Mind Matters

by Rev. Robert H. Tucker

Number 242
April 21, 1997

On Human Energy and Creativeness


The excitement of the geologist hovering over his seismic map grew with each squiggly line. Part of his excitement was the answers he could now give to potential investors risking their hundreds of thousands and millions to drill for oil. But something more was at work. Passion and craftsmanship. Intuition, added to accumulated data, produces a squiggly-line map that only a geologist could love. But love it he did.

Living with a composer, I frequently and repeatedly (and repeatedly) hear musical phrases on the piano, each nuance attempting to find its place in the construction that gives a piece of music that quality of inevitability from the initial measure to the final note. Passion and craftswomanship at work.

It is said that creativity is 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration. I believe it. For the creative person, ideas just come to mind. But giving visible shape to an idea in a way that is truly expressive of the vision is work, sometimes excruciatingly painful mental and physical work.

What is also painful is that after all the work is done, there is always a sense of incompleteness over what one has produced. The reason is clear: material from can never fully, totally represent an original idea or vision. "Risking spirit in substantiation" is how Robert Frost described it in his poem, Kitty Hawk.

Frequently, I pass quick judgment on the paintings in an art museum. I am oblivious to the artist's struggles to bring her or his vision into a particular conscious reality, just as I, similarly, so often pass by other creations all around me. Yet, when aware of the chef finding the right combination of taste and beauty, the geologist hovering over and perfecting his interpretation of those squiggly-line maps, the musician giving visible shape to sound, and even the parent engaged in person-making, I stand in awe of this world of human energy and creativeness.


--Robert H. Tucker
21 April 1997


© Robert H. Tucker, 1997.
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