In his thesis “Approaching the Unconsciousness”, Carl Jung argued that ultimately, the creative process is not about making objects, but rather it is about the (re)discovery of ourselves, about becoming an artist of the very act of living. Jung argued that object oriented art focused on expression of self is influenced by ego, but a higher art is one in which the effort is focused on the conveyance of ideas for the benefit of the beholder: not necessarily the artist.
If consciousness is the higher and truer function of feelings, intuition and sensation and conscience is the higher and truer function of thoughts, then the quest for creativity is the search for the awakening of consciousness and the gradual uncovering of the voice of conscience, long buried due to our conditioned upbringing.
In her thesis “The Process of Individuation”, Jungian scholar Marie Louise von Franz suggested that the principal of deepening connections between our consciousness and our conscience takes us both downward and inward, and upward and outward. The farther that we can penetrate the depth of ourselves, the more that our vision and experience can extend outward. However, Franz argues there are two reasons why one loses contact with (or fails to connect with) the regulating center of the soul:
- Some single instinctive drive or emotional image can carry one into a one-sidedness that makes one loose ones balance – a loss of soul.
- Although a disciplined consciousness (ego) is necessary for the performance of civilized activities, it has the serious disadvantage that it is apt to block the reception of impulses and messages coming from the center.
Jung argued that dreams are symbols of our inner, (un)conscious self, but warned that although paying attention to our dreams, instead of living in a cold, impersonal world of meaningless chance may allow us to begin to emerge into a world of our own [self], full of important and secretly ordered events, the emerging of self may bring great danger to the ego consciousness. For example, although the shadow side of our self could be an impulse towards growth that one should cultivate and follow, it may also be an evil instinctive drive that one ought to overcome.
While the search for creativity can therefore be fraught with danger, the journey is essential if our creations are to be true manifestations of our connection to the world around us.