I suppose we all want and search for satisfaction in life. I suppose most of us agree that the man who attains the most of such satisfaction is the creative artist who produces something that people like. He does constructive work, that interests him and is appreciated. But it seems to us that there are comparatively few of him; and of those few only a minority attain what we call success. But Gaelic maintains that this is not so: that we are all creative artists: and that there is possible to each of us these satisfactions. He even has a word for "failures." Here first of all, are his basic premises, his summary or sketch of the creative process. It takes close reading; apparently it is merely a description of the processes of the astral in the technical sense; but its principles must be understood before the comfort and enlightenment of the personal application.
"Creation," he defines, "is an arrestment, a checking, of the flow of universal harmony; its differentiation: its rearrangement into a new form of particularization.
"The amount and quality of this first segregation is dependent on the interposition of an individual entity by which it is checked and through which it is filtered.
"The rearrangement depends upon the innate creative imagination possessed by that entity."
So much for the place of the "artist" - oneself.
"The endurance of the result is dependent on the dynamics with which the creative intelligence works. These dynamics in turn depend upon the degree of spiritual development and aspiration to which their originator has attained."
So much for the kind of work possible to each.
"The reality of the creation - reality in its broadest sense - is closely related to the fact that both fashioning and the embodiment are carried out through a finite medium. I use the word finite in place of material, though in a broad sense the two terms are interchangeable. However, common acceptance has given the word material a narrower connotation.
"These are all the elements collected together and stated of the creative act. What is necessary for the act itself? First of all, the creative intelligence must place himself in that current of cosmic harmony. This is a voluntary spiritual act. We may call it by various names - receptivity, openness to inspiration and the like. It is in essence, however, nothing so specific as receptivity to detail. It is the spiritual attitude and altitude.
"Next comes the filtration. The quality and kind of filtration is dependent upon the personal quality. It is a thing built up, a thing of development.
"Beside this attitude of spiritual receptivity is also one which is closely akin, closely analogous, but different in exact kind. One may call it, for this purpose, a psychic receptivity. In it one lays his hands upon the fashioned materials which he will employ in his arrangement. They must be received through an open heart; for the whole substance of harmony is the vibration in sympathy. That which is antipathetic is also a dissonance. The vision which forms within oneself is a compound of these two sorts of receptivity, molded and determined by individual genius and affinity.
"Inspiration is not a suggestion of detail ready formed. It is a pouring in of all essence in a vital stream, from which the creator segregates and absorbs those things appropriate to his vision, as the organs and functioning mechanisms and tissues of the body take from the homogeneous blood stream those elements only which make for their health and building. That is why a considered reaching up the stream toward the source, in a conscious grasping for what has been intellectually desired is futile, or even destructive. The mechanism of recognition, segregation, and absorption lies lower down in the wholeness of the human organism.
"Now this receptivity is not a mere opening of the door, as one opens the gates of a dam. You must recall that I said that the very first requisite was to place oneself in the current: and that means, not an opening, but a definite effort of aspiration. An aspiration is a spiritual effort. An intellectual reaching is a grasping for a definite and defined detail, the alleged need for which has been conceived by the intellect itself, which at this stage knows nothing of what it needs. Again analogously to the selection by the various tissues of the body from the blood stream, the creative faculty selects for itself those harmonies and those racially created fashionings which its genius builds into the elements of its new vision of creation.
"That is the forming of the mold. As it is a process of assimilation and reproduction, the delicacy of its development requires the comforting enwrapment of time and of brooding cherishing. Until the hour of its unfoldment its petals must not be pried open by the sharp fingers of intellect, nor forced by the hot breathing of haste. It must be allowed its due and graceful period of gestation before it can be brought forth for handling. It must be allowed to lie quiet, warmed by, one might say, a sort of suspended and reverent attention.
"During that period, from that second stream of inspiration, which we call psychic, details apparently isolated and unattached will float to it almost at random, until at last it stands ready for the intellectual fashioning. That is the second step of the process.
"It does not come to you if you have not placed yourself in the stream. The conscious elevation to that stream is the method of the mystic. The elevation may, however, take place by a culmination of spiritual efforts not consciously directed to this end. As to whether this is, or is not, normal, depends upon individual constitution.
"Aspiration is a quality, not an action. I must emphasize that except in the case of the mystic a conscious effort deliberately to place oneself in the current is exactly that intellectual reaching upstream against which I warned. The consciousness of that process depends upon the individual constitution. Some have no consciousness of it at all. Inspiration visits them unexpected, and apparently unsummoned. Others go so far as to place themselves in an attitude of attunement. Still others have some formula, simple or elaborate, and the rarer mystics of high development realize exactly what is forward. Sometimes the illusion of attunement or the lip service of the formula fails to produce the actual rising to the necessary spiritual height. In that case, since the person is not actually in the current, inspiration cannot flow in."
