Love vs Power?

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr.:

“…Now a lot of us are preachers, and all of us have our moral convictions and concerns, and so often have problems with power. There is nothing wrong with power if power is used correctly. You see, what happened is that some of our philosophers got off base. And one of the great problems of history is that the concepts of love and power have usually been contrasted as opposites – polar opposites, so that love is identified with a resignation of power, and power with a denial of love.

It was this misinterpretation that caused Nietzsche, who was a philosopher of the will to power, to reject the Christian concept of love. It was this same misinterpretation which induced Christian theologians to reject the Nietzschean philosophy of the will to power in the name of the Christian idea of love. Now, we’ve got to get this thing right. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love. And this is what we must see as we move on. What has happened is that we have had it wrong and confused in our own country, and this has led Negro Americans in the past to seek their goals through power devoid of love and conscience…

…And I say to you, I have also decided to stick to love. For I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind’s problems. And I’m going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn’t popular to talk about it in some circles today. I’m not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love, I’m talking about a strong, demanding love. And I have seen too much hate. I’ve seen too much hate on the faces of sheriffs in the South. I’ve seen hate on the faces of too many Klansmen and too many White Citizens Councilors in the South to want to hate myself, because every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces and their personalities and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we are moving against wrong when we do it, because John was right, God is love. He who hates does not know God, but he who has love has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality…”

Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Atlanta, Georgia
16 August 1967

Where does creativity come from?

I am reading Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet by Matthew Fox.  The book is provocative, as is its author. (Fox, a proponent of Creation Spirituality, was censured by the Vatican, officially “silenced”, and dismissed from the Dominican order)  To illustrate, the title of Chapter 5 asks the question:  “Is original sin the refusal to create, and is redemption the liberation of creativity?” I haven’t gotten as far as Chapter 5 yet, but I am interested to read Fox’s answer.

Back in Chapter 3 (“Where does creativity come from?”) which I read earlier today, the following quote struck me:

“Artists need an inner life just like everyone else.  They also need an outer life, that is to say, a cosmology, an awareness of how we got here and what “here” constitutes in its holy vastness and its unimaginable diversity and creativity.”

As I thought about this concept, two artists whose work has had a significant impact on me came to mind.  The first is Faith Ringgold, whose story quilts offered an entirely new idea of art and the artist’s role to me when I viewed them for the first time in the late 1980s.  The second is my cousin, Stephanie Failmezger.  Stephanie has created a medium she calls “bead mosaic”, which is unique and which she often uses to express her cosmology.  Her latest piece, made up of 24 3-inch beaded quilt squares promises to bring together her influences (such as Mexican art) and the profound spiritual vision underpinning her artistic vision.  While Stephanie and I don’t share the same cosmology, the appeal of her work is that this subtext is expressed so eloquently that her pieces can, literally, be read on many levels.  They speak to the heart even while the mind is grappling with the technique used.

While I don’t have any hard and fast answers to the question asked in the title of this entry, I do believe that it is worth asking not only where creativity comes from, but who is the one doing the creating?  These are questions I am trying to answer for myself.

(I encourage you to check out Stephanie’s work at the following link )