A Curious Relationship
From as early as I can remember, my relationship with art was rather curious. In kindergarden, I was repeatedly asked to create what was considered to be age-appropriate forms of art – handicrafts and drawings. Supposedly intended to spark creativity in children and delight their parents, these activities often caused me quite some distress. When the task was to glue seeds onto a piece of paper, I could still find a way around the drama: I would simply group them on my sheet in whatever logic I applied at that point. However, the explicit assignment to draw a representation of any object or person existing in physical reality regularly brought me to tears well into primary school. How could this be asked of me? As I apparently wasn’t born-again high-renaissance painter Raphael – wasn’t the impossibility of this task obvious? How could the other children declare seemingly arbitrary strokes of paint to be a butterfly – or even more daring, to be an image of their parents? My frustration about this incoherence between original observation and artful representation was immense. It is only with my newly found understanding of art that I realise the aspects the artist should seek to express are far beyond what meets the eye – which is part of what will be discussed in this essay. The label artist was attributed to me for the first time through the badge I wore for Mindfield Festival, where I spoke on distributed communications and sustainable systems. Until some months ago, I wouldn’t have considered myself to be an artist and the word still bears unresolved connotations – jack of all trades, bon vivant, hedonist? Through deliberation and my visible activities of writing and DJing, I now come to understand what being an artist entails – and that it includes the realisation of infinite potential, conscious manifestation and absolute responsibility.
Who is like God? The Artist Within
What might be the difference between a common individual and one which is glorified and remembered through history? Just like Picasso, Rembrandt or Monet, you are an artist too! Just like Einstein, Planck or Tesla, you are a scientist too! Just like Socrates, Confucius and Popper, you are a philosopher too! Seems like a stretch of imagination at best? In learning more about the world, we are all scientists. In striving to understand reality and by contributing our ideas, we are all philosophers. In every thought we think, every gesture we make, every note we write and every scribble we draw, we are all artists – creating works of art and constantly re-creating ourselves as the artists of being alive – simultaneously being creator and creation. Depending on your personal views, you might find such a comparison preposterous. If your self-esteem is rather low, you might never consider to yourself as one of of such men, instinctively putting them far above you on some imaginary ladder. If your self-esteem is quite high, a false sense of modesty might arise in order to protect you from potentially envious and less confident peers – which again removes you from these ranks. Who are you to claim such greatness? Who are you indeed? We have allowed ourselves to be so deeply conditioned to rather believe we are nothing and even find satisfaction in it – with nothing relevant to say, nothing important to do and nothing interesting to discover. Society commands that any sense of power and greatness shall only be found in relation to a hierarchical structures – in companies, universities, armies and organised religion – but never be allowed to arise from within ourselves. [ 1] This is exactly what the hierarchical society depends on – so you may only act as its agent, bonding yourself to its cause of continued oppression through fear and distraction. Unless the hierarchy chooses you for its war against the autonomy found with free-thinkers, subsistence-farmers and cooperative communities, there shall be nothing to stand up and fight for! Popular culture continually reminds us that there is no room for self-appointed heroism in support of your own life and your true friends. [ 2] Every feeling of self-respect and empowerment must be stopped in its tracks. You shall never even dare to think of creating anything – or even existing – on your own accord. None shall stand proud without public approval, employment contract and citizenship. Rare is the self-empowered individual without money nor passport! [ 3]
After all – “Who is like Mozart?” – to feel worthy of self-appreciation and respect, empowered to create one’s own symphony of life? Isn’t there an eerie resemblance to archangel Michael’s words as he cast down Lucifer: “Who is like God?” To stress biblical interpretation, if “…god created mankind in his own image…” then who shall be like the Creator but mankind itself? Whenever such a point is raised, those fearful of its conclusion – as it entails the ultimate burden of responsibility – are quick to warn of populists and demagogues. But how can anyone make profit on your expense by having you become in-dependent? A lack of belief in your own abilities and wholeness is the only method through which the societal hierarchy can ensnare and enslave you. [ 4] Your dependency has it well-fed but also ever-hungry for more control over your life. Your autonomy however has this feeble construct of lies starve and collapse like a house of cards. The instant you realise your own perfection, there is nothing left the system can offer, as there is no more need nor want which can’t be fulfilled on your own or within your community.
