Last week something was going through my head, the question above to be precise. As I asked the question in my head, the answer seemed obvious to me. When one creates an object using no physical materials, then the creation is not physical. It is mental, and such thus is the creative process. One is creating a mental object out of mental materials, or a spiritual object out of spiritual materials.
Ever since my brother and I were children, it seems we were defined by a desire to creative our own narratives, stories, characters, and universes. If we have anything in common, it is the impulse for creation (though I think of myself as more attentive to the mystical layer of this than my brother).
Constantly we would play out stories and fictional events between us, create characters and environments, and I would often create avatars of myself for the sake of putting myself in the story. Interestingly, my brother seems to be less reluctant than me to employ the idea of the author avatar.
The impulse for creation runs through my life and his, and has never stopped, nor shall it.
When playing and thinking about the Dynasty Warriors games, I can’t help but think of the idea of the rulers of each kingdom creating a new world of their own design out of the turbulence of the current state. Different warlords and their armies fighting for a different vision to carve the land into.
The games present you with the ambition of each of the leaders of the three kingdoms (Cao Cao of Wei, Liu Bei of Shu, and Sun Quan of Wu), and perspectives of what they want the land to be (the newer titles, believe it or not, seem to do this well). Whether I play as an officer or as a leader, it feels like I am blazing forth a vision.
Keep in mind this is from a story perspective. The gameplay perspective has me as a conqueror of the battlefield.
Anyone with a basic knowledge of Hinduism knows that in Hinduism there is a trinity of gods presiding over the creation, preservation, and destruction of the universe. Brahma for creation, Vishnu for preservation, and Shiva for destruction. I can’t but think there’s something rather odd about the concept.
Think about it, the forces of creation, destruction, and preservation are divided into three gods, but this is somewhat pointless because Shiva’s destruction is also said to lead to creation, so invariably Shiva is a creator and destroyer in one. Not to mention, Brahma doesn’t have that great a role in Hindu mythology after creation, beyond granting boons to various characters in Hindu texts. As far preservation, Vishnu isn’t even the only one preserving the universe or saving the world from evil demons. Shiva, Durga, and other gods do by and large the same thing (maybe in different ways though), and Vishnu has an avatar called Kalki who is said to bring on the end of the world, while in the same lore Shiva is the destroyer (though I do consider the Kalki story mere end times lore).
The Hindu faith itself sees creation and destruction as two sides of the same coin, or dual facets of the same force, so coupled with Shiva’s creative role, why even have the Trimurti? Of course, I’m not going to stop others from venerating their trinities, it just means I won’t be making use of the Hindu trinity.
For a few weeks now I’ve been thinking about the Hindu goddess Kali. How her skin captures light and darkness at once, how her violent dance encapsulates creation and destruction and life and death at once, and how here raging passion is the passion of the earth, and the universe.
Since Kali is a manifestation of Durga, and Durga is a manifestation of Parvati, and Parvati is Shakti, then Kali is Shakti, and she is a representation of the power of Shakti. And Shiva is the male Shakti, Shiva and Shakti are male and female reflections of each other and the same primal force. Thus, the dance of Shiva is also the dance of Kali, and the motion of the primal force.
I can’t help but imagine Kali burning down the churches of the Abrahamic faiths.
I was reading some fine articles about an Indian symbol known as the Kirtimukha, a fierce devouring monster that is found on the entrance of temples in parts of Asia. I read about what the Kirtimukha represents, how it symbolizes not just violent energy utilized for noble ends such as protection, but also how life lives on life and life and death as brothers and sisters two sides of the same coin.
Destruction and death are the other side of creation and life. Among the primary obsessions of the human psyche are sex and death, and creation and destruction (which I admit to have a great interest). These things are all two sides of the same coin. It’s like yin and yang and how they are two sides of the same coin.
As soon as I thought of life deriving itself from life, and life and death as two sides of the same coin, I could not help but think of these ideas as striking a cord with me and my way of thinking. It made sense to me and it was very familiar to me. I was already familiar with it for a few years and did not find it hard to accept. Sex, life, creation, destruction, and death all come from the same raw and primal force that runs through all life. The horned force, the Chaos, the primal force that I praise. You can liken it to Shiva’s dance of creation and destruction, and the dance of Kali.
I’ve also been thinking of these ideas in relation to how Satan is also represented in Satanism as the dark force in Nature. It is something interesting to considering life feeding on life and the relation of that to the duality of creation and destruction, and the relation of that to the primal force. In fact, I feel that Satanism, espeically the Church of Satan, understands this well.
I once watched the commentary on this idea given by the Christian priest Rolf Rasmussen, the assistant minister of the Asane church in Norway, on the Norwegian black metal mini-documentary from the Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey DVD. There is something he does not understand very well. He views the idea of the dark force in nature as parasitic because it is life that derives from others. He does not understand that life invariably derives from life. And if you’re not comfortable with that idea then contemplate this: every bit of food you have ever eaten has invariably come from an organism that was once alive, be it an animal or a plant. The same goes for all creatures, they all sustain their life by devouring another organism. The only exception would be plants or bacteria getting their nutrition from earth, water, and sunlight, and they’re eaten by something else too. And don’t kid yourself about man being special, for if it weren’t for our intellect and our species adapting to survive in the way that we did, mankind could easily be the prey of any other predatory animal, and we still get picked by other organisms occasionally.
In modern times we have lost touch with this truth, thus not only do we fear death more than ever, even to the point that we try to deny it from existence, but we also end up craving more violent media in the 20th and 21st centuries than before, such as violent movies, video games, and music (not that I have any complaints about violent media beyond some distaste towards slasher movies, extreme gore, and death metal, doesn’t mean I want it banned though).
Life deriving itself from life, life and death being two sides of the same coin, creation and destruction two sides of the same coin, these are ideas that I am familiar with, and I don’t seem to have a problem dealing with it.
Art is very likely to reflect the world surrounding the artist, and his/her sentiments, experiences, and even the prism through which he/she sees the world. It is because of this that art inevitably acquires the ability to be used as a medium to affect society. There are a number of voices both in the present and the past who argue that art exists as a medium for social change and consciousness. But this argument is nonsense because it ignores the many other ways art could be used.
At its heart, art-making is about creation, it’s about physically expressing something in creative means. Those who say it exists only for the sake of social change and consciousness ignore art as a means of personal expression and feelings, of spirituality, or other non-political purposes. Not all art is protest, nor should it have to be.
In my personal opinion, artists should make art for themselves, and for the sake of their own passion for art, their feelings, and the desire to create and express something dear to them. If they devote their careers to serve society, then they are no longer creating art for themselves or for their own sake.