That is at least an interesting glimpse of the approach of the true artist to the point of production. But what has it to do with us ungifted mortals? Gaelic approaches that point. First of all he summarizes.
"The infinite universe is a flow of unbroken and unmanifested harmony" he repeats. Manifestation in the finite is an arresting for the purpose of visibility, so to speak, of that flow. That arresting can take place only by what we will call creative intelligence. Intelligence works in creation only by means of a conscious act of will. The act of creation is the setting in motion of a specific set of vibrations. That set of vibrations takes its form in manifestation according to the medium in which it is expressed. Its dynamics may be sufficiently powerful to carry it beyond its first medium of expression into other and different media, in which case the form of manifestation may be different. But it will be the same in power and degree of harmony.
"These be broad and general principles which will bear repeated examination and study."
So far this is what he has said before. But now he broadens the field. He for the first time makes it clear that he is not talking merely of what we call 'works of art.'
Any Manifestation whatever, that takes in, as far as we are concerned, everything in nature that we can see, hear, touch, smell, or in any other way perceive, everything with which we can come in contact - these things have been created, by an intelligence, in the manner he epitomized.
"The outward expression," he insists, "follows upon an inward creative fashioning. That inward creative fashioning, wherever exerted, in whatever form manifested, is always the same sort of thing: a tuning into the universal power, and a stepping down of that power into a degree that will manifest.
"The form of manifestation," he continues, "depends upon the conditions in the different media. A flower in a garden, for example, is in last analysis an indication that somewhere an intelligence has, with creative exertion, to the degree of that flower's perfection, succeeded in seizing upon and identifying itself with a portion of universal harmony."
So far the idea is not startling. But his next statement is arresting.
"That the manifestation has taken the form of a flower," he says, "does not necessarily mean that the originating creative intelligence has designed and constructed a flower. It may be that, in another medium, it has given voice and form to music, setting thus in motion dynamic circumscribed bits of creative harmony, which, carrying over into this earth medium, and encountering conditions favorable for that manifestation, produces itself as the colorful perfumed notes of a garden. And, vice versa, the music which one, in his best creative mood, has harmonized in creative vibrational bits, may well manifest itself over here in a pattern of color, conveying the same esthetic satisfaction in the one case as the other.
"It is this principle which lies back of the creative power of thought, though that is to some extent a misnomer. The creative power of fashioning imagination would be better. Whatever is so fashioned clothes itself - somewhere and somehow, now or later, in outward manifestation, simply because it has been given form and, like a mold, exists now where it did not exist before, capacious to be filled when conditions supply the materials for that filling. In this sense, therefore, no genuine creative effort is ever lost. It has produced a phase of harmony which has also existed in exactly that form before. It has added to the harmonious differentiation of the universe detailed bits that have heretofore had no existence. As we see it now, the circle in whatever is the understandable purpose will be rounded only when all potentiality is brought forth consciously and made evident. Furthermore, the potentiality itself is the intelligent creative act of the Great Originator.
"The fashioning dynamic creation of the opportunities of manifestation of these potentialities is the function of the finite universe and of the slowly climbing intelligence which it originates and of which it is composed.
"There are two aspects to note in the wee corollary which each human will apply to himself. The first is that no genuine creation is without result. A mold may be placed upon a shelf awaiting the molten in due time. But the shape exists in the universe where existence it had not before. Its eternal quality is not limited by the small manifestation of form which may at any one time be made by its means. The mold is intact for the uses of harmony at its need.
"The second aspect is that attention must be called to the fact that intelligence does not create harmony, but comes into attunement with harmony, which it can utilize only according to the power of its will to achieve."
"I stated," Gaelic returned to the subject at a later date, "that all manifested harmony is the product of creative intelligence which harmony itself has evolved.
"It follows, then, that only that degree is manifested as is consonant with the degree of intelligence in evolution. In other words, no outside intelligence penetrates or superimposes.
"In the early stages but a very simple harmony and a very simple manifestation is possible, for the reason that only a very simple intelligence has been evolved. The progressing evolution of intelligence is possible by one method only - the method of spiritual aspiration and struggle. To speak in scientific jargon, progression from the first simple element of hydrogen can take place only because within that element is the primordial striving of incompleteness toward completion, which is the first faint flicker of the ambition to evolve. That, arriving at creative fashioning, produces a bifold complexity in place of a uniform simplicity. That bifold complexity, reaching in a similar manner beyond itself, by the fling of its outreaching endeavor, so to speak, fashions at once the form and content of the next higher step in evolution.