In the passing age of materialism and objectification, we have externalized the creative principle. This is best portrayed through the angelic host or the Greek gods, each entity representing particular facets of the universal life-force of change. It is time to face the reality that we shaped our own destiny all along. As the illusion of the externalized, personified creator is finally overcome, the divine spark within you may light the eternal flame of creation yet again. Instead of looking for ever-failing substitute idols in economy, politics, religion and science – we can cut the chase and finally start respecting ourselves for the most perfect and divine beings we are. Do you choose to be among a mass of slaves, paying homage to sociopathic rulers and vain celebrities only so you may remain irresponsible for your own life and ignorant of your infinite potential? Many prefer to stay in the master-slave dialectic of the majority over standing alone in freedom. I choose to be in the company of individuals who realise themselves as creators and accept the absolute responsibility it brings. From a spiritual viewpoint, this might be what distinguishes the boys from the men, as M.P. Hall reminds us that ”The youth stands at the beginning of mature life, “the Parting of Ways”, where he must choose between virtue and vice, the eternal and the temporal… the price of free will… is responsibility.” This may well correspond to Nietzsche’s vision of the Übermensch, transcending the limitations of the increasingly corrupted, destructive and ultimately life-threatening hierarchy we have been born into. This condition is above-human only in relation to the state most individuals find themselves in right now. Many might still want to live out their lives without taking responsibility and this shall be equally respected, for it is the experience they choose. Realising oneself as creator isn’t about superiority or control over others, quite the opposite. It means withdrawing consent and removing oneself from the cycle of domination, dependency and exploitation. If no-one plays the roles of master-oppressor, slave-victim and hero-saviour any more, then this boring game is finally over. Rather than an attempt at achieving fame or licensed authority promised by the old system, this is about making your essential contribution and truly living the time of your life.
Self-Denial or Self-Recognition
“If you bring forth that which is within you, then that which is within you will be your salvation. If you do not bring forth that which is within you, then that which is within you will destroy you.” – The Gnostic Gospels
The most basic, practical choice we have is thus whether we to recognise or deny ourselves. As fractals of consciousness we are contained within everything, so all perceptions give us the opportunity to recognise a-part of ourself as unity-consciousness. [ 5] As individuals, we are bestowed with free will and may thus choose denial, preferring to distract ourselves from this realization. From a spiritual viewpoint, consciousness brings order to the physical world. Ignorance and disinterest in re-cognizing ourselves and our surroundings might in actuality be the expression of a lack of interest in exploring this particular reality. The body de-constructs in the absence of the mind, usually bringing about lasting depression, chronic disease as well as other signs of entropy and decay. Without continuous re-creation through consciousness, no material form, neither building nor body, can be maintained. Modern temptations, equally being profit-centers of economy and culture – whether violent conflict, drugs, media, video games or pornography – cater to this desire of distraction from recognition of oneself as well as the bigger picture. This is why once we choose to take a closer look at reality, our interest in these diversions wanes.
So we may choose to continually re-cognize and thus re-create ourselves and our surroundings. Thus, we eternally co-create ourselves as individual fractals of consciousness as well as ourself as the totality of creation. As the belief in our self-efficacy directly correlates with our lived potential to create through thought and action, we may enter a virtuous cycle of ever-increasing creativity. As we understand that the core meaning of artist, creator, magician, god and human is one and the same, it becomes easier to recognise both our individual self and the divine spark within everyone and everything we encounter. Instead of remaining stuck in a low-energy state of self-induced hypnosis by consuming culture manufactured for that very purpose of keeping us un-conscious, mindless and dependent – we may choose to enter a high-energy state, joyfully creating our own culture promoting self-respect, autonomy and empowerment. As this culture grows, it continues to manifest within the common reality and the acceptance of self-responsibility becomes more desirable as the benefits of a more fulfilling experience are made obvious. As this creator-consciousness grows in quality of creations and quantity of creators, ever more possible scenarios can be experienced as determined by the free will of each individual. The act of creation being the only purpose, indeed the only ability we have, its potential might indeed be infinite. I prefer to concern myself with accessible experience rather than overt speculation about the possibilities after the demise of the body. Therefore, the emergence of creator-consciousness is the prime method to increase the creative potential during physical life to shape both the physical and astral realms, effectively accessing the experience we individually desire. As the issues of mindlessness and self-contempt are overcome with every step, we may more fully focus on creating worlds and ourselves within them – experiencing re-creation and relaxation as we celebrate the ceremony of life. This self-recognition as creator-consciousness always entails responsibility and empowerment in equal parts. As we take responsibility for our acts of creation, the logical conclusion means nothing less than re-cognizing all those traits within ourselves which we previously externalized to gods and idols. This proposition might appear as blasphemy and hubris to some – while others might recognise it as individuated apotheosis, man becoming god again. The creative power is limited solely by the responsibility one is willing to bear.
