Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Creativity and Holiness

Tillich has a wonderful definition of the holy. Something is holy only by negating itself in pointing to the divine of which it is the medium.

In other words, when something or someone is holy, it (he/she) becomes transparent for a deeper reality, it opens up and shows the presence of God. To be holy is to point towards God by being what one really is.

In my last post I explored the connection between Creation and Revelation, to concepts that seem to be very closely related. If to create is to reveal, than to be creative is to be holy.

The opposite of holiness, for Tillich, is the demonic. A holy object becomes demonic when it stops pointing towards something beyond itself and instead points to itself. This too is applieable to human creativity. When we use our creativity to point towards ourselves, to lift ourselves up, our creative act is not holy but demonic. This is what happens in our culture all the time. Music and art, when it is good, opens up reality and gives us a deeper understanding of it. But when it becomes commercialised and turned into entertainment it instead covers up the depths of reality and presents the superficial as the real content. And what is worse, it teaches us to mistake the experience of the superficial for a real experience of reality. This is why entertainment can be so dangerous - at least in the amount we are consuming it today - it numbs the natural tendency in us to look for meaning, and makes us satisfied with what is merely entertaining. Instead of living we are, as Thom Yorke sings, just passing time. Demonic indeed.

But the beauty with creative living is that it too is contagious. When we meet someone who lives creatively in some way, we are inspired to be creative in our own way. When we meet someone who is transparent for the deeper reality, for example by genuinly engaging in performing a song, it gives me the listener, a longing to express the same reality in a way that corresponds to my personality, by living in a creative manner.

1 comment:

Adolph said...

This can't really have effect, I think like this.
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