Drawing sadness from your most vulnerable self

Am I creating a thing which generates in me, the sadness of human life? That is the question I must continuously ask myself.

Footnote 7

I hope it is intuitively more clear now, how the process of drawing feeling from yourself and the process of relying on your own wholeness allow us to create order. I hope it is also clear that the fundamental questions we have to ask, as we produce order, are the questions: Does it create feeling in me? Does it make me feel more whole within myself, when I confront it? — and that we cannot produce order in any other way.

The level of awareness needed to do this is a level which is immensely personal, which is almost like the little child speaking — a level where we let go, entirely, of our adulthood, and the normal regulations of adult society. And further, this level of awareness is not normally available to us. Indeed, paradoxically, it is only the awareness of order which can allow us to release ourselves enough to even get this level of awareness.

To me this seems the root quality which makes the field of centers carry weight. It is the essence, the core of the structure-preserving transformation which makes the building fit, perfectly, into the place where it is to be.

What is fascinating about this root quality, is that is contains an unexpected mixture of the personal and the impersonal. It is impersonal in the sense that it is related to the fitness of the thing, to the exactness of the structure-preserving transformation. It is personal in the sense that it carries feeling, is full of feeling, originates in a vision which comes from your self.

The value of what is done, in any work of art, depends, in the end, on the extent that the artist can reach down into his own humanity, into his own person, and draw the thing he makes from this most ordinary person. This is immensely hard to do. The fact is that it is not easy to reach the genuinely human part of oneself, the childlike part, which is true, and simple.

People sometimes believe that it can be done merely by “expressing” what is in you. But this is almost always shallow, and leads to various forms of “feelies” or so-called art which ought better to have been put on a therapist’s couch.

The structure described in these four books might be thought of as the structural part of what you need in order to reach this human childlike part of yourself. This happens because this structure, the living field of centers, and its place in the world, really is a mirror of the human heart. It is therefore only knowledge of this structure which gives you a key to unlock your own heart.

Thus, paradoxically, it is only when you finally are personal, when you really put your humanness into the things you make, that you genuinely reach the wholeness we are striving for in the external structure we call order. And it is at that moment that we reach the ground. But first you need access to the structure of wholeness in order to be human, in order to be personal, and to be able to place your personal feeling out into the world.

Thus, life is a thing which can, finally, only be reached by humanness, by the personal, and by the individual, childish temperament which lets a person be vulnerable to all the world in the things he makes. But he will only be able to be personal, in this way, to express true feeling, once he has mastered the abstract nature which I call the wholeness. Once you reach the point where you are able to be personal, then, finally, you are able to make something live.

(Pages 268-269)

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