"Thus the creative intelligence of the finite universe advances step by step with the physical manifestation, the one outpacing the other in equal turn. So we see both the material envelope and the intelligent content rising from original simplicity to increasing complexity and plasticity. The finite scheme of things, to use a homely phrase, is thus actually lifting itself by its own bootstraps. It has no more intelligence than it has itself evolved; and that evolution has been accomplished by its own unaided effort. Unaided, except for that mysterious divine dynamic impulse which has set the complicated scheme whirling and in it has infused the spark from the eternal.
"We come, then, to the corollary concept, that whatever exists of what you call material or immaterial, has at one time represented the highest possible creative intelligence of its period. It has also served as an embodiment for that intelligence. Mind ye, I say intelligence, and not personality. The two are not divisible in your personal point of view; but one is not indispensable to the other from the cosmic point of view."
Having established these first principles, Gaelic returns at still another meeting to elaborate one aspect of what he has said. As usual, he first summarizes. These frequent repetitions, we found, had enormous potency in giving us real possession of his concepts.
"Finite manifestation is, in inception, an idea. An idea, in rounded wholeness, is an harmonious arrangement. An harmonious arrangement is a product of creative imagination. Creative imagination is an attribute of intelligence. These are the premises of our evening's discussion.
"Harmony manifested in completeness results in beauty. The kind of beauty resultant depends upon the medium in which it clothes itself at the moment. An imaginative creative impulse, powerful enough in dynamics, may clothe itself in other medium than those employed in its original fashioning.
"All these things we have said before; but I epitomize in small compass for the more ready handling.
"Now we will take as an illustration a beautiful thing which seems most remote from the possibility of actual personal designing. Call from your recollection some particularly gorgeous and symmetrically balanced sunset painted across the sky. If you had been in a poetic mood, you might have said to yourself, 'What a master designer has limned the picture!,' but you would have said it with no thought of its being a literal truth. Nevertheless, no balance of structure in the design, no contrast or blending or harmony of color, no gradation of tone, but has actually been created by a designing intelligence. Nor could it there be present if an intelligence had not operated. That statement is literally true. And yet, if you therefore figure to yourself an artist planning out and fixing in the pigments of the skies the picture you see before you, you will be wrong. No intelligence, as far as we know, has the power to assemble those celestial phenomena to produce that exact thing. Nor does it necessarily mean that somewhere some artist has conceived or arranged the exact pattern and design you so much admire. But it does mean that somewhere, working in his own medium, some intelligence has creatively conceived a certain just and balanced arrangement of harmony which, expressed in sunset, produces this particular spectacle. I have used this as an illustration because it is so remote from the conception of a gigantic artist with a gigantic palette and brush.
"The same principle applies also to all other complete or nearly complete, and therefore beautiful, manifestations in all the universe. You have looked in a tome today* wherein are pictures of marvelously beautiful, though sometimes microscopic, columns and scrolls and arabesques and spear heads and many others, which, if designed and placed on paper by a pictorial or architectural artist, would arouse your admiration. Their balance and symmetry seem to exceed sometimes the best efforts of those artists. You exclaim, perhaps, in wonder over the marvelous artistry of nature, or perhaps of God if you are theologically inclined. Nevertheless, each of these forms is a result of careful and inspired design by an intelligent artist. This statement is not nullified by the probable fact that the originating intelligence had no such forms in mind. He had produced, stripped from clothing in any form of manifestation and considered in its pure abstraction, a harmonious arrangement heretofore noexistent. Now in his approach to that creation it mattered not whether he set out to draw the design for a seed or a cathedral or a symphony or a color arrangement or a poem. That depends on the personal idiosyncrasy of his genius or his opportunity. The medium was only the resistance necessary to the dynamics of his conception. The conception itself is the true object, whether he knows it or not. If the poem or the symphony were all, as he thinks, there would be only that one small material thing added to the treasure of the universe. But the creation of a new harmony pattern makes a possible seed pod, cathedral, symphony, painting, poem, and all other things of beauty that vibrate to it.
"You may say, as you did today, that the man might have obtained his architectural inspiration for his lofty building from the minute plant stock. If he had known of it! As far as the resemblance holds in beauty he did so. But not by reference to the microscope, but through the vibration of affinity to the original harmony arrangement from which both sprang.
"Now here is a very important point to note, lest someone should take my remarks off into mystic beatitude to construct therefrom false theory. The well-meaning person, filled with sweetness and light and higher resolve, who places himself as a light and luminary in the heavens to spread abroad an abstraction of beautiful harmony wherewith to saccarinize circumambience, accomplishes just the sum total of nothing! In the finite one cannot create with abstraction, but only through a medium. One must definitely work out his pattern of creation through some sort of medium. Without the inertia and resistance of a medium, dynamics lack - and the pattern is devoid of stability or persistence and endurance. The radiation of influence is real; but it is an after-product of accomplishment. It is an unconscious possession, not an end in itself to be attained.
