The Source of True Originality
In a culture of materialism, originality has come to mean ‘breaking the rules’. The frontier is a ‘cutting edge’ found in a pursuit of limits and extremities. It doesn’t take long for this to become a contest of shock value as it has in the world of modern art.
But originality is not merely being different or doing what’s never been done before. Rather, it is an authentic creation that originates in the unique pattern of the individual soul. The root of ‘Originality’ is ‘from the Origin’. Originality is that which springs directly from the Source. Originality is not just ‘being different’, it is being true to the core of one’s self.
‘Originality is not just ‘being different’, it is being true to the core of one’s self.’
The ultimate ‘Origin’ is the font of Being within each individual. This inner world of the soul is an enormous territory. There are multi-dimensional realms within us; ‘many mansions’ of perception and capacity. Within the human heart is the empyrean of eternity. Delving to the origin within, the artist touches the fountainhead of existence; “God, whose center is everywhere, circumference nowhere.”
A culture off center
Instead, our culture has become increasingly dedicated to an endless edge; a ‘Center nowhere, circumference everywhere’. Careening on the periphery of a mercurial culture, the arts have lost their compass. When art and creativity are indentured to materialism, they lose the vitality of truth, beauty and goodness. They decorate and amuse, they hedge value in stock portfolio’s, but they have lost the vitality that transforms culture and consciousness. They become a frivolous play that cannot nourish the soul.
Alternatively, they can provoke, confront, call into question and reveal the stark shadows of our wayward world. This social critique function of art has an important place. But when the flatland of materialism is the only territory allowed, the artist can only lead us deeper into the valley of the shadow- and not onward to the realms of hope and possibility.
Cosmology is flattened to commodity
We’ve collapsed the immense dimensions of cosmology to the thin surface of commodity. This is poignantly true in nearly every arena of human endeavor, and it is visibly apparent in the arts. “Western culture regards art as a commodity to be sold in exchange for money, prestige, power.” (Suzie Gablik) We desperately need the catalyzing vitality of Art and yet we have collapsed its manifold potential to a flattened veneer. The enormous potential of the Arts to shift and elevate consciousness is stunted at the very moment when it is most needed. In the tension between the exponential expanse of our worldview and the cascading breakdowns of a global crisis, there is a clarion call for a new way of being. We need a depth and breadth of vision to match the magnitude of the urgency and the enormity of the world now emerging.
In watershed times we need our prophets and visionaries, artists and troubadours, seers and mystics.
In times such as these we need our prophets, our visionaries, our artists and troubadours, seers and mystics. We need precisely what the arts have to give; the capacity for profound insight, generative creative possibility, expanded vision, epiphany and revelation. Versed in the language of what is yet to be, the Arts penetrate the future and tap the wellsprings of hope and vision that nourish the fount of culture. Uplifted, they rouse the powers of the slumbering soul, awakening us to the vastness of who we really are. In this watershed time we need the visionary power of an Art who finds her source in infinitude. When we link our human creativity to the Divine source we tap the inexhaustible font of all existence, and in this alone do we have the power to help the world at this critical juncture.
The role of the artist living in watershed times must be to awaken. The Arts are a precious vehicle for breaking the spell of the mundane. Throughout the ages they have propelled the human mind to territories below, above and beyond the confines of ordinary reality. Art has the power to penetrate to the core levels of our Being, reaching below the surface of the conscious mind to the primeval substrates of the subconscious and stretching past ordinary awareness to access the highest levels of super-consciousness.
Art moves in territories outside of words and the boundaries of what we already know. Graced among our many human endeavors, the arts have a unique capacity to transport us past the confines of matter, time and space. In this timeless realm we perceive beyond the paradigm of our predicaments. Intuitive revelations, discoveries and inventions, ‘super-conscious’ solutions and inspired visions stream from this potent font of Being beneath the surface of Becoming.
“Creativity is the juncture of the human and Divine, where the powers that created the universe flow through the vessel of the Soul.” ~ Mathew Fox
Art that draws from his high source nourishes the heart and inspires the soul in it upward ascent. Sri Aurobindo described the ‘supreme creative stimulus’ that occurs in a renaissances of culture as ‘a pouring of a new and greater self-vision of man and Nature and existence’ into receptive minds and hearts. It is the resurgence of Spirit that revitalizes the human psyche, and seeds the collective psyche made visible in culture.
‘Mystic seer, shaman and scientist meet at this confluence; the wellspring is within.’
In its origin, and in aboriginal cultures to this day, art is a living reality, a way to tap cosmic forces and to commune with the living presence of the cosmos. Through the creative process we commune with the realms of Spirit and access its potency to infuse human life with meaning and purpose. Mystic seer, shaman and scientist meet at this confluence; the wellspring is within. When artwork springs from that deep font, it draws from the same creative potency that exploded the stars into being. Connected with the highest Source within it transmits unswervingly both Truth and Beauty. Art that touches this origin reverberates in our soul. We cannot be jaded in its presence.
Suzie Gablik Has Modernism Failed? (Thames & Hudson)
Mathew Fox Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet (Jeremy P. Tarcher, Putnam)
Sri Aurobindo The Future Poetry (Sri Aurobindo Publications)
Dana Lynne Andersen has taught and exhibited on three continents. Her paintings have been featured on the covers of books, magazines and calendars and her artwork, as well as her visionary thinking, have been featured in newspapers, radio and television. She is the founder of Awakening Arts Academy. See her work at DanaLynneAndersen.com
Contact: info @ awakening arts academy .com