Absolute Freedom – Absolute Responsibility
“For many are invited, but few are chosen.” – Matthew 22:14
While this road is open to all, only very few choose themselves to become fully responsible for their experience. As societal hierarchy has conditioned us to depend on others, claiming self-responsibility is a most radical decision. It is to step out of the river’s stream – with its currency limited by banks – into a pathless land. As the only point of orientation is your felt connection to yourself and the universe, you now must make your own path – for no-one has lived your life before you! [ 6] As a self-empowered individual, the primary task is simply doing what you want in order to have the experience you want. It also means understanding that while I must assume full responsibility for myself, there is no point in feeling responsible for the lives of others. If I am to support them in their development towards self-responsibility, taking it away from them runs contrary to the eventual goal. So instead of providing temporary relief by serving your friend a dish – rather lead him to the water, show him how to fish! Appreciate your friends who strive towards becoming self-responsible, for it is not an easy task. While it may be hard to accept, it is important to respect the decision of many to willingly remain dependent and irresponsible. As self-responsibility can only be taken up after an individual reaches the inner consensus to change, any missionary work is doomed to fail. Often enough, my communication about the endless possibilities of a self-directed life fall on deaf ears. I then try to understand the other’s internal defences against self-responsibility as well as the underlying motive of why it is rejected. Also, I attempt to re-cognise my own reflections within the individual, potentially uncovering fears and doubts I still hold myself. There can never be another to blame for the frustration of my failure to inspire, for I am the one who expects and hopes that another might change towards a more self-responsible and enjoyable life. These are the best situations to ask myself if I shouldn’t rather continue to build my own bastion of independence instead of talking about its benefits. Many like to theorise about living under different circumstances, whether poor and isolated or rich and influential, but there is only one relevant question: Am I doing everything I can within my own life to have the experience I desire? Often, it might seem daring to take the next step in one’s personal development, leaving the beaten tracks in order to journey into entirely uncharted territory, often fraught with doubts and fears. However, if I am not strong enough to persevere, then who else? If I am not rigorous enough to draw the consequences, then who else? Only you can take the next step on your personal journey towards self-liberation. Leaving behind the old structures – breaking up a relationship, quitting a job or education, facing your innermost fears – is an essential part of this process. As the doors of your past close, new opportunities emerge for you to shape your experience as you desire. Taking the risk of becoming the master of your own destiny changes a rather dull an uneventful life into your personal quest for… whatever it is you want to experience! All individuals instinctively feel what the right course of action towards greater freedom and self-responsibility is. As spiritual understanding grows, material identification along with all its fears can be conquered, allowing you to focus on following your heart’s desires. Rather than following the will of self-appointed masters, you reclaim your inherent ability to shape your present and recognise the eternal gift of experience. With every new decision, walking to the beat of your own drums becomes more rhythmical and self-confidence builds as you dance through life. [ 7]
The Act of Creation – Art as Sublimation of Creative Power
The most primal, comprehensive and exalted form of art is life itself. Creation is the act through which consciousness expresses, expands and explores itself. Actor, director and audience combined in each individual, there can be no more immediate art of creation than living itself. Through genuine self-expression in our acts of creation, we make our unique contribution to the whole art of creation. As we are born as individuals, there is little point in dying a copy. The art of creation is the art of living, it is the way of life as the only manner we can exist. Creation is thus both life and living, both an observable phenomenon and an active process – for the only constant is change.