"This is the reason for what seems at times bitter struggle, but which is at its best pleasurable functioning. Whether it seems to be one or the other depends not so much on the thing in itself as on one's understanding of it and attitude toward it. Enlightenment and understanding alone may change it from one to the other. Therefore, seek not to escape conditions but to search out understanding.
"Lack of beauty, ugliness, evil, whatever you choose to call it, is perfection so fragmentary that the conception of the whole of which it is part has not yet been built by any creative intelligence. It is the task of intelligence to eliminate ugliness and evil. That elimination, in the long run, comes not from suppression nor destruction, but from utilization in a larger and more comprehensive pattern to be creatively conceived. Complete elimination can come only with ultimate rounding out of the whole scheme; but partial elimination accompanies each cast forward of perception.
"In the contemplation of these things, the attitude of mind should be to attempt, as far as possible, at least to glimpse a larger whole to which they might belong. That is the basis of what we call tolerance. It is also what is meant when you are told to resist not evil."
The important subject of disharmony, here touched upon, was elsewhere elaborated.
"What you call disharmony," said Gaelic, "is merely partial achievement. Partial achievement is due, naturally, to deficiency in the instrument. For harmony itself is beautiful and complete. The creation of disharmony, to pursue the logical sequence further, can result in the creation of nothing eternal for the reason that it is merely incompletion; and incompletion cannot exist for a longer time than it takes for some other creative intelligence to tune in upon, and bring to manifestation, the complementing vibration, the added proportion that will round out and complete the mold left by the other. This is true of what you might even be tempted to call malevolent and evil creations. They are extreme examples of incompleteness. But they are, nevertheless, fragments of a harmonious entirety. They are ugly because they are partial. They will endure because they are truly products of creative intelligence, but they will not endure in their present form. Completed, they will be seen as the lesser curves of a beautiful whole. They will be completed only by the fuller contribution of more advanced and more able creative imaginations.
"To make it a more vivid personal example: it may well be that the creative work you do, while bringing into rounded harmony its own bit of gathered inspiration is also releasing, so to speak, harmonious vibrations which add their accretion to some present imperfection. These things also are not partitioned each into its one narrow field of influence. Your music - I mention music because it is a palpable vibration to you - is a piece of harmony plucked from potentiality. It sets in motion waves of that particular harmony through the manifested universe. I am altering the figure from the mold. These waves express themselves in your art as musical notes. They might express themselves, when their motion reaches or penetrates other conditions, as a trellis of beautiful flowers. I speak highly figuratively, you understand. In yet another medium it might be a particularly beautiful glow of light. The whole universe is a mutual back-and-forth, back-and-forth, helping and building, each assisting the other's completion but at the same time completing as well as it can its own. It is a beautiful woven interdependability. Every true spark you strike from out your own soul is a light that has not shone before and that shall never be extinguished."
But whether or not we, as creative intelligences, have contributed our bit in actual construction, it seems that we have each and every one of us a very definite and necessary contribution to make to the complete and rounded creative act.
"You have all known and appreciated the natural beauty of, for example, the great spaces of your desert land. You know the wide fling of their shimmering expanses, the tinted veils of their evening lights, and the brooding magic that distills from their presence before you as a perfume from a flower. Those emotions and aesthetic appreciations filter through your consciousness and become a portion of the awareness existing in the universal consciousness.
"But consider the same desert before the advent of those capable of such appreciation. The stark material embodiment was always there, the wide expanses, the uplifting mountains, the gray sage, the white dry alkali, the shimmer of heat waves, the shadow of cloud. All lay existent in stark materiality then as now. One thing only lacked in full measure, and that is the beauty I first mentioned. To such creatures as inhabit the waste its appearance corresponds solely with the response equipment of its kind. The lizard felt the warmth or the cold, became cognizant in its own way of such elements of its environment as suited its simple life, no more. The beasts that roam its plains saw each its own world in which veils of sunset, inspiration of shadow, appeal of space, of sun and mountain did not exist, except as such things represented material facts in their lives. The savage also, while a little more completely aware, still fell short of supplying, through his appreciation, the spirit of beauty which broods over those lands.
"Beauty exists there only when an appropriate response evolves it into the substance of thought. The many passed that way unseeing, wrapped in the discomfort of dust, of daily toil, of thirst and hunger and fatigue, and saw in it only a hinderment to travel and a labor to be overcome. The many would so continue to have passed were it not that some one among them, at some time, brought there the out-reaching spirit of appreciation and so for the first time introduced there beauty.
