"Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark. In effect, the people who change our lives the most begin to sing to us while we are still in darkness. If we listen to their song, we will see the dawning of a new part of ourselves."
Existential Intelligence is the sensitivity and capacity to engage questions about human existence – how we got here, whether we have a purpose, and whether there is meaning in Life. Existential intelligence embraces the exploration of aesthetics, philosophy, religion and values like beauty, truth, and goodness. A strong existential intelligence allows human beings to see their place in the big picture, be it in the classroom, community, world, or universe.
First proposed by Howard Gardner, existential intelligence is one of nine theorized intelligences and is considered to be amoral – that is, it and the other eight categories of human intelligence can be used either constructively or destructively.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
What are your thoughts on the kindling and rekindling of desire within the context of your creative life?”
This quote from an essay I read recently, probably speaks to anyone who is attempting a creative life:
With all due respect, how many of us are actually aware of any regular experience of desire in our creative lives? By that I mean the kind of burning desire that fuels a profound creative existence? Reading the essay only reminded me of how few people I encounter – as students, colleagues or friends –who seem to have any sense of desire for/of Anything. The disconnect is palpable. Perhaps our first task as artists is the job of sifting through our unique haystack of total bullshit everyday stuff – worries, concerns, ideas, fears, distractions – in order to get down to the single needle of desire in our lives. Could it be that there are two sorts of artists – those who don’t have any connection to what desire is – and those who are not reading this because they are already ON IT, instead of spending time reading an essay by someone well meaning like me?
And obviously there are periods within a single creative life when an artist is disconnected from desire. So we’re back to the original burning question – what happens then? How do we get desire back?
Which led to thinking about competition, and this observation – desire is often rooted in some competitive impulse. To be the Best. To beat someone else. To Win – whether winning is represented by an award, or a show opportunity or financial remuneration.
I don't watch TV but you can't escape the aura of popular reality shows where the motivating desire is to beat out everyone else. To win the prize, whatever it may be. Competition propels artists forward. It’s a dressed up version of survival of the fittest, no matter what the party clothes look like. I know plenty of artists who never work from a deep-seated personal place. Instead work is driven by the latest theme of a show they want to enter. Or to colors they know a judge tends to prefer. What is desire in that context? Is there a pure desire as opposed to ego driven desire?
It would be disingenuous, but easy, to say to a student or friend - Make a list of all the people you want to impress. Who has slighted you in the past? Who's opinion do you value? You could work from that place and actually be filled with DESIRE – but is it desire or is it the competitive ego doing the work? Is it the little person inside doing the work or is it the BIG expansive person inside doing the work?
I need more thought time where this is concerned. My impulse is always to encourage someone to do the work because it is the right work to do, even when it feels unpopular or uncomfortable. Now I think maybe that’s wrong. An artist or writer won't necessarily make a killing (or even a decent sale) on a set of paintings or a series of short stories just because the work is good. Plenty of bad art is effectively marketed. Oh yeah... the marketing part. How to be both sensitive artist or writer and competent - even aggressive - marketer of work? And so begins a new creative challenge.
It’s all challenging. There isn't an easy answer to any of it.