Form and creativity

Form does not limit creativity. It is the vessel in which creativity abides. It is the synergistic flesh through which the breath of creativity breathes. Form is the proof of creativity; its standard; its only evidence.

Creativity is precisely the act of in-forming matter with idea.

9 Responses

  1. Have you read von Balthasar’s first volume in The Glory of the Lord? It gave me a new perspective to contemplate on the place of form in the West since Scholasticism and especially since the 16th century Revolution in Religion.

    Modernism (and even especially Protestanstism) has abandoned Beauty, and therefore does not understand Form. Calvin was an iconoclast. And Calvin has been far more influential to American culture and religion than say Thomas.

    • Is that the volume about form? I’ve wanted to read that for years but it’s so hard to get through when one has to run a business.

      Oh for the time to do my job!

      • Indeed it is about form. Volume 1 is subtitled: Seeing the Form.

        The Forward begins: “We here attempt to develop a Christian theology in light of the third transcendental, that is to say: to complement the vision of the true and the good with that of the beautiful.”

        And since beauty is located at the intersection of form and splendor, there is much to grasp about form.

        Here he is in the Introduction:

        “We no longer dare to believe in beauty and we make of it a mere appearance in order the more easily to dispose of it. Our situation today shows that beauty demands for itself at least as much courage and decision as do truth and goodness, and she will not allow herself to be separated and banned from her two sisters without taking them along with herselft in an act of mysterious vengeance. We can be sure that whoever sneers at her name as if she were the ornament of a bourgeois past – whether he admits it or not – can no longer pray and soon will no longer be able to love.”

        Balthasar should not be missed. He is the most learned man I have ever encountered. He single handedly rediscovered for the West the towereing genius of Maximus the Confessor.


      • Idler,

        Have you read Balthasar’s book on St. Maximos? Or does he talk about it in his Dogmatics?

  2. Good one.

  3. It would be nice if your insight about form and creativity could be transmitted to today’s educators. Unfortunately, form, whether in the fine arts or literature or anywhere else, is denigrated in our schools/faculties of education and teachers are no longer trained to respect or expose children to the wonders of form in any domain.

    • Gloria,

      I believe you are right and that this is at the very essence of what has happened to our children’s minds. You are probably well aware that our word form comes from the Latin word forma, which means “idea.”

      Following the extreme empiricism of Dewey and the Pragmatists, modern public thinkers and education philsophers tend not to believe in ideas.

      Therefore, they find nothing to give form to. And they have nothing for children to think about.

      Result: a cultural catastrophe of the first order in which children are unable to perceive beauty or think a clear thought.

      Jefferson trembled over the injustices of slavery and his countries future. I am no Jefferson, but I tremble over our future when we are able to perceive the most basic intellectual realities.

      • Let me add that teachers are also so obsessed with process (practical things!) that they also are, let us say, weakened in their capacity to contemplate ideas or teach their children how to do so.

  4. very good point

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