“Art, I suppose, is only for beginners, or else for those resolute dead-enders, who have made up their minds to be content with the ersatz (substitute) of Suchness, with symbols rather than with what they signify, with the elegantly composed recipe in lieu of actual dinner.” – Aldous Huxley (Doors of Perception)
I can well imagine that the rise of what is commonly and explicitly called art – paintings, music, performances and even handicraft – are actually a sign of declining creator-consciousness in individuals. Explicit art can only be a mediator of perception and meaning. Since it must take on a more defined, sometimes even static form, it is always removed from the immediacy of experience which is life itself. Instead of being present through living in the now, explicit art abstracts the moment and petrifies it in art-in-facts. Life is ever-changing – explicit art is dead. It is the hallmark of the sublimation of creative power and the illusion of space-time. The creative potential of ourselves as fractals of consciousness being both creator and creation is externalized to artists and works of art. Those artists are subsequently glorified as gods as the unconscious individual marvels at their creative powers. Only faintly does he guess that he could reclaim the power of creation and make his unique contribution if he would only choose to remember himself and believe in his self-efficacy as creator-consciousness. So the few become artist-gods, while the many are merely passive observers, often not even believing their own perceptions if they are not validated by authorities. Of course, those who are conscious of their creative potential can easily create works of art, which cumulatively constitute the culture a society is embedded in. Unconscious individuals are already accustomed to perceive life through the mediated experience of cultural art-in-facts within the illusion of space-time. It is thus upon the remaining creators to create art-in-facts which eventually constitute a symbolic reality for the unconscious masses. Those few often still act out of fear and thus create so they may gain control and have dominance over others. The art of the few becomes the reality of the many – a matrix of control. The consumption of culture manufactured to suppress creator-consciousness ensures the enduring distraction and compliance of the masses. Their still-burning obsession – for it is the only purpose – of unconscious individuals to create is compensated by supplying them with a variety of games. These contrived sandboxes such as video games, science, careers, politics and activism are nothing more than gilded cages of varying shapes and sizes. As long as you are focused on the game, you won’t even notice the cage – and that it’s not even locked. Instead of becoming dull through engaging with an unsatisfying construct, consciousness may be expanded beyond such an assumed framing of reality. Creative potential is re-inforced and can then be applied towards the immediate reality of experience, shaping it towards individual desire.
Ordo ab Chao – The Magician Within
Aleister Crowley defines magic as “The Science and Art of influencing change to occur in accordance with the Will.” and proposes that “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” The individual can choose to interpret this Will from the viewpoint of separation or unity. The art of creation is bound to this fundamental free-will choice between love and fear. Of course, such a decision can only be made if the belief in one’s self-efficacy to even make a consequential free-will decision is present. A mind which is caught up in the illusion of separation through time and space may often act out of fear, feeling its continued existence threatened by the outside world. An attempt to control the environment in order to thwart this illusory danger is then made, often resulting in tyrannical behaviour. As the individual focuses on creating order in the outside, the mind becomes disorderly, eventually resulting in chaos both within and without. However, a mind which realises its unity and immortality within the whole of creation can more easily choose to act out of love. Order is made in the inner world, removing obstacles such as irrational fears and prejudice, which directly increases the individual’s freedom to think and act. Distracted and disoriented individuals can only cause more chaos and confusion. However, the loving dominion of self brings order within and eventually results in an orderly outer world as well. Fear brings chaos. Love brings order. [ 8] The application of magic is simply the application of oneself as directed consciousness – being mindful in creating or paying attention in observing reality. Your basic choice determines whether you use this power to create chaos or order within yourself and the world – the mirror which only shows your reflection. You can’t grab the cheeks of your mirror-image to force a smile – yet smile yourself, and your reflection as the world smiles back at you! Confusion brings about fear as the illusion of separation is maintained, while clarity brings about love as the reality of unity is made obvious. The magical-creative power inherent within each individual might thus be used to suppress or strengthen the development of consciousness through acts of creation.
