Tag Archives: Creativity

An Educator’s Commentary on Seven Life Lessons of Chaos: “The Truth of the Work of Art,” by Prof. James M. Magrini

ImageJ. Briggs and F.D. Peat (1999) describe a link between Chaos Theory and the creative act of making and remaking our world and Being in terms analogous to those encountered in the German philosophical tradition, e.g., Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and the philosophy of primordial truth and the work of art in Heidegger. Against the traditional notion of truth that comes by means of “technique, discipline, or logic,” Briggs and Peat write of a unique form of truth that manifests in moments of creative activity as “something lived in the moment and expressive of an individual’s connection to the whole” (p. 21).

This notion of truth is more primordial than any of our formal notions of truth (e.g., propositional truth) and is connected with a type of knowledge, or better, understanding that represents a “deeper authenticity and ‘truth’ about our individual experience of being in the world” (p. 20). Importantly, as related to Heidegger’s philosophy, this notion of truth, which is revelatory and ecstatic in nature, holds the potential to (1) disrupt the mechanized patterns of our rote day-to-day existence, an existence that conditions us in an inauthentic manner, and (2) awaken in us a creative “vortex,” or center, in which the processes of bifurcation and amplification open the potential for a new principle of self-organization and self-reorganization. As the authors stress, releasing ourselves to the “chaos” attunes us anew and colors our “vision” in a way that allows us to understand and discourse about our existence in a renewed manner.

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Any word?

It’s very humbling to see  the amount of creativity that exists, flowing through a world that so often seems cold as a coin. I was fortunate enough to speak with Michael Gira  recently for an article I’m writing for Alarm Magazine about the Swans’ new album, My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, and in the course of an hour experienced a better understanding of the creative process than I could have previously conceived.

A week or two was spent in preparation for the conversation; I delved deeply into Michael’s previous recordings, tried to gain a sense for where he was coming from with his music and where he was going with his recent efforts. In the process I became overwhelmed by a sense of possibilities and a realization of the potential power behind something as simple as a sustained chord.

Beyond artistry, I saw a man who has mastered the freedom of our hyper-connected age. Running his own label has given him the chance to raise the act of simple home recording into an art form. In order to fund this new Swans album he created a limited edition album, I Am Not Insane,  in hand printed packaging. Here is a veteran of the music industry getting his hands dirty and showing the rest of us how it’s done.

I Am Not Insane was recorded in his office! Imagine if every business owner had the passion to pick up an instrument on their lunch break, or even rip out an acapella tune, and start pressing their own CDs. The drawing at the top of this entry was made with soy sauce and india ink, so even if lunch time didn’t bring out a song there’s still no excuse for not getting busy with some creative endeavors. No need for expensive tools, they give you enough with your take out order to get started.

Zac Odinn’s recent spoken word experiments and his collaboration with Jeremy (mthing), along with my brief conversation with Michael Gira, got me excited enough to start fiddling around with sound myself. While at the grocery store last night I picked up an $8 computer mic, and when I got home threw together a quick little 2 track instrumental improv I’ve titled ‘Any Word?’ in honor of my long time friend, and creative partner, Terry Hahin‘s recent move to the Phillipines.

Hope you enjoy it, and more I hope you go out and grab the opportunities that are all around us to create and bring some light to our confused world…