"Whether expressed on the painted canvas or in the words of a book, this ingredient of appreciation was made to function. It thereby placed, in the substance of thought, at the disposal of those of sufficient receptivity, a mechanism by which they might manifest that which otherwise had not existed before.
"This is a definite creative function. Each act of open and conscious appreciation, no matter how small, creates definitely a reality in cosmos, or else strengthens a reality already existent, by which it is easier for similar manifestations to take place. If this is a wholly new mechanism, one that has not heretofore been employed, it is as solid a movement in evolution as is the appearance of a new form - or a modification - in the physical world.
"For mark ye this; all advance has first been constructed in the substance of thought before it has been precipitated in manifestation. We took that up the last time, you will remember. It is the ordinary way of thinking to imagine that such a spiritual quality as beauty, say, must necessarily be inherent in certain combinations of physical things, whether, as you say, 'anybody ever sees them or not.' That is only partially true. Spiritual qualities in general are not things but responses; and unless the mechanism can be applied the spiritual quality does not function.
"I would say one other word on behalf of the unrecognized. Creative genius is, as you yourselves might discover, composed of two actions. These may conceivably be combined in one individual; or each may find its embodiment in a different individual. The conception of a thing must first be made in the substance of thought, and then precipitated in manifestation on your physical plane. This, as I say, may be combined in one individual, so that a man conceives his vision and embodies it.
"But not infrequently you have the spectacle of one who struggles frustrated throughout his life without arrival at the world's success. You have on the other hand the spectacle of one producing abundantly and beautifully, almost as it were by instinct, without labor, almost without taking thought, a child of good fortune. One is condemned as a failure; the other is almost revered in his success. Nevertheless, often the first - the failure - has made true his vision; and the other, the genius, has done no more than possess the open eye wherewith to see and the hand wherewith, unknowing to his own soul, to pass on.
"The measure of progress is not always the work of the hand, but is often the inner fashioning.
"The point I would make is that in daily life is a spiritual duty of appreciation, of open-hearted unfoldment to all that is, a walking with wide eye and receptive spirit. For in so doing you are carrying on more than your own pleasure, and more than your own selfish progress. The measure is the pushing on into resistance overcome."
There remains, it seemed, one final element to assure the newly created its endurance in the scheme of things.
"The inceptive function of the creative faculty," Gaelic freshened our memories, "is the assembling of already existent materials in a novel arrangement expressing an advance in spiritual content. Just as physical nature works out its evolved forms from antecedent and simpler forms, so works the creative faculty in those endowed with it.
"This creates a mold in cosmos, which may be filled with different content to manifest in diverse objective form according to its environment. The same original artistic concept in one plane of manifestation may be a musical composition; in another a magnificent sunset; in another a bright colored flower; or in still another an architectural poem. This principle has been elucidated before.
"While the creative composition may be conceived of value as placing in the cosmos at least new material for the evolutionary progress, its mere conception is only a first step. The second step is an assurance of its integrity by means of manifestation. It is not sufficient for the artist to compose his work subjectively, no matter how completely carried out the composition. To be sure, he has by that action drawn together in new arrangement to the establishment of a possibility which may, advantage, as material, another with sufficient perception to perceive and respond to it. That is so much to the good. But it is not established as a mold in cosmos until its outline has been surrounded and defined by a definite outward manifestation, accompanied by an exercise of that kind of productive faculty with which the artist is endowed.
"But also this is not sufficient for the rounded cycle of artistic achievement. There remain two more steps.
"The first is that contribution of appreciation on which, sometime since, we had a wee discourse. Without this repercussion, without this audience, so to speak, the mold lacks that sharp definition in the substance of thought which shall render it of sufficient universality to contain adequately material of another plane than that in which it was first conceived. In other words, your musical composition merely placed on paper and buried in a crypt without the knowledge of any but the originator without the contribution of appreciation of which we have elsewhere spoken, would lack the necessary element of transference, and so would never otherwise manifest as the flower or the sunset or similar expression of itself.
"So now we have the creative gathering and arrangement; the outward clothing in manifestation; and the repercussion back of the appreciative quality, there remains still one other necessary element to the wholly efficient working of this new thing in the world. It must, for its fullest use and effect, receive the solidifying influence of repetition.
"Each repetition of outward manifestation adds to the mold, so to speak, another microscopic lamina of containment. The mold gains strength and substance by use. This is the accrued value that inheres in the older created compositions that have stood the test of time on their authenticity as products of true creative imagination - the ratio of increasing influence.
