, passivity and activity, openness and participation, receptivity and welcome, wonder and welcome. This encounter and polarity is that Martin Buber calls being confronted by reality, by a Thou. It demands openness, awareness, welcome and participation. James Hillman calls it befriending: To participate in it, to enter into its imagery and mood, play with, live with, carry and become familiar with as one would do to a friend. To befriend means to take up a certain attitude, an outlook a view point. What becomes fundamental in creativity is not content, outcome, effect, product, but the individual himself in the process. It is the basic question of how of the creativity and not its what. Buber has this to say about work as creative act: Neither work nor possessions can be redeemed on their own but only by starting from the spirit. It is only from the presence of the spirit that significance and You can flow into all work, and reverence and the strength to sacrifice into all possessions. This presence of the spirit in creation preserves the reverence for the sacred in nature and creation. Theology of creation brings out the sacredness, the magnificence and wonders and respect for Gods creation. When one has this attitude of wonder, admiration, appreciation of beauty in the world, then he is enveloped in the grandeur and immensity of divine reality of which the beauty in creation is a manifestation. Sam Keen calls this being at home in the world. Ontological security and ontological wonder increase proportionately. It is the insecure self that lives in anxiety and defensiveness, protecting itself from the intrusion of any novelty which threatens its tenuous integration. Having security of the home is the source of the psychological strength necessary to undertake an adventure.

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This is a way of discovering the image of God in oneself. And in this inner center of oneself is found true freedom letting the image of ones inner self mold ones personality, integration, wholeness. This is an experience of oneself as a soul felling oneself, not merely intellectualizing. The firs step in encounter within oneself is to overcome ego-consciousness or what James Hillman calls the art of listening. There is nothing more destructive in human relations than the modern forms of curiosity: analysis, endless tracing of associations, figuring out of mechanism and diagnosis, epithets neurotic, paranoid, manic, etc. Who can figure out another person? The longer and better one knows another, as in deep analysis extending through the years, the less one can say for sure about the true root of the trouble; since the true root is always the person himself and the person is neither a disease nor a problem, but fundamentally insoluble mystery. Conclusion and Educational Implications 1. Theology of creation to show Gods goodness, love and providence and the implicit doctrine of human life as a gift of God a gift to be received with its limitations in an attitude of reverence and thanksgiving. The relationship between God and man is more than legalistic in the sense that man is bound to repay God for the gift he has received, but a personal response of love, celebration and thanksgiving. Worship and its ritualization and symbolization should transcend its limitations and move on to the transcendent in a new encounter of immediacy and directness. This is not a more ideology or illusion but an attitude of the soul which gives language theology and worship an experiential dimension in the act of prayer. 2. Image of God in man- theology of imago dei man is Gods creation which creates in man the role of primacy and leadership in the creation of God and also its consequent responsibility and stewardship. The image of God creates community of life based on deep respect for one another and the inviolability and sacredness of ones personal rights. The image of God is a source of inner freedom for self-integration. Freedom is a gift of God. Laws and structure would protect and enriched freedom. The experience of freedom is allowing the image of the self to shape ones personality.

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3. What is important in learning is the individual, not content. It is the process itself that creativity can arise people to create each other letting the other person comes into being in his own time and way. It is a process of freedom, spontaneity, and creativity. it is an experience not an experiment, openness not oftenness, receptivity not captivity, mutuality not monopoly, living is not acting out. 4. Attitudes are more important than the symbols and images we use to express them. Authentic relationship with God is beyond symbols and rituals. It is in mans inner sanctum, the basic attitude of wonder, admiration, appreciation of the sacred and divine realities, willingness to listen and obey. Personal conversios and callings have this inner center in depths in mans soul where the freedom in spirit lies the freedom in God and for men. 5. Feelings affects and emotions have their role in human relationships that should be respected, cared for and listened to. It is in our feelings that we can establish that inner connection within the self and with others in interpersonal relationships. Our feelings lower the level of our relationships into a more common and universal experience. What is most personal is most universal. 6. Experience of oneself as a soul and of others in human events can lead to call for celebration of divine realities, of the ultimacy of God, the celebration of ones faith. This is true for the secular man today who has to begin from where he is a sense of feeling at home in the world, a secular security for divine wonder and adventure, an experience of man for an eschatological hope for unity among men in God.

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References

Bach, R. (1973). Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Avon Books, The Hearst Corporation, New York. Buber, M. (1970). L and Thou.Charles Cribners Sons, New York. Hillman, J. (1967). In search: Psychology and Religions. Charles Scribners Sons, New York, Keen, S. (1969). Apology for Wonder, Harper and Row Publishers, Inc New York. Mcluhan, M. (1963). Medium is Message.New American Library, New York. Rugg, Harold, (___). Imagination , Harper and Row Publisher, Inc Sartre, Jean-Paul (1962) Imagination: Psychological Critique.The University of Michigan Press,. Time Magazine. ( April 23, 1973). Reaching Beyond The Rational.

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