Blue Lives Matter

One hundred fourteen and counting.

Somewhere between the cries for justice one will post #bluelivesmatter and a chorus will chant.

Knowingly, #bluelivesmatter is worse than Santa or The Bunny.

At least after exposing those lies hurt feelings are the only fatality.

Don’t say #bluelivesmatter when people of color are getting moved down in this country.

Don’t say #bluelivesmatter when the poster child is a man whiter than alabaster with a gleaming badge and disarming smile.

Don’t say #bluelivesmatter when a cop-veteran of over twenty years has the same chance of getting gunned down because of his skin.

That is my reality.

Since we’re only been saying #bluelivesmatter when one is accusing of gunning down a person of color

One hundred fourteen times and counting.

From the rural areas to the florescent lights not one place is safe

Cause our color is like a bull’s eye to a trigger happy child.

Even a cop of color isn’t safe and blanketed from the #bluelivesmatter or systematic racism

They are actually in more danger than others.

The trigger happy ones are their partners who must have their back as they go about their sworn duty

Those same ones could pull off that badge and put on a bullet

And some will just chant #bluelivesmatter while he gets a slap on the wrist.

So actually, your hashtag is just a silly cover protecting those who should not be equipped with that much responsibility.

Like #alllivesmatter only some of the force will be covered

While the rest will always walk with the bull’s eye on their chests.

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Raven

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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Solid wings, black as ink.

Strong enough to carry her anywhere she wishes.

Such a sweet person I am, they say.

I, so sweet, carry these black raven wings on my back.

So easily able to fly away, if not for the cage.

The metal wire cage.

Bent but not broken.

Not yet.

I look at the wire, to find a way to escape.

Breaking it down, bit by bit.

With solid wings, black as ink.

The Creator’s Issue

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Dealing with your existence is a hard pill to swallow. Deciding what to do with your life and yourself challenges what you believe you are in the quest for existential understanding. For Simone de Beauvoir the creator wants to overcome their existence by making it an absolute.[1] The process of making a work of art or literature one’s existence is justified by the process of creation. Creating allows for one to transform, and to a point, make your own world and what lives within it. For anyone that creates a painting, sculpture, or a novel it is easy to ‘get lost’ in your own creation and forget about the concrete world. For many, the act of creating can count as a transcendent action: you forget about your reality as you work diligently on placing your ideas into the real world. The danger for the creator is when he (or she) justifies the world based on himself. By thinking that a creation is an absolute object, then the jump can be made to think that the creator himself is also an absolute. By this method nobody needs to justify the creator as justification is found within himself. Yet by idolizing one’s work the creator shuts himself off from the world he loses himself and goes into the world of Simone’s serious man.

        The idea of losing yourself into one’s work seems like a frightening idea yet is it really so dangerous as she describes it to be? As I write my poetry, fiction, or paint canvases reality can drift from immediate to something abstract and almost unrealistic. Losing oneself into their work brings a heightened sense of productivity and a ‘bending’ of the world. In the work the creator is the ruler of his world. Any restraints that the creator puts onto himself can be easily lifted and even destroyed. The world of the creator bends to his will…for as long as he stays there. The physical needs of one’s body will pull the creator away from their self-made reality and back into the concrete world. Neglecting the needs of the body will put the creator into distress and pain because needs like hunger are not being addressed. By making a world of his own the creator can fulfill himself in this world. This is set up as a problem of denying his existence by finding his existence in his work.

        Obviously this is a problem if one loses himself into his work. There are physical and mental problems with doing this. One cannot run from their own existence in the world yet by making other worlds one can find himself, in my opinion. I can easily lose myself working on an art project or poem yet this is part of my existence as well. The method of creating is part of my existence as my own identity or profession. By losing myself in my work I transcend the ordinary part of myself where I wake up everyday and get ready for the day ahead. I can stay in my comfortable nightwear, pick up a brush, and create a scene of peace or destruction from my own imagination. I can go paint plein air, where I interact with the outside world while losing parts of my being into my work. By losing parts of myself in my work I can create something beautiful, which enriches my own existence in the long run. The radical side of losing myself in my work is neglecting the reality that I must come back to. There is danger in continuously neglecting the concrete world for something of my own creation.

