Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"Real" Reality

Why do I write? Why do I bother writing something here every day? Why am I still struggling on with my fourth novel. I write because I can’t paint and I can’t make music. In other words, for some reason, I need a creative outlet. Words are the notes. Words provide the palette. But to what end? What is the point of creativity?

It seems clear to me that creativity is closely related to spirituality; that, indeed, it may be the essence of spirituality. It is a way of responding to the world around us. However, this is not only reactive: it is also very active. Creativity is not simply about reflecting reality, but shaping it. Art brings something into the world that was not present before. It is creatio ex nihilo. Clearly we draw upon existing materials to form our creations. But what we create is not simply a rearrangement of things. There really is more there afterwards than there was before. In this sense it is ex nihilo. I can measure an increase or decrease in mass and energy. I can even find ways to measure an increase or decrease in order. But can I measure an increase in beauty, meaning, humour or value (I am not talking about monetary value)? I used the term “more” to describe the change in the world when a work of art is produced, but this is really a hangover from our materialistic way of thinking, in which everything is measurable and quantifiable. What art brings into the world is not really measurable in this way: it is more than just “more”; which, I suppose, is a way of speaking of transcendence.

All of this is a convoluted way of saying that I write in order to take myself and the reader beyond reality; or more deeply into reality. These are merely spatial metaphors for the process and the experience. Writing is far from being the only way to achieve this, and possibly not the best. Nor do I claim to be particularly good at it. Nor does this imply that reality is something to be avoided, or replaced by something better or more real. What art does reveal is that reality is more real than it first appears to be.  


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1 comment:

  1. What an empty boring world we would live in if there were no writers. No entertaining books, newspapers, magazines or scripts. No news stories, political speeches or manuals on how to work the new TV or dish-washer etc etc. The list is endless. All of it helps create the reality in which we live. Your blog is as artistic as any sculpture but formed from words instead of marble.