Tuesday, September 6, 2016

"...an actual shock of experience..."

Came upon this quote today from a Facebook page devoted to the great Joseph Campbell.

Creative artists ... are mankind's wakeners to recollection: summoners of our outward mind to conscious contact with ourselves, not as participants in this or that morsel of history, but as spirit, in the consciousness of being. Their task, therefore, is to communicate directly from one inward world to another, in such a way that an actual shock of experience will have been rendered: not a mere statement for the information or persuasion of a brain, but an effective communication across the void of space and time from one center of consciousness to another.

Joseph Campbell, "The Masks of God, Volume IV: Creative Mythology" (Copyright © 1968 Joseph Campbell Foundation)
And I thought - what a great way to think about my vocation as a writer. To be a "wakener to recollection." To reach from one inward world to another, the linking of creative consciousness. Poets may do this best because poetry breaks with the rational mind that is so often our stumbling box.

The world is in such crisis, such anxiety, depression, grief, and fear. Because most institutional leaders, politicians, and other protectors of the status quo, or business as usual, avoid talking about the crisis at all, we are left to ourselves and to one another to try to read, to hear, to see accurately what this crisis is and what is bringing it about.

We have to find language for that, metaphors, stories that help illuminate this darkness of ignorance, some of it quite deliberate.

Precisely because our human predicament is so serious, so urgent, so overwhelming, I find myself asking more and more about how best I can approach that predicament with the words I write. But I am convinced that our artists and other creative culture workers are essential to the wakening, a primary vehicle for it. I try to write now with that consciousness, the hope that my work can be attuned to the human experience of the "Great Unraveling" as industrial civilization approaches collapse.

To write: "...in such a way that an actual shock of experience will have been rendered." More and more as we humans continue to speed toward an ecological precipice, I believe that we must render more actual shocks of experience - to help us all to SEE.

No comments:

Post a Comment