This would be the conundrum for the creators, to transcend the everyday world without losing yourself in the work. The impulse to create is something that can’t be helped. For those that feel this impulse the pull can be negated throughout the years yet it is only so far one can run from this drive. Completely losing yourself in your work, however, means that you are not existing in the concrete world. This means that you are not utilizing your being and are just running from the problem of existing in the first place.

[1]Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity (Citadel Press, 2013), 69.  

Art, Society, and the Artist

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Art is more than just a pretty painting on a canvas or some new tune chopped up and used to sell really crappy beer that has no real depth of flavor or quality. This simple three letter word is more than just cheap, mass printed flyers that you buy at the local Wal-mart to decorate your empty walls. Art is way more than poorly written trash novels that we read in our beds at night, wondering how did someone make so many spelling and grammatical errors and still have a product to sell. Our quick American society treasures standardized tests scores over having one art class to offer to the students–by cutting these programs where creativity and expression reign the message that art can be taken away without any ‘real time’ repercussions since its now the era of math, science, and tedious testing. The Renaissance is long gone and with it the era of patrons and great artists rising to the pinnacle of human craftsmanship has been replaced with the industrial/technological movement of the times.

This society is lacking a true understanding of what art really is here for and why art came along in the first place. This simple three letter word has morphed from capturing human experience to a high-end society where only a select few can make it and those select few are stereotyped with snobbish personalities and illogical lives. What does art do? Why does something like art exist in the first place? How are these artists living in this society? Let’s take these deep questions to those who have made a living questioning everything and writing about anything: the philosophers. For the purpose of these paper, these sources will be used.[1]

Kant divides art into two categories, agreeable art and fine art, and separates the arts based on utility[2]. The agreeable arts exist for merely enjoyment and nothing more. Entertaining stories, jokes, and other charms are classified as agreeable arts because the point of these arts are to enjoy the moment. There is nothing wrong with these arts, as everything has a season. These are not the arts I wish to examine. People are not going to question art for the purpose of entertainment since this provides a release from the mundane with something quick and effective. This is different from the fine arts because the fine arts shares its purpose in making you think. Fine art has a purpose beyond the literal paint and this purpose extends to our own culture through means of social communication. Unlike the agreeable arts for Kant, the fine arts require foundational information (such as historical context) for one to fully grasp their meaning. As someone who has taken a number of art history classes (and happens to have an art minor), I agree with Kant’s breakdown of the fine arts. To grasp an understanding of any fine art, from a painting to ceramics having that foundation of background knowledge enriches the artwork rather than takes away.

Creating art requires an impressive amount of cognitive thought and skill. As an artist I strive to reach within and around myself to reflect the problems, status, or just ponderings from someone of our time. The model of the poverty-stricken artist is a relatively new stereotype designed to keep those creative kids at bay from becoming artists by threatening their future lives.  Those who make the art, these artists, breathe and thrive in the world he/she happened to be born. Those who are extremely gifted are often hailed as prodigies in their form, be it painting or composing, giving birth to the other stereotype of the gifted artist. The gifted artist has great ability and natural talent yet is tormented by some glaring human flaw, be it mental, addiction, or any other condition that separates them from society. Adorno does not distinguish the two archetypes but rather writes that society view artists who give an uncensored view on life as neurotics[3].

