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The creative person has a high degree of sensitivity to sensory experience. He openly exposes himself to these experiences favors them as elements as combinations one in relation to the other and builds these experiences into perceptual Guiche Delton through fantasy. A person like this is able to tolerate ambiguity and has a sensitivity to his own needs and to the needs of others. He is able to establish what we call a multiplicity of identifications is able to use aggression and not use hostility. There is most of all a strong sense of ego identity. Before I elaborate on these ideas I would like to discuss the idea that there is a hostile angry tendency to view of the artist
the creative person the one who is different as a really some kind of a nut. Marcel Proust further decided that neurosis is an extra quickly wound up with Art he said and I quote everything great in the world comes from the Writings. But some of our artist friends today who make these buttons I think of adequately answered Marcel Proust I just saw one yesterday and it says Marcel Proust is a yenta. I saw another one just tonight that says he she is keeping company. Why is this attitude towards the artist this angry hostile destructive attitude so prevalent. Well you know it's true that many artists many creative people on a rhotic. But I assure you that I have seen the active excesses of a
McGill Ianni and others more than matched by the unconscious fantasies of some so-called normal people. Remember also that this attitude towards the artist is most intense in a closed society whether it be bourgeois or Soviet. In these type of society use the true artist the unique creative individual is referred to as a model degenerate. The protectors of these close societies are impelled by necessity to preserve at all costs. Their investments in the material world and each one of them feels threatened with the oddest search for other worldliness. Unfortunately the artist himself also Forster's this pose. It gives him special powers it makes him a member of a special society. And this pose for the
artist is a self-deception which rationalizes his eccentricities which in reality have nothing to do with his creativity. And conversely I hope that the artist would understand the Philistine. Remembering that the Philistines attack on art be tres his attraction to it. The Philistine really has the unconscious recognition that the form of the creative act reveals his own hidden wish which is Venn defended by guilt and its counterpart anger. What else forced to the notion that the poor artist and his creativity is linked to the Rose has an illness. Much comes from my own literature the psychoanalytic literature and its conceptualizations.
Freud hypothesized and I stressed the importance of understanding that for Freud it was a theory and not a dogmatic assumption that artistic creation allows the person to escape the painful reality or the tension generated by repressed impulses and through the use of talent. The artist reconciles opposing forces this conceptualization is essentially based upon a trauma theory. The inescapable conflict of psychic forces. And some English psychoanalysts of possible to the creative act as the one which reenact the death and the reincarnation of the loved one. A colleague of mine in a recent paper delivered at the Mental Health Institute made some formulation from the analysis of artists and he found that there was the presence of a permanent and
usually severe injury to infant child narcissism related to a congenital usually hidden body defect and that the artist's florid and rich fantasy life as a restart to function. Changing that defect into a mark of excellence. Well the objection to these investigations are manifold. But I would like to comment that they usually take the form. But the origin lies in trauma aggression or the dark side of man and man should really be considered in the prologue and sense as being basically good and creative and that art is an expression that flows from love instead of hate. The trouble with these idealistic philosophies are that they ascribe moral and ethical judgments.
To proponents of the opposite ideas who do not view their formulations in value terms and who derive these formulations from clinical observations made in judgement free atmospheres. We misunderstand these formulations if we view them as relating all activity and creative activity as emanating from the unconscious and synonymous with it. Many years ago the group of artists called the surrealists experimented with a method that they call the Exquisite Corpse. In this little experiment a group of artists would get together. And they would make a composite drawing each artist being totally unaware of what the others had put on the paper before him. And Dali's paintings from nine hundred twenty nine to 34 very often portrayed broadly in scenes in which childhood
experiences and memories were painstakingly reconstructed with full attention to the special sexual symbolism of Freud in theory they were very very shocking pictures and I'm sure that Dolly fully intended them to be shocking pictures which abounded in most of the fetishes transplanted from the case histories and craft ebing. And we are told that Freud one day went to an exhibition of these paintings looked around and said what a fanatic for. While there are strong connections certainly in surrealistic art probably in all art connections that relate to the unconscious. It's not all of it. The concept of ego the concept of the identity of the artist the personal identity and the social identity of the artist is a very important aspect of the creative process.
Creativity in this sense is individuation. And now that it is extremely unpopular to be religious I'd like to put these formulations in a religious sense. When we aspired as man to being able to create. We ceased to be the instruments of God and chose to think that we could be as he. This by the way is the Christian sense of guilt. Man's original sin is rebellion against God and his attempt to be the creator. In the development of each individual person. This process psychologically and inexorably
repeats itself in turn explaining the persistence and the extensiveness of all of these religious myths. Our sense of ourselves our self knowledge. Are at the beginning primarily experienced as a conscious willing which is in essence in a geisha or a denial of willing and others and a feeling of unworthiness. In separation namely guilt. And the second stage of guilt is where this will this self-knowledge this existence of I as an individual is consciously defiant and is affirmed. That is to say Pride begins man in his will or wishes to be omniscient and creative. And we all know then that pride goeth before a fall.
Translating this religious material into psychological terms we can attempt to re-establish paradise by denying the existence of our own uniqueness by giving up our own self-knowledge which separates us from the existence of others. By a return to being normal just like everybody else an undifferentiated part of the whole mass. I've been talking about creativity in the person. But attention should also be focused on the suppressing or stimulating quality of culture. We can for instance speculate whether the Hebrew religion with its prohibition against the making of graven images suppress the production of art amongst the Jews.
