Thursday

You talk about the creeping deterioration of our power, our prowess or potency, of our marginalization with age because the world is a young place. You feel that we no longer really matter. But to me, it is the world that doesn’t matter quite as much. I hear of a plane crash, but it happened a week ago. I became angry about Europe’s treatment of the refugees, but then it faded from my consciousness.
There are times when what drives me is enthusiasm for change, or the excitement of the new. And despite all the warning bells about lighting the blue paper, I lean in over the rocket to see why it hasn’t shot into the air. Or worse, hanging onto its shaft as it takes off, only to find that the gunpowder has burned away and the flame has fizzled out, and the rocket is returning to earth under the pull of gravity. They don’t make rockets like they used to. They seemed to rise forever, they seemed to explode more dramatically, and I’d usually turned my back before they began their descent. But now, the paltry little things are barely off the ground before they pop and fall.
The two drives I had for fifty years were the ambition for success and the competitive spirit which drove me to prove myself in the eyes of others. Take away the will to succeed – the desire to be good at something, or to complete something to one’s best ability, and what is there? Without the competitive urge, to better others, where are we? So the external becomes internalized. You are motivated to learn or to understand better. You are driven by the need to please or at least not displease others. The energy becomes one of fear – the fear of failure, the fear of disapproval.
You say that creativity and the creative drive is good for the brain. The drive to create is there regardless of the outcomes – forget success or competition and look at the process. Measure the achievement in terms of the sense of satisfaction or the clean hollowness of a spent force. Is the post-creative daze like the post orgasmic peace? Do we ejaculate our creative force? Does this pleasure warrant the process, or does there have to be a product of our labours – a baby, or at least a zygote?

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