Neurosis is defined as both a mental and emotional disorder, affecting only part of the personality with a distorted perception of reality and a variety of other anxieties and/or phobias. Neurosis goes well with both of my archetypes for the artist. The poor artist is tolerated by others yet cannot achieve any lasting measure of financial success while the gifted artist has the skill and talented to make plenty of money yet is haunted by a critical mental or emotional flaw. Both of the artists are detached from the ‘real world’ of specialized labor by their neurosis, letting the citizens tolerate or pity the artist rather than critically thinking about the flaws within the society. The detached archetypes of the artist could not be farther from the mark. Being an artist means you are both connected and estranged from reality[4].

The degree of this dualism will vary individually yet there is nothing like being your average citizen and going into an creative driven, coffee fueled state the next. This state feels particularly wild as I travel somewhere with a case of paints, brushes, & paper and just do instead of overthinking. In this state I am cut from society in terms of normalcy and thought process–an unbridled form of tunnel vision sets in where this constant impulse must be satisfied before rational thought returns. I am attached to my society by terms of life yet I constantly detach to engage within the process. Artistic production encompases creativity and imagination. These, however, are not the only forces at play when an artist goes to create. In Adorno’s view, other unseen forces work as material and are translated into the physical realm in the product of the art by form[5]. Without the unseen forces the work would just be a copy of a former piece of art. I will surmise that without form the forces could not be tangible to the outside citizens as there would not be an artwork in the physical realm. As a creator an artist must use both to achieve the goal of the work.

 The other side of this is making art just for the sake of selling to the public. Money is an important element of a monetary society yet the problem is not with selling works. The problem is making art purely for the exhibition value, which Adorno equates this to socialist realism accommodates the status quo. In another word, art that is purely for sale devotes itself to the level of propaganda[6]. It is known that propaganda is made exclusively with a message that is going to be pushed on the public.

Art comes from society and into society has a reflection and helping hand for us to utilize. Our society today is set in a dilemma that seems straightforward on the surface yet deserves more than the surface answers: what is the value of art in today’s world? Adorno, during his stay in America, pointed out the ‘culture industry’ that dismayed him. The culture industry is the other things that surround art, namely the people and how we interact within this construct of society. The problem with the culture industry is when you are immersed within it, one can point out the ways that art may not apply to the present life yet cannot pick out the flaws of their own society[7]. It is easy to criticise something that you cannot envision in your own busy 9-5 world and easier to assume that in this industrial age we have risen above the need for it. The saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it” applies to art within our society. If people interact with art based solely on possessing the item without a thought of the content within them this tendency will reflect itself when you view it. If someone is truly immersed in reality television, cell phone technology, and social media what would they have to say about the Starry Night? Would one get a similar response to Teen Mom?

 As our policymakers evaluate America art programs, from national grants to the public school, are being cut across the country. Why should we fund the arts when technology and the sciences are driving the age of modernization? This ties in directly with the culture industry and what we prize as Americans. Islamic poet and physician Avicenna proposed the view that producing and appreciating art contributes to good citizenship and a better society[8]. To be an enlightened citizen one would combine theoretical wisdom with inspiration, and be able to communicate this inspiration to others.

This notion is not very different than the one of today of ideally being informed about your rights and how to vote for people that are in your interests yet the type of education is different. For Avicenna, philosophy and art both have roles in the intellect. Philosophy corrects misunderstandings from outside study while art refines what you study by directing your study inward. Taking this view into the modern world philosophy helps you decipher outside information while art gives you a clue on what you should study by doing self evaluation. Framed in this way philosophy and art should be provided, at the least, to incoming and confused college students trying to figure out what to do in the next four years. Self-evaluation is something that is not stressed enough, difficult to even attempt, yet will make your life much easier after looking within yourself. Participating and looking at art is a great way to find out what you like and what you don’t like. Making art shouldn’t constrain you within boundaries of form, composition, etc. in your first try! Make it simple and allow yourself to play and explore which medium you have, whether it be pencil, chalk, clay, or even paint. Part of getting in touch with yourself is to actually know the feeling of play and exploration, especially in our society where play is associated with ‘childishness’ and ‘immaturity’. Looking at art can be an exercise in admiring form in one work to observing what you see in another. Each work of art is different and many different components come into play when you observe and appreciating art, which is a way to learn to explore your subconscious self.

