Merle Molofsky

Poet and psychoanalyst: read and resonate

Interactive Musings

Creativity

Posted on August 2, 2012 at 11:40 PM

CREATIVITY

08/02/2012

 

When people are creative, in the myriad creative endeavors human beings have discovered and undertaken, they are affirming Existence.  Creativity is an act of saying amen to the Created World, and to personal existence. To participate in a creative act is to say Yes – yes, the universe should have been created, and yes, I should have been engendered, and born, yes, I should have come into the world. 


Creativity is an identification with our progenitors, with the fact of having had parents.  And creativity is an identification with the Creative Force of the Universe.

 

Why do people experience creative blocks?  For a myriad reasons, perhaps as myriad as the myriad of people who experience creative blocks.  And perhaps, among these reasons, are reasons related to recognizing, consciously or unconsciously, that individual creativity affirms existence, affirms that both the created world and the individual should exist, and therefore, the experience of conflict related to the very fact of existence blocks creativity.

 

Identifying with the act of creating the entire world may feel overwhelmingly grandiose.  Can I allow myself the fantasy of both engendering and giving birth to an entire world?  Can I experience myself as a self-sufficient proto-father/mother, imagining and actualizing what has never existed before?  And, in so doing, have I stumbled into a forbidden oedipal fantasy, that I can be the primal engendering father, or the primal birthing mother, usurping the role of the Prime Mover, the First Cause, supplanting the envied oedipal rival?  Is the universe that I imagined in mystery-weaving, my paint marks upon paper, my unwinding melody, my mathematical proof, going to be perceived as an attempt to create a better universe than the Prime Mover First Cause could have done?

 

Identifying with the procreative act of parents may feel overwhelmingly voyeuristic, an evocation of primal scene fantasies of early childhood. If I affirm that I should have been conceived, am I invading the sacred space of secret parental activity? 

 

In imagining the creation of a world, am I destroying the Prime Mover, the First Cause?  Isaac Luria’s Kabbalistic thought, God created the world through contracting the Self and through Self-fragmentation.  Luria wondered how an infinite Being could create a finite world.  Tzimtzum, concealment – in order to create a cascading series of worlds, God contracted,became more and more concealed, creating an empty space, so that more and more finite existence could unfold.  God allowed Himself to shatter into essences, incarnations of the divine, thus creating the world.

 

God is not diminished nor destroyed by contracting, hiding, disappearing, shattering.  God Is.  In Kabbalah, God is Ein Sof, existing before Self-manifesting.  The Ein Sof exists before creation, thus the Ein Sof is purely alone. 

 

“I’ll sing you one, O.  Green grow the rushes O.  What is your one, O?  One is one and all alone, and ever more shall be so.  Green grow the rushes O.”  English folk song.

 

“Echad mi yodea” is a Hebrew song sung during the Passover Seder – “Who knows One?  I know One.  One is our God, in heaven and earth.”

 

These instances of counting songs are a tribute to the need to recognize and retain the notion of Oneness, a Oneness that also may be perceived as shattering during the creation of the world, and, since the world keeps changing, perhaps the shattering keeps occurring.

 

Is the individual act of creation an act that perpetuates the shattering of the One?  If I keep creating, am I part of an ongoing creative act that God demands of Himself, thus shattering Himself?

 

What are the consequences of my creative impulse?  Will I feel guilty?  Or will I fear retaliation?

 

The British psychoanalyst Melanie Klein described a terrifying experience of infancy.  She tells of an infant who encounters the world through pleasurable and unpleasurable experiences, drawing on Freud’s 1920 account of the pleasure principle, the inexorable human drive toward pleasure.  A primary source of infant pleasure is feeding.  Klein explains that the infant experiences the rich experience of a good feed as a “good breast”, and experiences the feeling of hunger, particularly when the need for food is not instantly gratified, as deprivation by a “bad breast”.  When the infant begins to feel extreme hunger, extreme deprivation, the infant feels enraged at the “bad breast”.  In the infant’s fantasy, the infant angrily bites the depriving breast into fragments.  Alas, poor infant.  The breast is bitten into fragments, but each fragment has a life of its own.  The essence of the breast is not destroyed, but comes back as angry biting-back breasts, vicious little “PacMan” pieces of breasts, which Klein calls “bizarre objects”.  The infant fears that the bizarre objects, in retaliation, will bite the infant to death.  Actually, the infant fears her/his own raging aggression.  The desire to bite the breast to death comes back to bite the infant.  Aggressive fantasies boomerang. 

 

To imagine God, who is One and One alone, shattering, may engage with the Kleinian infant fantasy, and the creative energy of God may be experienced as a manifestation of bizarre objects.  If I identify with God, and allow myself to create as God creates, is my act of creation an act of aggression against God, and is God’s creativity an act of aggression against me? 

 

The perceived perils of the creative impulse thus lead to creative impasses, creative blocks.

 

How do we overcome these inhibitions of creativity?  Obviously we do.  Does identification with the acts of Divine Creativity and parental procreativity prevail over fantasies of crime and punishment?  Freud said that libido must prevail over aggression.  Community must prevail over aggression.  Does love conquer all?

 

Keep on truckin’.

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