We would question what in Greek culture encourage sculpture in literature. While the Egyptian F OSS produced work in stone but practically none in words. And of course in our own culture with this idea that the arts are sissy. Or the bourgeois parent who warns his offspring don't become a musician unless you can become a great virtuosi. Hasn't the emphasis in our culture on X Prince aquí words whether they be diplomas or Dollars been the end temptresses of creative work. Which should carry no more threats or blandishments. Other than the sum of its own achievement. You know the creative process has been broken down into a few elements. The first of these is preparation. The period of getting information extending from
minutes to use. You can see that the creative person can take his time. But to the neurotic with his low tolerance for anxiety I would be very uncomfortable in the preparatory stages and would have to use defensive measures. One neurotic result is an increase in narcissism and a denial that any preparation is needed. I can the neurotic says do it any time I feel like it. The second stage of creativity is called in cube Asian where there is a period of inattention to the problem the next and most dramatic stage is illumination. Here there is a tremendous upsurge of feeling which has been described by many artists and scientists as suddenly forming into the mind a process of being overwhelmed by peak experiences. Well elimination signals the actual presence in
consciousness of creativity and now Rock remains as its upbringing. This is the stage of revision polishing the details are to be filled in a dogged work to be done. During a brief period of creativity there are many many times both in great artists and great people where their sense of selves is locked against the ordinary run of reality processes. Time is not attended to food is forgotten. There was also a considerable amount of frustration. The reports of genius at work belie the totality and smoothness of their productions. It really isn't a question of how the creative person does the work of creativity. The question is how can we tolerate the anxiety. The normal or the none creative man
is the one who has surrendered his own identity or who has never expressed his unique self culturally accepted reality is the only one he knows and his own experience of himself is like a persona that is the Greek mask the mask that a person holds before himself so that others will know right he is. The healthy person but creative person. And here I include the neurotic person. Here's a responsive to external reality. He learns from the impressions of experience in the mature person frustrations of life give rise to discontent. This is inescapable on easing his pain and frustration a part of the human parcel and pervades all of our lives and the wounds we must suffer. But in the
neurotic these frustrations are intensified and give rise to the multi-faceted phenomenon of mental disorder. The neurotic some live out their lives in complex and compulsive rituals serving goals of which they are not aware. For sowing purposes but they do not understand and verbalizing excuses that they call reasons. Freeing the creativity of ourselves means freeing ourselves from the entrapment of internal conflicts. It loosens the bonds of our associations and permits the pre interplay of our experience. We can be puzzled and critical without being defensively angry or frightened. Our concentration is increase. And each new development each new production is sought with the desire and not compulsion.
We have the courage to let go of the old and face the new without loss of our identity. The transformation of the offensive into true creativity comes about when private needs are sacrificed to the demands of communicability. May I make some concluding notes. And of course they'll be very atonal. I would differentiate in our separated our unique integrated selves. The sense of being what you are without defense of guilt in the face of the opinions of others and angry reactions to their criticisms.
This I notice that is generated by our creative impressions and expressions that is bound to our memories. That is tied to our hopes. Unfortunately in our society is shaped by the market place where our individuality suffers domination and repression so that the ability to respond becomes instead of responsibility. I wish and desire become duty and performance and the justification of our actions our atomic ties they become manufactured
items they become dispensing machines that we labeled the group a paycheck. A society the operad the MER the programming. The less the opportunity for creative action. Action yes. Always action or else we die. But action that is programmed can only be a techno catatonic action. There is in such experience there is such action and reaction. Little or no expression or assertion of the self. Unless it comes in the furious rattling of a mob action. Or an impotent kick at the machine that has failed to dispense our good ease.
The sanctuary. Of old time Argon. God is dead for oit is out dated. Some of us turning to Jackson Pollock as in former days we might have turned to a Moloch. We are lost in our inability to think about ourselves to communicate our own feelings to somebody else without fear that these feelings these secret thoughts these hidden desires will be used by another individual by a boss by a political party by a state by an organization to dominate and to destroy our own unique participation in the idea. But we need neither despair nor destroy. We need neither to bear
guilt or to express anger. But the STRIVE constantly to bring faith to walk creative selves. As the expression of the alive in this that is the interaction between identity and the world we live in. Thank you very much. I was. Six when you heard Alfred Jones co-director of the mental health consultant Center in New York as he spoke on the topic the nature of creativity. This was another programme in the series. Peace love and creativity the hope of mankind. On our next program Raymond Langley Professor of Philosophy at Manhattanville College will discuss Spangler and the Decline and Fall of the West.
These programs originate at the Cooper Union forum in New York City and are recorded by radio station WNYC. The programs are made available to the station by the national educational radio network.
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Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind
The nature of creativity, part two
Producing Organization
WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program presents the second part of a lecture by Alfred Jones, Co-Director, The Mental Health Center.
Series Description
This series presents lectures from the 1968 Cooper Union Forum. This forum's theme is Peace, Love, Creativity: The Hope of Mankind.
Media type
Producing Organization: WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Producing Organization: Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Speaker: Jones, Alfred
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-10-20 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:22:08
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Chicago: “Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; The nature of creativity, part two,” 1968-04-19, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 5, 2023,
MLA: “Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; The nature of creativity, part two.” 1968-04-19. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 5, 2023. <>.
APA: Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; The nature of creativity, part two. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from