At times making and appreciating art can bring out some illogical feelings out of even the most logical of us. Not all works of art are going to make you feel good about life or the human experience. Even Adorno acknowledges that art exposes the difference in what is part of human nature and the lives that people build, and this difference can violently clash[9]. American society is full of paradoxes. We advertise sex on many television shows yet tell children stories about storks and birds & bees. We label this country as the land of opportunity yet will not be brave enough to admit that there are systematic and subconscious prejudices that will keep the darker skinned population at the bottom of the barrel. Companies claim that creativity and critical thinking are prized skills yet will not help fund any programs that promote these same skills. Our society is full of paradoxes that repress the freedoms of many a little at a time yet people dare not complain because other countries have it worse and who wants to be seen as anti-American? Worst of all, repressing these emotions can lead to disasters and many physical and mental problems. For some art is a mode of expression and life—it gives the troubled child something to look forward to other than grief and strife. It give the adult a way to make a positive mark on this world. Art gives those who are broken and healing a way to be thankful for another day. This is a form of communication and the song, poem, picture, or dance you create out of emotion and energy has the potential to connect with another person who is going through a similar problem without ever asking for your help. From depression to war to personal destruction art allows us to unbottle the hurtful side of human nature so it will not fester. What is better for society than all-around healthy adults that can feel and communicate with peace of mind? The value is not monetary but rather it is intrinsic to human nature.

This section is for those who are wealthy enough to afford the medium to high priced artworks that people love to buy. Not because of yet certainly affected by the cuts of programs artists that are making and circulating art may start to diminish in the future. This will raise the scarcity of works since less and less people are making them available for purchase by the public. The pinch will also be felt by the artists, since people will look for particular themes and buy less (due to prices, societal opinion, or just not being interested). Adorno especially criticized the overly hedonistic bourgeois life that art can fall as wanting art that pleases the eye instead of engaging the mind[10]. He would rather have art that forces the viewer to take a hard look at life instead of glossing over this world’s troubles for something artificial. The appeal of art brings others closer and closer yet by making art a commodity, such as we have in our new technological age, people will fear the loss of art because of this twisted relationship. Art becomes reduced to just property that can be collected, bought, and destroyed with the flick of the human fancy. Van Gogh’s Starry Night is a beautiful work of Impressionist art that has been plastered everywhere by museums, chain stores, and just about anyone else for the purpose pleasing the eye while advertising some service or product. The actual relationship with the work of art has been pressed and dried into just pleasure for soothing the sting of life and to promote another monetary agenda. The scarcity of masterpieces give a reason for museums and collectors to collect works from earlier times. The experience of going into a museum is quiet, serene, and certainly bourgeois. On the silent walls carefully preserved pieces hang, telling their ancient secrets to a modern audience. Some will pause to admire the craftsmanship, some will take turns contemplating their lives, and others will head straight to the gift shop. Most museums do charge a fee to admire these works with special events going throughout the year. This art is great for us to have on display, yet not everyone can take the privilege of seeing works in person.  

Art has many different forms that are, in my opinion, undervalued today. Adorno calls into question modern art, which would describe the artistic era of today. He dismisses the dignity of modern art, claiming it has to pose as something it is not.[11] Modern art is by far the least clear of the artistic eras, since there are so many techniques and tools available today that almost anything can be created. Original ideas can even trump original creation with the movement of the remixes. In this place where so much information is available to be consumed, anything is possible. I have to disagree with Adorno in that this era gains its dignity through its diverse use of styles and techniques. I do admit that making something amidst so many possibilities can be nerve wrecking yet this potential ability should be embraced to shape the world in which we live. We have the potential to clothe the world with art that challenges the status quo or art that just provides a sad relief to problems we are too afraid to solve.