"There is one distinction to be made. Repetition need not in all forms of art be repetition of too definite an outward seeming. It may be a repetition of the inner creative conception. It might avail little to copy repeatedly the outlines and color and tones of a particular picture. It avails much to repeat the inner vision that inspired it. A work of literature is repeated, of course, through its numerous copies, reaching thus its appreciation. But particularly in the realm of music the distinction obtains, for right here comes in the value of the interpretive artist. Through his individual rendition he is able to avoid the brittle hardening of the mold consequent or mere literal copying; and to contribute that flexible freshener of interpretation which will preserve its integrity.
"These four processes constitute the full cycle of artistic creation, though the word 'artistic' could well be elided. All true creation is an effort of art. To contribute value - and sometimes great value - it is not necessary that a single individual accomplish the complete cycle. His contribution may be one or another of the phases. The completest value, however - in the sense that only thus is the maximum of dynamics that coheres the mold - has a greater expectation of duration when it is the functioning of one man. Nevertheless, if it is not given to one to tread the whole circumference of the circle, he who courses a segment and passes on the torch has done a part.
"That is all."
But it was not quite all. After this compilation had been made and typed Gaelic returned to "enrich the corollary," as he expressed it. In this he dwelt on the practical applications, as it were, of the latter two of the processes - that of appreciation and that of repetition - and how we may, or must, utilize them in every day living.
"It is," he said, "a technique of the work which each may do in the substance of thought, as frequently, as regularly, and as easily as the breath is drawn.
"You have been told of the function performed, in the assurance of the creative act, by appreciation. We have considered it narrowly, as it applies to the knowledged artistic creation. We will now extend the conception to examine this function of appreciation in a man's daily environment.
"Each item of detail in that environment is a product of creative fashioning, brought into being in no manner differently than in the painting, the poem or the musical composition. It is the filling, by material manifestation, of the mold formed in the substance of thought by the creative intention of intelligence. Its eternal assurance depends, not on this material manifestation which perishes and passes, but upon the solid integrity of the mold that outlines the intention. That, as we have elsewhere explained, is contributed to by response, - the response of understanding appreciation. I speak literally when I say that he who in passing notes with sympathetic and pleasured eye the sheen of light upon the wayside flower, has not merely pleased his own aesthetic sense, but has made a small but definite contribution to whatever intention has brought it about.
"The deliberate, conscious, seeking appreciation of all by which you are surrounded and of all that life encounters, is more than a pleasurable functioning. It is an opportunity of contribution. It, so to speak, assists in repairing the wear of the mold, and in preserving it pristine for further manifestation.
"But it has more of a reciprocal action than you would first perceive. Life in consciousness is not a state of being, but a response. Without any response whatever, there can be no life. That is instinctively well understood, as is well evidenced by the figure of speech you use when you say that 'so-and-so is so dead to the world of music or of beauty' or of what-not. You mean that he has no response to them. So in your filling of your moments with appreciation you are receiving back from them more life.
"You are surrounded by so many possible response-mechanisms that, if you opened your consciousness to them indiscriminately, naught but confusion could result. So you have the power of opening your attention or of closing it down, as you draw the jalousies of a window. So easily is this done, and so gratefully does the laziness of your attention bask in this darkness that a bad habit is easily acquired of walking through your daily affairs from point to point of your necessities, veiled. On either side as you walk are the wee small unimportant beauties of fashionings created by the long slow processes which you know. Each is the wonderful and delicate flowering of the slow deep toil of intelligent intention. Each offers silently the gift it has for your spirit; and beseeches silently the waters for which it thirsts, and which response to its intention alone can supply. You may withdraw and withhold if you will, but to loss. I say 'loss' and not 'your loss' or 'its loss.' I say loss - of a possibility, small mayhap, but a loss none the less of what should be the fullness of the cosmic functioning.
"So I tell you, walk not shrouded; but look ye to right and left in open eye and heart, as a prince taking his ease, avid to receive and return his loyalties. You may take pleasure in your esthetic sense of the harmonies you perceive; you may also permit yourself a small glow of satisfaction that you are, in your small way, fulfilling, performing a definite function of the whole purpose.
"In our larger moments, with concentration of our powers, we trace our bit of the pattern as it is revealed to us; but in our smaller moments, without effort, with pleasure, we may also be working effectively, both to ourselves and to the Intention, in the substance of thought."
"So much for that which has been done. Now for the look forward upon that which is yet to do. You have looked upon the pleasurable things of beauty, but turn not your eyes away from those things which are misshapen in ugliness. They too cry out for the strengthening appeasement of appreciation. Here the appreciation must be commingled with what wisdom of creative understanding you may possess. We have in another discourse showed that ugliness, evil, disharmony are such only because of their incompleteness; that rightly viewed they are not finalities in themselves, but fragments of material awaiting their more comprehensive inclusion in a larger pattern by a more potent creative imagination. A portion of that creative imagination you must strive to infuse into your attention, so that, even if you cannot see the completed lines, nor can imagine what they shall be, at least in the fragment before you, you see the curve of a larger beauty.
