_you are not a machine

So here I sit, pondering as I do on the creative process.

Process. What a stupid word for the human condition and our expression of it, all beautifully messy and unpredictable. Who thought that one up?

Today, this post goes out to anyone who is stuck and feeling a bit brain dead, perhaps (like me) with a ‘wading through treacle’ feeling after a little while of working really hard and breathing life into lots of quite empty spaces. It’s really tiring work, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re struggling to find a ‘process’ here to rock you into even more action. You don’t need action. You need a break.

No, it’s not rocket science or brain surgery. But in the course of trying to make the world a better place, creating and making and doing in order to encourage dialogue can be a humbly noble thing in our complicated world.

A wise man once said that to reduce human experience to mere process is to render us as machines, or something like that. Machines, my friends, we are not.

We feel things, and we communicate out of our empathies.

Moved to fairly generous tears by sound and vision this week, I left a huge theatrical moment on Wednesday night—Joy Division Reworked—rocked by the emotional statements that had come soaring around our heads through the layers of music and projected images. A very powerful use of instruments and film with enough heart and empathy to sweep us off our feet. It was truly incredible; disarming, even.

I’m not sure our work with creating has anything at all to do with process. Sure, there’s a physical process to using tools, but they just serve the heart don’t they? So you have to work at staying connected and in tune with why you pick up those tools in the first place. Whether making or absorbing, this is about unique connections between lifelong experiences and poetic symbols we find in the world around us. Some connections resonate more than others, and some combinations—for no reason anyone could have known—shine particularly brightly, and cause the eyes to leak.

A creative person is not subject to process, as convenient as that would be. You are not a machine, and therefore, you have permission not to perform like one.

If the creative person in your world is being a bit slow on the draw at the moment, give them as much of a break as you can and encourage them to go and stare at a blank wall for a bit.

Or if it’s you, please, come and share my blank wall:

5 thoughts on “_you are not a machine

  1. Interesting post Lala. I'm with you on most of it, except I really like the word process to describe us. It isn't such a bad word. Stanley Keleman writes:

    'At this stage in the evolution of society, our psychology and philosophy of man stand in the same place, I believe, in which Newton stood in relation to Einstein. Man is described in ways linked to the old physics: man as an object, man as a robot with a spirit, man as a mind/body dualism, as a mechanistic accident. But man is not a machine with a mind or with a spirit. He is a complex biological process that has many realms of living and experiencing.

    'When we conceive of ourselves as living process, we can talk about the aspects that we see as part of our living functioning: thinking, feeling, gesture, satisfaction, sexuality, dependency, individuality, community, love and inner vision. Then we see that our organismic life, our life process is the ongoing orchestration of a multiplicity of events. And we are struck by the fact that from these events we form a unity, a direction, a cohesive life that continually shapes and reshapes itself in the many realms of its functioning.'

    Somatic Reality, Stanley Keleman, p21-22

    This is where I got my Twitter handle 😀 x

  2. Of course Robbie! Put like that it is a beautiful thing. Until now I've only heard of it as a formulaic, predictable set of actions but the way process is described here makes me want to wallow in it!

    Thanks so much for sharing x

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