This era allows many to claim the title ‘artist’ by way of various mediums. In the age of so much potential creation, the dignity of modern art is found. For Kim Grant, the modern artist’s identity has shifted from skilled maker to expressive hobbyist.[12] This shift in identity can be a potential problem, since making the distinction between an hobbyist ‘artist’ and a professional ‘artist’ starts to blur. The representation of the work in the modern artist becomes a way to express individuality in an age full of individuals.  Does this perhaps washes out the real identity of the artist, or does this age strengthen the pigment that are artists? Perhaps both are done at the same time, since the world can now be full of ‘artists’—this title can now apply to anyone at anytime. The duty of modern artists is to create from what life supplies, to use that creative power for an improved state of living.

The state of art today hangs on by an uncertain future and an enriching past. Especially in the age of cutting back art programs and where the prices of art schools are skyrocketing, I hope that art will live on the in the lives of the majority instead of being pushed away. The relationship of society and art, as well as artists, will ultimately decide what happens to art itself as human progress moves forward.

[1] Sources that will be used: Kant, Immanuel, and Werner S. Pluhar. Critique of Judgment. Indianapolis, Ind.: Hackett Pub., 1987. Print. Adorno, Theodor W., and Gretel Adorno. “On the Relation of Art and Society, Art and Philosophy.” Aesthetic Theory. London: Continuum, 2002. Print. Azadpur, Mohammad, and Anita Silvers. “Avicenna on Education in Philosophy and Art.” Arts Education Policy Review 107.2 (2005): 35-9. ProQuest. Web. 17 Nov. 2014. Wilks, J. F. (2006). A portrait of the person as an ancient artist. Evangelical Quarterly, 78(1), 51-64., Grant, Kim. “‘Paint And Be Happy’: The Modern Artist And The Amateur Painter-A Question Of Distinction.” Journal Of American Culture 34.3 (2011): 289-303.Academic Search Complete. Web. 8 Dec. 2014.

[2] Kant 172.

[3] Adorno 8.

[4] Adorno 9.

[5] Adorno 9.

[6] Adorno 45.

[7] Adorno 16.

[8] Azadpur, Mohammad. “Avicenna on Education in Philosophy and Art”.

[9] Adorno 16.

[10] Adorno 13.

[11] Adorno 39.

[12] Grant, Kim. “‘Paint And Be Happy”.

Damned

High School Poetry (before 2008). Enjoy!

Prices are sky high.

People are being killed everyday, on both sides.

The economy is traveling into a downward spiral…

The present United States of America.

A great country full of proud people…some with egos larger than life itself.

Prices are sky high.

People are being killed everyday, on both sides.

The economy is traveling into a downward spiral…

A war is being fought, but over what?

Is it over pride?

Is it over oil?

Is it retaliation?

A war is being fought, people dying everyday.

The endless blood…

The countless lives ruined…

The many families destroyed…

The people losing faith in humanity…

We are in a war…

The economy is in a recession…

Gas prices are unbearably high…

Money, the spread is just too thin…

All of this, but for what?

Creative or Destruction

An essay on the power of the erotic.

Eros: Creativity or Destruction?

The bow of Cupid inspires all throughout the land. Many mythological gods and mortals have fallen prey to the power of erotic love, this torrent of Eros. The Greeks were ever mindful that a person would do insane actions, unacceptable at any other time while possessed by Eros. Eros is such a powerful drive because it incorporates sexuality, creativity, and emotion—without ‘proper’ expression one can go into states of euphoria or despair. Since it involves a minimum of  two people, ideally Eros should be reciprocated between the parties. In a parallel universe this might happen all the time and everyone would be joyous and grand—but not in this world. This torrent of passion can express itself through various destructive forms. Eros is a dangerous force that should not be idealized or romanticised. Instead Eros should be treated as the powerful force capable of capturing many expressions of the human experience.