"This is best done in the case of incompletion, not by an attempt at intellectual visualization, but by a sympathetic faith. Not understanding - but trust. It may seem fantastic to you, nevertheless it is true, that if you enter this feeling you have accomplished a portion. Not perhaps the structure, but at least the scaffolding within which the structure will rise.
"So, though you obey my admonition to open your eyes to the beauty about you, close them not against the thing that seems to lack. Your contribution we have defined. Your reward is, again, more life; but life in terms of expanding faith and confidence."
"We have dealt with the value, indeed the necessity, of appreciation as a consolidating function in the endurance of the created intention. We will now approach it from the angle of obligation," continued Gaelic.
"While the receiving into consciousness of the esthetic and understanding savoring of the underlying concept is an individual and valuable contribution, it is so incomplete that a strong instinct drives one further. This instinct is so insistent that it becomes an irking sense of incompletion. Incompletion, as always, means discomfort. So deep founded is this that often the facing of a beautiful object carries with its appreciation an almost aching sense. That uneasiness is allayed when the instinct is followed, and we share our appreciation with others.
"Our idea is that we would share the pleasure we are receiving. As a matter of fact, we are fulfilling the obligation of which I spoke. We are extending the possibility of the consolidating force which makes for endurance; are affording opportunity for the enfoldment of another lamina which shall render permanent the mold.
"So our discovery of whatever appeals to our responsive sense brings with it a responsibility to pass on the opportunity for the utilization of others. And since occasionally some chance of angle or fall of light makes ours the only eye to see, there is in such cases laid upon us also the duty of interpretative creation that will shift the concept into the visibility powers of others. Interpretative creation is thus a very high form of art, in that it implies a sympathetic understanding of the manifested intention: a clear-eyed understanding of one's own angle of view; and an intuitive understanding of the angles of view of one's fellow men. These be no inconsiderable endowments.
"To sum up this part - Appreciation is both an understanding and obligation of sharing. As a corollary, this latter obligation implies also, if one's powers extend so far, a reshaping into visibility for others.
"This obligation of sharing which is infused thus through all ordinary living, is manifolded in the case of the original creative artist. I have said that it is useless to make your form and hide it in a crypt. It must be placed within the eye of appreciation to draw to itself its containing affirment. That function is very analogous to the original placing in receptivity of the artist's own consciousness in fructifying his intention. It is not sufficient to withdraw the veil and stand aside in expectation of the chance passerby, It must be carried in joyful outheld hands, with the same eagerness of spirit, intent on sharing a newfound treasure, as that with which one runs from the fields flower-laden, avid to display his garnering.
"There is a fine line here to be drawn: the line that divides offering from demanding. You offer to attention: you cannot demand it. Nevertheless this distinction does not absolve you from holding before one and another and another in turn your fashioning, in test of recognition. You cannot sit, cowled and silent, in the obscurity of the market corner, torpid in a dumb faith that a time is appointed when one shall come.
"The area of legitimate search for the outlet to the necessary appreciation is curiously like what we call the circle of individual responsibility (see talk on Justice). It is like it in many ways. Within that circle dwells not only the absolute right, but the duty of search. Within that circle swarm those whose affinities do not vibrate to this occasion. Their attention may be called, but only by a great shout that shall startle them from their legitimate business. Among them you walk softly and offer in silence, testing for the spark of recognition. You may utter your shout an ye will, and you may call all eyes to you; and if your words be cunning, you may sell your ware. But you have stepped beyond the obligation of your sharing, and that which replies back is a crumbling doubt that makes no permanence.
"Nevertheless, because you see some that so shout their wares, pressing here and there until the whole world seems full of their insistences, that does not lift from you, on the risings of your disgust, the duty of moving in seemly dignity about your proper searchings. Until you have found the pedestal and placed upon it the work of your hands, until you have situated upon the fair pleasances where walk those whose eyes it can pleasure, then is your work as little deserving of your signature as though you had abandoned it rough-buried in the clay.
"You may not leave the children of your begetting upon the river bank, nor rest your searching until they are bestowed."
"Now," said Gaelic, having surrounded the subject as a whole, "we will return to the first step of creative fashioning and see what corollaries belong with it. The first step was the placing of oneself receptively in the current.
"You have already been told," said he, "that a mere opening, to receptivity is not enough; that you must make the spiritual effort to step into the flow. Once open to, once within the sweep of All-Consciousness, those things pertinent may be appropriated to your purpose.
