The Climate Strike and Creativity’s Dynamic Relationship to the Via Transformativa

Yesterday we considered Otto Rank’s teaching about the importance of solitude for creativity, for giving birth.  Without it we don’t get in touch with our own depths and we fall into neurosis and a forgetfulness of who we are and how to share our gifts with the world.  Rank was keen on understanding the artistic process and he himself felt that his life depended on “giving birth every day.”  He wrote those words as a teen-ager after attempting suicide and surviving (he had been abused by a relative). 

“Global Climate Strike 9/20/19: Wake Up.” Photo by Daniel Arauz, Flickr

He took the teaching from Deuteronomy: “I put before you life and death: Choose life” and applied it this way: To choose life, he came to realize, was “to give birth every day.”  Many of Rank’s clients were artists including Anaïs Nin and Henry Moore and more.  It was his book, Art and Artist, that so captured the mind of Ernest Becker who built his Pulitzer-prize winning book Denial of Death on basic ideas from Rank’s understanding of creativity and our fear of death.

Out of the via negativa, which includes both our encounter with nothingness and our practice of solitude, is born creativity.  And with it action for social transformation.  An intimate connection exists between developing moral imagination and doing effective prophetic action.

The Avis family at the Calgary, Alberta climate strike. Photo by Andrew Jeffrey, The Star, Calgary.

Last week’s Climate Strike ,which we are told drew 4.5 million persons around the world, was led by Greta Thurnberg and children exiting schools to march.  Many of them came with very creative signage, much of it paradoxical and humorous, that spoke from heart to hearts. This day of protest and of imagination bears witness to the truth of how the Via Creativa feeds the Via Transformativa.

I highly recommend this link to see some of these signs for yourself.  They come from marches all over the planet, from Poland to Australia. from Malaysia to the United States, from Europe to Africa:

A few of the creative signs follow:

“Climate Strike” Photo by Roy, Flickr

Act as if your house is on fire…because it is.

If you were smart, I’d be in school.

System change not Climate Change!

You know it’s time to change when leaders act like children and children act like leaders

The Earth is getting hotter than my imaginary boyfriend

There is no Planet B

You cannot eat money

Don’t be a Fossil Fool!

You’ll die of old age, I’ll die of climate change

It is moving and very real to see young people rising up to instruct adults about values that matter.

Banner Image: “Climate Strike 20 Sept 19 Melbourne” Photo by Julian Meehan, Flickr

For Deeper Contemplation

Take a line from this essay—such as one of the climate change signs—and dwell on it.  Chant it as a mantra if you wish.  Where does it take you?

Create your own sign, employ a short and simple message.

Recommended Reading

Authors Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox encourage us to use our talents in service of compassion and justice and to move beyond our broken systems–economic, political, educational, and religious–discovering a spirituality that not only helps us to get along, but also encourages us to reevaluate our traditions, transforming them and in the process building a more sacred and just world. Incorporating the words of young activist leaders culled from interviews and surveys, the book provides a framework that is deliberately interfaith and speaks to our profound yearning for a life with spiritual purpose and for a better world.

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.

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6 thoughts on “The Climate Strike and Creativity’s Dynamic Relationship to the Via Transformativa”

  1. Avatar

    If churches and Christians understood that the body of Christ is also Mother Earth we would be walking a path of Good News. It’s always darkest before the dawn. I’m so grateful for these daily meditations!

    1. Avatar

      Thank you for naming an Earth-based mysticism. Much of institutional religion is an Earth escapist cosmology and mysticism. Just as DaVinci and Renaissance thinkers transformed the pre-modern paradigm to the scientific/materialist paradigm. The continuance of the human species depends on a shift from “Earth as resource” paradigm to Earth as sacred co-creative community. Art and reclaiming religious language is part of the transformation.

      1. Gail Ransom

        Dear James,
        Thank you so much for your clarifying comment Its true, we have been living in a binary culture that divides and judges between ideas, theologies, races, professions, sexes, etc In the early church, Earth was a place of temptation and sin where pleasures corrupted and the material world corroded the soul. Creation Spirituality takes us down a whole other road where heaven and Earth are one and where earthly delights prompt awe and gratitude, and once divided parts are brought together to commune and illuminate.
        Gail Sofia Ransom
        For the Daily Meditations Team

    2. Gail Ransom

      Thank you, Brent. I appreciate your words and your wisdom about Mother Earth being the body of Christ. Indeed, the Cosmic Christ fills all corners of creation and therefore feels all wounds and suffers all pain. The pain that we humans inflict upon each other and Mother Earth is our own form of crucifixion. How to impart this awareness, though, to Christians in positions of power? You might want to read Matthew’s book, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditations Team

  2. Avatar

    When you visit certain sacred places, such as Tara or the Holy Wells of Ireland, you can literally feel bliss currents rising up through the earth and into your body. What greater proof of the sheer love/rapture of earth that courses through us if we will let it?

    1. Gail Ransom

      Thank you for sharing this experience of bliss rising from sacred sites. I wonder if we could feel that same bliss rising from where we sit right now, if we stopped to notice that we are standing on sacred ground.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditations Team

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