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QUINTESSENCE

The Touch of the Creative

Man's creative struggle, his search for wisdom and truth, is a love story.
- Iris Murdoch

In all living nature (and perhaps also in that which we consider as dead) love is the motive force which drives the creative activity in the most diverse directions.
- P.D. Ouspensky

As we continue our February exploration of the meanings of love and its distillations in the human spirit - particularly as we approach that seriously over-commercialized holiday marketed as Valentine's Day (Ah, ode to one long-ago renegade Roman priest, Valentinus! History's legacy the postscript from a simple letter to a young lover, signed "From Your Valentine"...)

Let's step away from the cards, candy and beautifully-bowed sparkles to consider the observations of Iris Murdoch and P.D. Ouspensky regarding love and human endeavor. Is love the defining nature of humanity's search for self-meaning in the world? And is love the compelling, propelling force behind what we say, build, and do? And is this quite possibly true for all of the natural world?

Yes. Whether a work of art, a cathedral, quest or personal sacrifice, passion lies behind the most likely and unlikely of constructions. But is passion love? Passion may not be all that love is, or part of what love evolves to be; but the passion, romantic or not, behind the idea of love is the root of love's tenacity. We are defined by our sense of ourselves as beings who care greatly. We are willing to defend the right to love whom we please, to give of ourselves - even die for our love, and over and again bend to the creative fires rising from the turmoil of love's emotional impact on the human soul. In tandem with the natural world we shelter, nourish, and birth new generations from this instinctive drive. The deep attachment we call "love" might be only instinct dressed in peacock feathers, but there is no denying it has power.

Art history is quite simply the colorful history of humanity's physical and intellectual love affairs. The story of our yearning fascination with Heaven and Earth, the sensuous muse, lofty ideas of beauty, truth and justice, the blood-hot nobility of sacrifice, a celebration of oath and purity, the elusive Other. What passion brings forth is our story as living beings, and nothing beyond love is expressed in so many ways.

I personally feel the very best valentine is a tribute made by or for the ones you love. I treasure the home-made. A poem inked on a beach stone, the glued and feathered scissored heart, the half-burnt dinner by candlelight. It is love that compels us to reach toward one another. Embrace the touch of creativity, the expression of love. Why not make something for someone...from "your Valentine."

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