These acts of creation may be made on all layers of reality accessible to individuals, notably the astral plane of imagination and the physical plane of incarnation. Being in constant feedback with each other, the line between them might become blurry at times. What do we imagine, and what do we actually see – or are they one and the same? In any case, consciousness is applied to change reality by in-forming it with in-formation in accordance with the will, its basis being love or fear as mentioned above. Ashcroft-Nowicki offers the triangle of causation to understand this process. The apex of the triangle is desire as the driving force, supported by understanding and wisdom to the left and right respectively. The individual as the organising principle is the imaginary cornerstone, turning it into a square. As these elements are brought together, the awakened knowledge of creation emerges from their centre. [ 9] This is the power which generates all change, whether affirmation of the old or creation of the new. Only consciousness can bring about such in-formation and in-carnation of reality. All in-formations are acts of creation, art-in-facts containing the original conscious intent and world-view of its creator. [ 10] While the act of procreation is currently essential to the continued existence of humanity, those who understand themselves as creators come to realise that it is but one expression of our infinite creative potential. Along with many forms of explicit art, procreation is a quite materialistic act of creation. However, as many don’t believe in their self-efficacy in actually changing their experience and the world around them, sex is often a last resort for their pent-up generative energy. With heightened awareness and increased knowledge, this energy may be transformed and channelled into much more creative and fulfilling ways to influence change. While we should use the gift of creative energy to support the next generation of individuals, let’s not forget to be childlike ourselves – ever-curious, creative and open-minded!
Enlightenment through Truthfulness
Even though explicit art is merely unconsciously sublimated creative potential, it may yet serve a higher purpose. Art, as the lie which enables a glimpse at the truth, might allow others to re-cognise the creative potential within them, dispelling doubts and fears about their ability to lead a self-directed life. Instead of being quiet accomplices to the continuation of the status quo, we may co-create a culture of self-respect and empowerment, inspiring other individuals to take full responsibility and accept the creative power they have to continually re-invent themselves and the world around them. [ 11] Wassily Kandinsky writes about the inherent necessity within art to convey the spiritual, especially now as we are overcoming dogmatic materialism. He contends that the artist who doesn’t make proper use of his abilities is but a lazy peon as art must always be representative of a higher, spiritual reality. The conscious artist-creator thus resembles a king or even god in having unlimited freedom of expression in his creations. However, he is also bearing the ultimate responsibility of bringing about spiritual evolution within himself and the world. The spiritual content to be communicated is given the necessary material form so it may be understood through the physical plane. Truthfulness in self-expression is the instrument of choice in this great art of individual enlightenment. [ 12]
Everything which lives, which exists, which vegetates, which is even just present, must be free, must attain consciousness of itself, the exalted height of the divine centre which animates everything that is. Absolute freedom and love are our goal; to free mankind and the whole universe is our destiny. – Mikhail Bakunin [ 13]
Taking the absolute responsibility for our own experience allows us to realise the absolute power of creation. Acknowledging our self-efficacy – policemen, politicians, laws, managers, scientists, artists, authorities, brands, idols, magicians, heroes and gods – become obsolete as we recognise them as externalized representations of the creative potential which can only be found within ourselves! Re-claiming the responsibility for this creative agency, we understand that every action, word and thought is a sacred act of creation. Beyond the illusion of polarity – size and position, past and future, good and evil – life has no purpose, for you are the purpose. The meaning of life is for you to create the meaning. Honest in accepting your innermost desires, you may use the power of response-ability to perceive the present of experience you truly wish for. As limiting beliefs are identified and shattered, the reality becomes blatantly obvious. Within the definition of the physical plane, we may yet re-member ourselves as unlimited potential – boundless creator and infinite creation in countless individual refractions.  M.P. Hall reminds us that the reward well exceeds any risk we might need to take, as “The first sincere, dedicated effort, to live the life of truth, brings truth to you, and truth walks with you to the end of your days. The mind can be deceived, the body can be punished, but the truth in the soul goes on and nothing can stop it. And it is the rule of nature under god that all things shall win. There is no loss, there can never be, there is only delay… For most persons, responsibilities must be evaded, they must be avoided in any way possible, because they interfere with the smooth passing of a useless life. We must think also of all the dreams and hopes of the ages and realise that they cannot be fulfilled until the individual loves truth better than he loves himself.”
