As a kind of experience or knowledge, the creative act originates within a distinct intellectual process. Steeped in imagination and emotion, preconceptual mental functioning is a primary requirement of spiritual creativity.
“In this knowledge through union or inclination, connaturality or congeniality, the intellect is at play not alone, but together with affective inclinations and the dispositions of the will, and as guided and shaped by them.” – Jacques Maritain
Creative intuition is contained in the spiritual free life of the intellect as a kind of humble revelation, flourishing in its unforgettable individuality in a particular spark of reality. Without parallel in logical reason, an external existence and the internal self are together obscurely embraced.
“Poetic knowledge is as natural to the spirit of man as the return of the bird to his nest; and it is the universe which, together with the spirit, makes its way back to the mysterious nest of the soul.” – Jacques Maritain
Outer and inner
An individual human being perceives the self only through a personal relationship to external awareness. Thus, the primary obligation of artistry is pursuing the vague knowing of subjectivity. This subjectivity is indissoluble from the apprehension of outer and inner experience, not by means of concepts, but by means of an obscure knowledge through affective union.
“Nature is visible spirit; spirit is invisible nature.” – Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling
Present in advance
The closer artworks come to the sources of poetry, the more they reveal artistic subjectivity. Yet the substance of human life is obscure, as the soul manifests only in the flowing multiplicity of passing phenomena that emerge from and are attained by reflective consciousness.
“ For poetry means first of all an intellective act which by its essence is creative, and forms something into being instead of being formed by things: and what can such an intellective act possibly express and manifest in producing the work if not the very being and substance of the one who creates?” – Jacques Maritain
Forms into being
Subjectivity in its deepest ontological sense is essential to art. As obscure as introspection may be, the intrinsic obligation is to create by passing through the door of self-knowledge.
“This is a very complicated case Maude. You know, a lotta ins, a lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous. And, uh, a lotta strands to keep in my head, man.” – Dude
In the spiritual unconscious, free creativity exists in a state of definite intellectual actuation, apart from the conceptual knowledge process. This preconceptual knowledge is active, immanent in and consubstantial with art, one with its very essence. Free creativity tends to engender in transcendental beauty and involves infinite possible options and realizations.
“Intuition is the indifferentiated unity of the perception of the real and of the simple image of the possible.” – Benedetto Croce
Enveloped in the light
Shaped by intuition, the free animation of the intellect is also cognitive and productive. It obeys an inner directive of consideration and expansion propelling toward creative spiritual manifestation. In this vital origin, where spiritual powers are active in common, innovation implies an essential requirement of totality or integrity.
“The first obligation imposed on the poet is to consent to be brought back to the hidden place, near the center of the soul, where this totality exists in the state of a creative source.” – Jacques Maritain
Active in common
The spiritual unconscious life of the intellect expands the bounds of rational knowledge. In this way, it operates outside theory and idea production and beyond conceptualized externals of reason. At the single root of the soul’s powers, in this free intellectual realm, the imagination roams.
“Poetry is the fruit neither of the intellect alone, nor of imagination alone. Nay more, it proceeds from the totality of man, sense, imagination, intellect, love, desire, instinct, blood and spirit together.” – Jacques Maritain
Under the attraction
Externals of reason
The powers of sense perception are enveloped by imagination, which is within the realm of intelligence. Churned and activated by intuition, all these mental modalities comprise a unified intellect.
“For we do not think that we know a thing until we are acquainted with its primary conditions or first principles, and have carried our analysis as far as its simplest elements.” – Aristotle
Hidden in the spiritual unconscious, the common root of the powers of the soul dwells. In this integral unconscious activity, the intellect, imagination, desire, and emotion are all engaged. The senses exist in man to serve imagination, and through imagination, intelligence.
“Of itself poetic intuition proceeds from the natural and supremely spontaneous movement of the soul which seeks itself by communicating with things in its capacity as a spirit endowed with senses and passions.” – Jacques Maritain