 There is the risk of losing one’s own identity while in the rapture of love. As Eros allows for two beings to come together there is the threat of being absorbed by the more dominant partner. Young lovers tend to have this absorption of identity happen while still exploring their own selves—especially teenage girls. This loss of your identity is problematic especially when the relationship ceases to exist. The feeling of loss can easily cause an identity crisis when the lines of yourself seem to no longer exist. Yet when there is death, there is also rebirth. As destructive as Eros can be, this passionate drive can be utilized in positive, self-fulfilling ways to better oneself as a whole. By examining the process of creativity through erotic love I intend to prove that Eros can be good for both the individual and society.

Eros is an expression of energy and application of activity. The emotions of two lovers and the pieces of life they choose to share all are expressions of energy and actions. This expression becomes as personal for people as their favorite food or colors. Taking Audre Lorde into account, passion is the personification of love and these aspects: creative power and harmony.[1] Eros encompasses creativity power, as an act of love is an act of creativity. Tapping into the power of the erotic is nothing new throughout history…so why does it seem ‘inappropriate’ for grown women to openly discuss this power? Instead of expressing this power there is this belief that by suppressing the erotic women can be truly strong;  for Lorde this ‘strength’ is just an illusion within the male model of power.  

Writing a short story is a creative endeavor: setting up the characters, plot, and setting comes from your mental space. As much as creativity is tied to Eros, it is also tied to general life in many ways. Desire drives people to particular jobs, actions, and lifestyles if one truly loves what they are doing. Creativity gives birth to resourcefulness and ingenuity which are traits used to pursue one’s desires. The combination of creativity and desire are aspects of Eros that deviate from pure sexuality and bleed into other components of our lives. Suppressing this power, for women, becomes the way that patriarchal society controls and dominates. By not being allowed to tap into what you love and desire women are conforming to what society dictates that they should behave and desire. This suppression of the true self into the socially appropriate self also suppresses the passion that one taps into from doing what they truly love—and through unleashing the erotic drive one can reconnect to their true passions.

        When erotic love is discussed, children eventually comes around. Plato discusses giving  birth through beauty, a goal that love seeks to fulfill.[2] Through seeing beauty one becomes pregnant and reproduces. Being pregnant in body gives the ability to produce children while being pregnant in soul gives birth to great poetry and art. It is this reproduction that allows mortal beings to achieve immortality, through one way or another. People value their offspring because the children will replace the adults. Like an obsession parents will project themselves onto their offspring, thus letting the parent ‘live’ longer. This pursuit of immortality can be irrational and even dangerous when taken to the extremes.  If one is always pursuing immortality then enjoying the moment can easily be forgotten.

 I don’t agree that Eros is the pursuit of the beautiful yet reproduction is an important theme of human existence. Reproduction, the act of ‘making’, comes in various ways. Producing children makes one a parent. Creating a play makes one a playwright. Creating a dish–a chef. Making a tool/item—an inventor. The act of reproduction is tied with creativity and allows human beings to be ‘creative’. When inspiration, or the urge, hits a physical creation usually follows. The value one places on their offspring wouldn’t solely come from this pursuit of immortality. How can you assign a value to a child? Works of art have been preserved through centuries while other forms of art should be in the moment, only to exist for a moment in time. Those who chase immortality often forget to live in the present. I reason that a component of beauty is that it doesn’t last forever. Why should one be concerned with immortality when you are doing what you are passionate about? Should it matter if your child (or creation) last for eternity?

