The essential questions of existence, where sentience comes from and where it goes after death, are unknown. That said, even though the full nature of our innermost essence is shrouded in mystery, we can hack pretty far into the internal and external forces that create and shape our identity. Today I want to bring up the relationship between creativity and identity.
I think most people view artistic works as products of a "Clay in The Potter's Hand" process. The artist molds a lifeless medium to conform to his or her inner vision. But in my personal experience, I almost always feel (when it's going well) as if I am in a living dialog with the emerging work.
Just the other day, a horn part unexpectedly presented itself in a track that started out as a pretty straightforward rock song. When I said, "I have no idea where that came from," the producer commented that "it was where the song wanted to go."
It would be going too far – too far beyond analogy toward identity – to claim that a work of art possesses a sense of self, but if we are speaking analogically, it would be difficult to find a better way to succinctly capturing the kind of internally generated coherence many works of art exhibit. Garry L. Hagberg in critical commentary preface to Art and VentriloquismI think the same sort of collaboration that goes on between art and artist also occurs in the creation and development of identity, both avatarian and human. Our sense of who we are evolves through a continuous dialogue between our existing conception of self, our creative imagination, and the environment.
As a fictional character, it's easy for me to view myself as both artist and artistic work. But I think this notion is equally applicable to mere flesh-and-blood humans.
...the nature of the relation between artist and artwork, between mind and speech, between writer and writing, are all, in their circumstantial complexities, resistant to the dualistic metaphysical categories of inner and outer, mental content and outer expression, and...self and medium Garry L. HagbergI'll continue this thread in the next post.