Local meaning effect
In practical knowledge, there is an essential distinction: moral activity as human actions done and creative activity as works made. Morality pertains to doing, making use of human free will, on which depends man’s action of being virtuous or evil. On the other hand, art pertains to making that depends on whether the artwork is excellent or awful.
“Art is intellectual by essence, as the odor of the rose pertains to the rose, or spark to fire. Art, or the proper virtue of working reason, is–in the realm of making–an intrinsic perfection of the intellect.” – Jacques Maritain
Action brought about
To sum up, for the speculative intellect the goal is merely knowledge, while for the practical intellect the goal is action. Thus in the case of speculative knowledge, desire only determines what subject is under consideration. However, in practical knowledge desire plays an essential part in the very working of knowledge. These two different motivating forces change the nature of truth.
“The good that art pursues is not the good of the human will but the good of the very artifact.” – Jacques Maritain
The distinction between poetic art and practical art is paralleled with a distinction between two different ways in which the intellectual capacity of the soul exercises its activity. Articulated by Aristotle, the first and primordial division recognized in intellectual activity is the split between the speculative/theoretical intellect and the practical intellect. The speculative intellect seeks knowledge only for the purpose of knowledge, with its goal the grasping of truth. The practical intellect seeks knowledge for the purpose of action. Its desire is not truth grasped, but rather human activity governed and human ventures accomplished. In this way, it is engaged in creativity.
“As a result, truth, in speculative knowledge, is the adequation or conformity of the intellect with Being, with what things are.” – Jacques Maritain
Thrill of the sublime
Natural beauty intensifies when it is laden with emotion full of knowledge. Also of important relevance, the impact of emotional knowledge need not be operative in consciousness. This is because unexpressed significance and unexpressed meanings unconsciously put pressure on the mind. This pressure plays an important part in aesthetic feeling and in the perception of beauty.
“It is not enough to consider the mutual entanglement of Nature and man in relation to aesthetic feeling or the perception of beauty. What matters to us is the mutual entanglement of nature and man–let us say, the coming together of the World and the Self–in relation to artistic creation.” – Jacques Maritain
The commonplace becomes normal only through rehearsed iteration. By releasing presuppositions, on closer observation special and distinctive features resurface. In the spiritual unconscious there is a preconceptual mental activity playing an essential part in the genesis of creativity.
“A poet is a light and winged thing, and holy, and there is no invention in him until he has become inspired, and is out of his sense, and reason is no longer in him.” – Plato
The shapes of things interpenetrate before my eyes on an uphill climb heading west. Symbols made in a flash emanate from the mind. The operation in question is essentially a process of enfranchisement.
“Now the knowledge of the artificer is the cause of the things made by his art from the fact that the artificer works by his intellect.” – St. Thomas Aquinas
Facets of a single vision
Turns back on itself
Early mornings on the Outer Banks are exceptional in character, providing experiences full of wonder and appreciation. As explained by Jacques Maritain, the great spectacles of wild Nature produces in us a certain feeling that is projected by us into things, while being reflected back upon us by them.
“To construe art means to determine its position in the universe.” – Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling
After several years of walking one of my longer local routes, at one point along the way I decided to climb under a barbwire fence to explore some new territory. What I found is a small patch of prairie that more closely resembles what western Missouri looked like before massive human disruption. The calm feeling associated with the undulating grasses, blowing in the wind, are similar to an ocean oscillation observed from the shore.
“The creative Self of the artist is his person as person, in the act of spiritual communication, not his person as material individual or as self-centered ego.” – Jacques Maritain
Field of consciousness
On an autumn walk in the neighborhood, metaphysical distinctions are accentuated by seasonal identity transformations. As daylight hours shorten and air temperatures cool, pigments other than chlorophyll become predominant, theatrically affecting the visual environment. Because different deciduous species chemically adjust at dissimilar rates, the pageantry is ever evolving.
“Since poetic intuition is born in these recesses, where the intellect, the imagination, all the powers of the soul suffer in unity some reality of existence brought to them by intentional emotion, it involves first of all a certain alert receptivity.” – Jacques Maritain
Creative intuition depends on a natural freedom of the spirit igniting imaginative faculties supported by intellectual strength. It is the durational culmination of all existent contingences at the precise moment of aesthetic awareness. This alert receptivity connects to an inner emotional experience.
“It is not enough for a painter to be a clever craftsman; he must love to ‘caress’ his canvas too.” – Pierre-Auguste Renoir