The two versions of eros that Lorde and Plato present have one strong similarity that connects them together. Both versions of Eros are very individual centered. Lorde uses eros as a way of personal empowerment and Plato’s Socrates sees eros as a way to a greater end. Plato seems to know his individualistic stance on Eros and presents Aristophanes as a remedy.[3] His version of Eros presents the idea of a second half that people were originally joined with. Humans, in this combined form, were disobedient to the gods and too helpful to be completely wiped out. To remedy the problem, Zeus decided to split people into half, thus diminishing the power of the human race. As such, Eros is used as a quest to find your other half again. Aristophanes story includes two individuals yet the goal would be a return to the two headed form humans were originally supposed to have. This ‘fusion’ of two bodies into one is not the goal of Eros that I describe as effective. What happens to the two individuals when the fusion is complete?  A bonding of these perspectives are in order, since each one is not truly wrong. My analysis of Eros is centered in the individual but then spreads outward into the collective group. Society is the structure of many individuals coming together in a place of existence, such as a country. Similar to Eros, creativity is best realized by the individual then utilized in the society.

The Boxing of Eros

Unfortunately Eros and its components are having a ‘crisis’ in our modern American society. By limiting Eros and constricting passion and creativity society has trapped itself into a bind. Thanks to the media, desire and sexuality are saturating the waves and the net. Sexuality is used to sell everything from movies to badly made beer. The attention grabbing power of sexuality is used to sell material goods because of its power to grab the attention and desire of the intended audience. This is great for businesses and marketers yet this helps to limit the concept of Eros into just sexuality and keeps erotic love contained. Lorde warns about the horror of a system that defines what is good based on profit rather than human need. The horror of such a system is that it robs the erotic from work.  Keeping desire contained just in sexuality makes it easy to devalue desire’s importance in life. By restricting desire’s movement it is easier to lose your passion for what you do everyday. Instead of being fulfilling work becomes a duty needed to earn bread or just to keep busy.[4] I agree in that regulating desire to just sex there a lack as desire does not live in just sexuality. Better education is the desire of a teacher. If you take this desire away from your educators you take away a big motivation for that teacher in their field. Taking the desire of wisdom away from the philosopher makes the late nights of research much less worth the effort. Limiting desire cripples one’s involvement with the things they love in life.

Creativity is having its own struggle within our world. When giving out the label ‘creative person’ one thinks of the emotional artist struggling to craft a masterpiece to stun the world. Even today there is an assumption that creativity is something one is purely born with and can never learn. Either one has ‘it’ or one doesn’t have ‘it’. Divorced from everyday life, creativity has been pushed to the realms of art and literature. By placing creativity into particular sections of life the overall power of creativity is diminished for everyone. ‘Normal’ people, by definition, are not creative and new ideas of thought are diminished by oneself.

Marc Runco explains creativity as useful ideas and is a central part of life.[5] The more our world changes the more society needs to break creativity from its shallow box and allow citizens to be flexible and innovative. This is especially important for technological advancements as logic needs creativity just as theory needs practicality to be fully successful in the material world. As a whole there are steps we can take to loosen the constraints on creativity and allow for positive growth. To start, creativity needs time. Rushing someone to have a new idea usually doesn’t help the creative process. Time is needed just to think about arranging inner thoughts, concepts, and skills from the mental space into the material space. With our faster paced world people are trying to find time to eat, sleep, work, and have something of a social life. Finding time to think becomes a tedious chore that our time-based schedules do not want to allow.

Flexibility is another helper to promoting creativity and is important in erotic love also. Being in a rut is predictable and safe, as you know what is going to happen at what time. The easiest example is work. You check in, go to your space, perform some monotonous action, lunch, meeting, and more monotonous action until you get off. Consistency is needed in life, but being monotonous cuts off any original thought you may want to have. To be flexible is to adapt to last minute changes that disrupt predictability in life. Without flexibility dealing with other can be a struggle. Without flexibility Eros is an impossible struggle. How can one be creative without having the ability to be flexible?

