Johann Sebastian Bach was the father of no less than twenty children. I had no idea if he was a sex maniac, but he had to find a way to feed them. He found it necessary to be very industrious, and hence successful.
But here we’re concerned with his creativity other than sexual prowess. He had to produce a great deal of music to feed the hungry mouths. He found that if the music is melodious and filled with feeling, it sold better. He concentrated on that aspect of his compositions.
Once, had been asked how he managed to be so prolific yet retain such popularity. “That’s easy,” he replied, “you need just three elements to achieve success.”
The admirer listened more attentively. Bach smiled:
“All you need is technique, technique, and technique,” the master replied.
“But, Sir,” the student was flabbergasted. “Your music is known for an incredible emotional content…”
“Ah, yes. Once you have the three elements you can forget about them, and just play…”
Just play, compose, and feed the children.
And this brings us once again to creativity. There are artists who copy the beauty of nature, of the human form, of objects of beauty. They are not creative. They are talented students acquiring technique. Perhaps, in their next life, they will be born with the technique, as the greatest artists were, to be creative. Not by reproducing in two or three dimensions what already exists, but to use their technique to bring something new to the universe.
That is the difference.
Michelangelo did not have models suspended in the air from whom he could copy or reproduce the contours of God or Adam. The images came from within him. From his unconscious. He didn’t think of the anatomy of human form but just painted.
And that’s what we all need.
There are many great artists who reproduce various aspects of phenomenal reality. They paint, and sculpt, and write, and build, and sing, and interpret other peoples’ creations. They enhance our lives with their talents. They are the lucky people who, most probably, will be born “creators” in their next lives. As for now, I shall always be grateful to them for sharing their talents. They are often hardworking, dedicated artists. They try to imagine what was in the composer’s mind, his heart, his or her emotions, and then do their best to do them justice. Often, they do, and for that alone I love them.
But to be truly creative, to enrich the Universe, the reality we all share, we must develop techniques to enable the creative spirit, the creative energy within us to manifest itself outside. Only then we can share it with others. Only then we become true instruments of the Creative Spirit, which many call God.
And let us never forget that it may have taken a thousand or more reincarnations to produce Leonardo Da Vinci. Your turn will come. There are many such thoughts I share with you in the Vicious Circle. I hope you enjoy them. Please, let me know.
In Search of Secular Ethics