[ 2] Death by Heroism by Stephan Molyneux provides an excellent summary of how the helpless mind-set is reinforced. As creative power is externalized and abstracted into the realm of unattainable fiction, the masses of individuals remain unconscious of their inherent power. [back]
[ 3] They are rare, but they exist. Elf Pavlik is an excellent example, living stateless and moneyless since several years. He contributes his technical expertise and practical experience to further alternative means of value exchange. A living example that real change is affected not just far removed, but completely disconnected from apparent power-centres and hierarchical structures. [back]
[ 4] As Erykah Badu sings “If we were made in his image, then call us by our names – most intellects do not believe in God but they fear us just the same.” A comprehensive review of manipulation through media and advertisement is made by Michael Tsarion’s lecture series on the Age of Manipulation. [back]
[ 6] It is a fundamental step to stop deriving one’s life from the existing order. Language is very relevant to our thought-feelings and thus creative capabilities. In Anatomy of Slavespeak, Frederick Mann elaborates how language and talismanic words are used in order to perpetuate master-slave relationships as well as how this pattern may be broken. ”In his book The Path of Least Resistance, Robert Fritz makes a distinction between the “reactive-responsive orientation” (closely related to Korzybski’s semantic response [experience-absent-experience]) and the “creative orientation” (loosely related to what I’ve called the extensional response [direct experience]) — also covered in ‘Report #TL12: Emotional Control‘.” I deal with mediated reality and the immediacy of experience in A Shift of Perception. [back]
[ 7] As Henry David Thoreau writes in Walden: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” [back]
[ 9] This concept is based on the Quabbalistic Tree of Life as mentioned in Magical Use of Thought Forms by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki. I write about the relation between the physical and astral realms in The Definition of the Material World. [back]
[ 10] This interview in German on the information storage capacity of water reflects my view that all actions represent our world-views. What is the world-view and consciousness you represent through your actions? [back]
[ 11] Terence McKenna on the oppressive effect of modern culture as it is spoon-fed to the unquestioning public. Ever-more reasons to create your own culture and your own reality: “We do not fight back against the de-humanizing values that are handed down as control icons (…) Culture is not your friend. Culture is for other people’s convenience and the convenience of various institutions – churches, companies, tax collection schemes, what have you (…) it insults you, dis-empowers you, uses and abuses you (…) it invites people to diminish themselves and dehumanize themselves by behaving like machines (…)” [back]
[ 12] I translated this from a German edition of Kandinsky’s Concerning the Spiritual in Art as I found the English version lacking: “(…) the artist is not only allowed, but it is his duty to deal with form as necessary for his intention. Neither anatomy an the like, nor generally dismissing these sciences is necessary, but the absolutely unlimited freedom of the artist in the choice of his methods.” The following note reads: “This unlimited freedom must be based on the inherent necessity (which is called truthfulness). This is not just the principle of art, but of life. This principle is the mightiest sword of the true Übermensch against the Philistines [bigotry].” [back]
[ 13] I translated this quote by Mikhail Bakunin I originally found in German: “Alles, was lebt, was existiert, was vegetiert, was auch nur vorhanden ist, muss frei sein, muss zum Bewusstsein seiner selbst, zur erhabenen Höhe des göttlichen Zentrums gelangen, das alles belebt, was ist. Absolute Freiheit und Liebe sind unser Ziel; die Menschheit und das ganze Universum zu befreien, ist unsere Bestimmung.” [back]
Michaelangelo – Creation of Adam (The brain-shaped godly host proves the point.)
Guido Rei – Archangel St. Michael
Winged Elf Girl – An Active Imagination
René Margritte – Ceci n’est pas une pipe
Rider-Waite Tarot – The Magician (1)
Wassily Kandinsky – Black Circle