In Part One of this series, Spotted Eagle discusses the Principle of Vision, describing how “vision” is different from a goal and how great visionaries see their world. In this post, he discusses how limitation and uncertainty serve our creative vision.
When we look at the roots of the word conceive we learn that it comes from the Latin words that mean to join and to take. Clearly this infers something important about the conceiving that vision facilitates. Vision brings something together. It joins something that was once not connected, and through this process, it produces a result that is not merely the sum of its parts; it is something original.
When we conceive of something that does not yet exist, the fruit of this is inspiration. Here again, we can discover important clues in the root of a word. The word inspiration comes from the Latin word which means to breathe. Inspiration can be seen as the means by which we breathe life into what we conceive. We are inspired to take an action, to do something, to actualize that which we have conceived with our vision. This is a very different process from fantasizing about an imaginary future, setting a goal, and then devoting our efforts in an attempt to make the future conform to our goal.
For example, were we privy to the creative process of a cabinetmaker who is considering what to do with a very fine and rare piece of wood, we would be able to see a vision—the conception, inspiration and actualization— process in action. We would notice that the craftsman first observes and appreciates the wood’s possibilities. The board itself is something concrete and tangible.
However, it is this board’s potential which suggests something to the craftsman. He conceives something which brings together the board and an idea in his imagination, inspired by both the board’s potential and by its natural limitations. There may be a number of potential forms which this board inspires, but what finally dictates the craftsman’s choice is the essential nature of what it is he would like to create from this board and the purpose he would like the finished form to serve. If the purpose to be served by the finished object is to hold a collection of books, the craftsman will make his choice to create a book shelf, and he might design the shelf from a foundation of essence qualities like utility, versatility, durability and beauty.
Now, a very intriguing thing occurs when the craftsman takes his idea from conception to actualization. Artists and craftsmen understand something about the creation process which may be totally absent from the goal-based endeavor, and that is uncertainty. When we are trying to actualize something original from a vision, the unexpected, the unforeseen and the unanticipated are sure to affect the creation. The master craftsman does not flinch at this prospect. He understands that uncertainty and how he responds to the unexpected will help him to fashion a work of art into something unique and original.
In Part Three, Spotted Eagle describes how limitation, uncertainty, purpose and essence are vital to any intention that has the potential to deliver a fulfilling outcome.