Today we are going to look at some quotations by Matthew that focus on the myth of artistic angst, and more. In his book, Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet he writes:

The dark side of the space race: the Pentagon prepares for space conflict as China and Russia test weaponry to disable military and civilian communication satellites. WSJ

Creativity, when all is said and done, may be the best thing our species has going for it. It is also the most dangerous.

Then, on the next page, he reiterates this statement by saying:

Creativity constitutes the very meaning of being human, and our powers of creativity distinguish us from other species. Evil, as well as profound goodness, transpires through our creativity.

This is a continuing theme in Matthew’s writings on creativity—that there is dark side to creativity that creates ever new means of destruction.

Recent Western history has denigrated the artist and created myths of alienation and isolation, myths about the ‘beatnik’ artist, the alcoholic artist, the ‘madman’ artist. Many of these myths indeed become self-fulfilling prophecies, for artists cannot survive without a living cosmology and few were able to find one in society itself. 

Jeffrey Brown and Una Mullally of The Irish Times discuss Sinéad O’Connor’s spiritual legacy as a revolutionary, controversial figure: in creation spirituality terms, a prophet. PBS NewsHour

We are all here to birth
a unique expression of
the Cosmic Christ. 

Creation spirituality does not just
theorize about our being co-creators
and fellow artists with God,
It insists that to enter into art as meditation
is the primary prayer form for healthy adults

See Matthew Fox, Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet, p. 1, 2

Also see Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth, pp. 34, 91, 98-99

Banner Image: “The Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh (1889), was painted during the artist’s hospitalization in an asylum and showed his view of the cosmos as a living, dynamic place. Public Domain; Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

How have you tried to practice art-as-meditation or “Extrovert Meditation” as Matthew used to call it (because the meditation is active in the exterior world, while sitting meditation is “Introvert Meditation,” being only an inner experience)?

Recommended Reading

Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet

Because creativity is the key to both our genius and beauty as a species but also to our capacity for evil, we need to teach creativity and to teach ways of steering this God-like power in directions that promote love of life (biophilia) and not love of death (necrophilia). Pushing well beyond the bounds of conventional Christian doctrine, Fox’s focus on creativity attempts nothing less than to shape a new ethic.
“Matt Fox is a pilgrim who seeks a path into the church of tomorrow.  Countless numbers will be happy to follow his lead.” –Bishop John Shelby Spong, author, Rescuing the Bible from FundamentalismLiving in Sin

Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

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3 thoughts on “Myths of Artistic Angst and More.”

  1. Avatar

    I don’t separate introvert and extrovert meditation because they’re both essential and intimately related. Inner meditative contemplative prayer in our True Heart Selves~Souls usually leads to outer sacred compassionate creative activity because it is led/inspired by Our LOVING co-CREATOR~SOURCE’s Sacred Living Process of DIVINE LOVE in the Eternal Present Moment with-in our unique Soul’s LOVING DIVERSE ONENESS within All of Our SACRED EVOLVING COSMOS….

  2. Avatar

    I don’t have any talents for the expressive arts, but I surely revel in the talents of others. I also learned that I am capable of basic drawing, painting, writing for enjoyment, and I think we all have those innate capabilities that can be nurtured, depending on physical ability. My hands no longer work very well so they are closed to me now. I do think that there is something true in the “artistic temperament” for some artists. Van Gogh is an example among many; he truly was a tortured soul. So was Dostoyevski and many other great writers.

  3. Avatar
    Jeanette Metler

    I totally relate to the statement in today’s DM, “to enter into art as meditation, is a primary prayer form.” For the past several days I’ve been doing exactly this, along the Lake Superior shorelines… meditating and painting… sitting still… entering into sacred communion and holy union with Nature… God’s glorious creation of the all and the everything… letting not only the waves wash over me, but also surrendering to the beauty and grace of God’s many blessings wash over me as well. I feel like I’ve been in the spirit of unceasing prayer… filled with unending moments of awe, wonder, delightful surprises and immense gratitude.

    The ways in which I had been perceiving this world are being transformed… by the magnificent beauty all around me, that feels like a loving warm embrace… which is awakening many things within me… that were there inside me all along, simply waiting to be reclaimed… one of which is JOY!

    Miquich… amen… let this continue to be so.

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