Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Artist

"The reader will recall the story of Prometheus who met with a cruel fate for stealing fire from the gods for the human race. Prometheus stole the fire of the gods and gave it as a gift to the humans who so needed fire to create civilization. When he did this, Zeus was outraged and condemned Prometheus to be lashed to a rock where a vulture would feed each morning on his liver. But his liver grew back again each night.

"Psychologist Rollo May interprets the Prometheus story to mean that the artist becomes utterly "beat" after a day's work and is exhausted at night. But during the night, his energy (his liver) grows back again for his work the next day.

"I would go further in examining the archetype of the liver. The liver cleanses and recycles. The artist, too, cleanses and recycles the toxins in a culture. Artists turn pain into insight and struggle into triumpth and darkness into light and ugliness into beauty and forgetfulness into remembering and grief into rejoicing. Artists add awe to awe and beauty to beauty and wonder to wonder. When the liver is healthy, the person is healthy. The artist is to the community or body politic what the liver is to the human body: a cleanser and recycler of waste and toxins."

[from the book "Creativity" by Matthew Fox]


Trev Diesel said...

I love this concept of being "utterly beat" at the end of a day of creativity. It's how I feel after doing vocals in the studio, that's for sure.

gratefulbear said...

Good ol' Matthew Fox! I would have never thought to look at the liver as an archetype!

That "beat" part stood out to me also. I feel "beat" at the end of a long day at work, counseling and writing court-ordered psych reports. It also reminds me of Jack Kerouac's meaning of "beat" (as in "the Beat Generation") as both worn-out and beatific.

Jon said...

I second everything Darrell said, and add, "You go, Promothean boy!"