Who Are An Artist?
first published May 2018
The grammar jars. As it jars too, when the artist finds her self-talk sounding like a dysfunctional committee. The inner critic wants to make his opinion heard, the childlike part that’s sensitive to criticism is whimpering, the inner accountant is concerned with profit and loss, the rebel is angry, the very earnest member of the team is asking nervously about authenticity, the keeper of the habits is stubbornly refusing to budge… and so on.
Neuroscientists and psychologists have tried to pin down the existence of ‘identity’ without success for some time. Even our bodies are committees, as apparently the human body contains trillions of microorganisms — outnumbering human cells by 10 to 1. So who am I?
The founder of Psychosynthesis, Roberto Assaglio, wrote
I have a body, but I am not my body.
I have emotions, but I am not my emotions.
I have a mind, but I am not my mind.
So, the question arises again, who am I? It’s a question that’s good to ask, and to open up over time, rather than trying to come up with a neat and quick answer, or even following Assagioli’s answer to it, only to leave the question behind.
But for now, if we want to make creative decisions, rather than struggling with a difficult committee, I wonder if we might aim for having a skilled chairperson, who can hear the wants and needs of each member without letting any one of them take over the meeting. Or better still, one who can provide enough kindness, humour and generosity to reassure the crazies, the sensible, the childish and the confused, reducing loud dissent to a subdued murmur in the background. Then the artist can move in one direction, and get to work.
* Image, The Guesthouse, Elise V Allan