Considering ARTISTS and their ARTIFACTS begs comparison with a larger construct: that of PROCESS and PRODUCT

We are strongly disposed to fixating on the more-or-less enduring PRODUCT –our GOAL, the end of our JOURNEY, like a lighthouse in the mind to which we continually orient– when in fact it is the PROCESS that drives change in what would otherwise be a sequence of constitutionally ephemeral states.   The experience of continuing, dynamic  CHANGE that defines PROCESS may, in fact, be where we should be focused to understand truth–it can imply a product, but that is more like a snapshot of something in eternal motion.  An opportunity for reflection about the process? Resonant with our newest understandings of physics at its deepest levels, nothing is static!   This large generality about appearances resonates also with the necessary mode of cognition invoked in conscious awareness.

  • William James and Henri Bergson may have intuited correctly that “the brain mechanisms that give coherence to perception and consciousness somehow analogous to motion picture cameras and projectors? Does the eye/brain actually “take” perceptual stills and somehow fuse them to give a sense of continuity and motion? No clear answer was forthcoming during their lifetimes.”  READ: “In the River  of Consciousness” by Oliver Sacks (2004).


Kierkegaard agreed … that truth lies in the search for an object, not in the object sought. It is another case of “act accomplishing itself.” If God held truth in one hand and the eternal pursuit of it in the other, He would choose the second hand according to Lessing. Religious truth concerns the individual and the individual alone, and it is the personal mode of appropriation, the process of realization, the subjective dynamism that counts.”–

“What you are is God’s gift to you, what you become is your gift to God.”   Hans Urs von BalthasarPrayer   [from A&O on “self-actualization”?]


THE SEARCH IS THE THING and Leaps of Faith.  Of Lessing, Kierkegaard writes approvingly. But if we are constantly occupied in the immanent striving of our own subjectivity, how are we to ascend to knowledge of a transcendent God whom traditional thought declares to be known even by reason. Lessing and Kierkegaard declare in typical fashion that there is no bridge between historical, finite knowledge and God’s existence and nature. This gap can only be crossed by a “leap.” Faith is a completely irrational experience, and yet it is, paradoxically, the highest duty of a Christian. Though as Thomte observes, it is not a spontaneous belief, faith is nevertheless something blind, immediate, and decisive. It has the character of an “act of resignation.” It is unmediated and a-intellectual, much like Kant’s proof for the existence of God. Nature makes no leaps, according to the maxim of Leibniz. But faith, according to Kierkegaard must do so in a radical way.”[8] [i]

All too often too often we try to push, pull, outline and control our ideas instead of letting them grow organically.The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.

(Julia Cameron (1992) The Artist’s Way)


  • The Pursuit of Goals … movement, hopefully progressive … toward one horizon after another
    • “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable” (Dwight D. Eisenhower, quoted in NYT, Nov 15, 1957)  ( [resonates with the idea that the journey is the destination (attributed to Emerson)]
    • The pursuit of any goal is a little like writing out your narrative: “Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go. –The New York Times (20 October 1985) AND “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”—E.L. Doctorow, Interview in Writers at Work (1988) Recalls the “logic of the lamppost” or The Streetlight Effect[i].
  • Always out of reach? 
    • Speak as they please, what does the mountain care? / Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, / Or what’s a heaven for? (Robert Browning)[[1]]
    • “…Franz Wright pursues revelation. The Pulitzer-Prize winning poet (son of James Wright) writes “as if there were a word just out of reach, beyond the words on the page. He calls that goal: some radiantly obvious thing I need to say, though quite what that might be escapes me at the moment, as it always has, and always will.” (2006).[ii] AND perhaps it always should be.  DO WE NEED GOALS? Do they create the tunnel vision that obscures alternative, possibly more effective or efficient ways of moving forward?  Growth, personal growth, self-actualization is another domain in which the Goldon Mean obtains: too narrow in our progress or too wide? excessively focused or virtually aimless?  
    • These ideas resonate with the idea that PROCESSES are more important to the SELF than their PRODUCTS … no danger of stagnation, the cessation of change, death.        
    • SO, IS THE JOURNEY the DESTINATION?   (see POST on JOURNEYS)               .


LEVELS of ORGANIZATION must always be considered: This thing you might call “your self” can be viewed as one level and is, as Chloé Cooper Jones put it, “… singular; it lives once, dies once. But [it is] also born into a body, a time, a class and a place, and those biographical facts carry sociopolitical meaning that precedes [you]. [You] cannot be fully explained by historical signifiers, but [you’re] never free of them either. To be alive is to grapple with these two truths, to struggle at the intersection of self and society, interiority and exteriority, individuality and environment. / The work of accepting this is inelegant and often challenging. But literature is here to help…”


We NEED to know: even approximate knowledge can advance all the biological needs subordinate to self-actualization (being “all we can be”).   Recall Aristotle, the epigraph in A&O notes on The Need to Know:  “All men by nature desire to know.”[ii]  And learning is a journey: see POST on JOURNEYS.

Most deeply inspired, however, by WONDER which in and of itself is sought not merely a question, but a state of joy in the possibilities of the unknown:  For example, contemplating a Grecian Urn, the poet (John Keats) “asks question after question about the urn, not to uncover facts or ‘answers’, but rather to sustain his experience of wonder and curiosity.”  (the poem; Aparna Chivukula in https://aeon.co/


[1] (Robert Browning https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43745/andrea-del-sarto , line 98; 1855) recalls Arthur C. Clarke’s Second Law: The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible. (from: “Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination” in Profiles of the Future, 1962)


[i] http://discovermagazine.com/2010/jul-aug/29-why-scientific-studies-often-wrong-streetlight-effect    Also: our search is limited to where we can see.  We know there is a vast area where our senses are useless … even more there is no inquiry possible… even more, the question is the thing! And we do not know what we do not know – cultural anosognosia.  See Rumsfeld on KNOWLEDGE.

[ii].  Quoted in Langdon Hammer’s review of Franz Wright’s “God’s Silence: Poems,” “In Pursuit of Revelation”  [title at website, title in paper was “To Live is to Do Evil”] NYT Sunday Book Review, May 14, 2006, p38.

“What kind of apocalypse does Wright imagine in his new poems? He is not waiting for the Rapture, but he is a Roman Catholic devotional poet of mystical hope. He is impatient with the real and visible (“concrete things stand for / invisible things”), and he pushes past them toward real reality,”a higher unseeable / life, inconceivable / light / of which light is mere shadow.” This impatience extends to people “a human face” is “the mask” / of some being no one can see—as  well as to language. Wright describes a moment of past vision in which “The mask was gone,” “There was no / I,” and

there was no text, only what the words stood for; and thenwhat all things stand for.

Wright’s poems pursue this state of revelation, as if there were a word just out of reach, beyond the words on the page. He calls that goal of “ … some radiantly obvious thing I need to say, though quite what that might be escapes me at the moment, as it always has, and always will.”

[i]Leap of faith” From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_of_faith where it was last edited on 21 April 2022, at 02:50

[ii]   Aristotle, Metaphysics, Book I, 980a.21. 350 BC  http://www.classicallibrary.org/aristotle/metaphysics/index.htm