In reference to American society, competition is an environment that most people in society will deal with. It is often noted that when businesses have to compete with each other, the customer wins with lower prices and better goods in theory. Within our individualistic society one is more likely to experience competition than collaboration. While the ‘thrill of battle’ can force one to step up their game, Bill Breen states that too much competition can easily squash the sparks of creativity.[6] Collaboration is helpful because everyone can share ideas and debate on methods to achieve a goal. The more competitive the environment, the less likely people will collaborate with one another and create new ideas and connections. Competition shouldn’t be disregarded completely yet collaboration should be encouraged in such an individualistic society rather than an afterthought.

Mania: Creativity Gone Wild

While I have given some thoughts into why creativity is important in reference to Eros and one’s life, levels of creativity do vary depending on your environment. Being such a powerful drive creativity can greatly enhance one’s’ life experience. Yet as with Eros, there is another side to creativity that is just as dangerous as Eros gone wrong. As a component of Eros, creativity taken too far can easily turn into madness. The stereotype of the emotional artist is a great example, and perhaps reminder, of creativity carried out too far. Many great artists of history have all made fantastic creations at the cost of their personal life. The paintings of Caravaggio had a great impact at the time of the Renaissance yet his violent (and killing) tendencies wouldn’t be tolerated in today’s time. Van Gogh had a tendency to eat paint, which at the time contained many substances such as lead. Andy Warhol ended up wearing a specially designed corset for the rest of his life after his brush with death. The life of the ‘great artist’ is not a boring or peaceful one. As individuals we all live in a society that has explicit and unspoken rules that regulate how ones interacts with another.

Creativity has its own social stigma that must also be addressed if creativity is to be freed from social constraints. An interesting notion is the link between creativity and madness. Given how creativity and Eros can make a person act, this connection is easy to make. Being creative may lead you to exhibiting unusual behavior that may be strange. Maureen Neihart have linked creativity and madness together by three patterns: disturbance of mood, types of thought processes, and tolerance for irrationality.[7] Mood has a huge impact on how one feels and views the world at any given time. Types of thought processes reference mania in this case. During a manic state thoughts race and goal-centered activity increases. This can lead to increased productivity if utilized in a safe, productive manner. Why is mania such a bad trait to have anyway? Was it not Socrates that praised the madness from the Muses, the creative spirits in Greek mythology?[8] The frenzy that possesses a soul lifts the creations of the possesed to higher levels of achievement. The example given is of poets being inspired by the Muses’ madness and their ‘crazy’ verses that will easily overshadow the self-controlled prose of other men. Without the mania that creativity can lead to what would have been of American culture? Where would American art, literature, or cinema be without the inspiration the creators experienced? The mania that stems from creativity can be the biggest help when pressured to mould ideas and create concrete solutions to everyday situations.

 Having a high tolerance for irrationality or deviance is an interesting trait to have. Many visual artists and writers seem to have irrational peaks in their lives, yet as a human being can someone always be rational? This high tolerance suggests to me that these artists can take the blows of life in a different way than others.

Conclusion

Creativity is one of the drives of Eros. Just like Eros, creativity can be beneficial or destructive depending on how it is utilized. Despite, or maybe because of, the potential  for destruction creativity should be readily expressed instead of repressed. The creative drive is something that helps to bring meaning in existence. Letting society confine creativity limits your freedom as an individual and what you can contribute as a whole. Limiting the contributions individuals make to themselves allows for conformity and a ‘general’ standard for your people to follow but at the price of slowing innovation, stifling creativity, and rejecting a life-affirming force for your citizens.                                                                                                

[1] Audre Lorde, Uses of the Erotic: the erotic as power (Summer 1999).

[2] Plato, The Symposium (Hackett Publishing Company, Inc: 2006). 206d.

[3] Plato, 190a.

[4] Lorde, Uses of the Erotic: the erotic as power.

[5] Marc A. Runco, “Creativity” (Annual Review of Psychology: 2004).

[6] Bill Breen “The 6 Myths of Creativity” (Fast Company 89: Dec 2004).

[7] Maureen Neihart, “Creativity, the arts, and madness” (Roeper Review 21.1).

[8] Plato 245a.