"Your necessity of selection is narrowed by the magnetic affinity of your underlying intention; so that within the radius of your grasp are attracted by that affinity those matters which are applicable; and are deflected by the opposed polarity those things which have no appositiveness. In the pure form of that mechanics anything on which you may lay your hands would thus in some manner bear an integral relation to the pattern of the thing you would create. There would only remain to you the selection, from all the material possible to your capacity, such of it as is fitting to the compactness of the work you are at.
"Unfortunately this unadulterated purity cannot be expected from an organism as complex, and as partially in control, as the human entity in its present state of development. Subsidiary and untimely cross-purposes, perhaps imperfect, perhaps merely misplaced to the occasion, cannot be entirely eliminated to the point of negative polarity. They also attract their opposites, so that the artist is left selection, not only from abundance, but from the inappropriate.
"The richness of material swept by the current within reach depends on the displacement of the spiritual body of yourself that you plant within the stream. The eddies resultant are, wider or smaller in scope, and may circle wider and more inclusively, according to the bulk and weight that is the containment of your degree. The swirl of the small man has but small extent and power, and can deflect the attraction but few imponderables, with which he must build but an airy miniature of structure. Nevertheless, if he has worked in sincerity throughout, it will be a true and acceptable creation.
"The artistic sense of the most unskilled is able to distinguish - when the time of distinguishment arrives - between that which is drawn in affinity to his central concept and that, which drifts in answer to unsubduable or unsubdued adulterations of other purpose. So that one would not attach the tail of a fish, however beautiful in itself, to his picture of his dog. But the exact appropriateness of that which is drawn to the call of the central concept, is dependent, not upon the strength of desire, or ambition to accomplish, or upon a realization of need, but solely upon the steadfast purity of the intention.
"And, per contra, if the artist entertains the calmness of spiritual conviction that his intention is pure, then whatever presents itself for his creative consideration, he may rest assured, is proper material, no matter how ill-favored or dissonant or even destructive it may at first glance appear. It would be such only if attracted to a flickering or wavering central concept. Though darkness may be the cold containment of death, you would use its shadows to fill the supporting hollows in the nobility of your design.
"The containers of destructive influence, deterrent when held in the isolation of themselves, may be made subservient to higher purpose when justly incorporated into its design. That incorporation, moreover, is at least one step toward the dissolution of the ugliness of incompletion. It is in that respect also a truly creative contribution towards the unfoldment.
"Say the timorous, 'Touch not pitch, lest ye be defiled. I would not handle these destructive forces lest their repercussion upon myself would destroy me.' And so indeed they might were you to grasp them in your own weak person unsupported by the cleansing inner fire of purpose that warms them to pliancy. If in your work such dismaying things present themselves, examine not their unmodified influence; examine not the steadfastness of your own spiritual fire to measure against them; but search upon the strength of purity of the intention that has evoked them. If that be true and nobly tall, then perchance these darker figures, that loomed at first so large, will be seen to be but the fragments to set in the mosaic of its pediment.
"'These be things of evil,' say you, 'that come to me for expression, and I am afeared of them and what they may do to me,' and you hide behind avoidance. But before you dismiss them, enquire why they come, why they demand expression. Seek in yourself whether you know what expression they demand. Is it of themselves and the evil you think you see within them? Or is it a grasping for the chance of expression in a greater whole? If they seem to overtower you, so that you be ascared for your own integrity if you entertain them for use, glance behind you to the shaft of your endeavor - and behold it overtops you both! On the painter man's palette are all colors - the light and the dark. If he limns his picture only with the white and the gold, then will men cry on him, 'Insipid!' and will not look. To select for your creation only that which, unrelated, you call high and noble, omitting the aidment of the darkness which cries for use, that is, in more senses than one, an avoidment of opportunity.
"The only criterion you can put yourself as to what I called the purity of original intention is not an intellectual examination of motive, but an orientation of inner being toward a hunger or desire to produce something - comprised within the limitations of the present project - that shall be an expression of ultimate harmony.
"All this that we have said applies to all the created work in the finite universe, as it has evolved to its present state of development, from the simplest of material elements to the highest response-mechanisms of the All-Conscious in finite embodiment. These things have been created by intelligence, self-evolved. Anything that intelligence makes is fashioned by these methods. One of the most important and responsible objects of your own creative powers is yourself. That method in that task, also you employ. You employ it in every moment that is actually creative. That method, and that method alone, is your tool for the fashioning of your whole life as well, now and forever after, until, in the mysterious rounding to a conclusion of whatever the Great Purpose may be, your handiwork will be fitted into the finite Completion. Therefore, study it well; for its application, and for the comfortableness of its assurance, is fitting to all occasions."