I just reread Rollo May’s “Courage to Create”, written in 1975, in prep for a course on art & creativity. While I have read it many times, this time it was startling to see how it relates to Mike Mascolo’s challenging presentation from last week and to TOK/We Thrive in general. I am sharing some excerpts (and it’s attached in case anyone is interested).
I am looking forward to the Women of Color panel discussion.
Happy Juneteenth to all!
To every thesis there is an anti-thesis, and to this there is a synthesis. Truth is thus a never-dying process. We then know the meaning of the statement attached to Leibnitz: “I would walk twenty miles to listen to my worst enemy if I could learn something.” (p 21)
We are living at a time when one age is dying and the new age is not yet born. We cannot doubt this as we look about us to see the radical change in sexual mores, in marriage styles, in family structures, in education, in religion, technology, and almost every other aspect of modern life. And behind it all is the threat of the atom bomb, which recedes into the distance but never disappears. To live with sensitivity in this age of limbo indeed requires courage.
A choice confronts us. Shall we, as we feel our foundation shaking, withdraw in anxiety and panic? Frightened by the loss of our familiar mooring places, shall we become paralyzed and cover our inaction with apathy? If we do those things, we will have surrendered our chance to participate in the forming of the future. We will have forfeited the distinctive characteristic of human beings—namely to influence our evolution through our own awareness. We will have catapulted the blind juggernaut of history and lost the chance to mold the future into a society more equitable and humane. (preface, p 7)
It is highly significant, and indeed almost a rule, that moral courage has its source in such identification through one’s own sensitivity with the suffering of one’s fellow human beings. I am tempted to call this “perceptual courage” because it depends on one’s capacity to perceive, to let one’s self see the suffering of other people. If we let ourselves experience the evil, we will be forced to do something about it. It is a truth, recognizable in all of us, that when we don’t want to become involved, when we don’t want to confront the issue of whether or not we’ll come to the aid of someone who is being unjustly treated, we block off our perception, we blind ourselves to the other’s suffering, we cut ourselves off from the person needing help. Hence the most prevalent form of cowardice in our day hides behind the statement, “I did not want to become involved.” (pp 16-17)
Whereas moral courage is the righting of wrongs, creative courage, in contrast, is the discovering of new forms, new symbols, new patterns on which a new society can be built. Every profession can and does require some creative courage. In our day, technology and engineering, diplomacy, business, and certainly teaching, all of these professions and scores of others are in the midst of radical change and require courageous persons to appreciate and direct this change. The need for creative courage is in direct proportion to the degree of change the profession is undertaking. (p 22)
Whatever sphere we may be in, there is a profound joy in the realization that we are helping to form the structure of the new world. This is creative courage, no matter how minor or fortuitous our creations may be. We can then say, with Joyce, Welcome, O life! We go for the millionth time to forge in the smithy of our souls the uncreated conscience of the race. (p 35)
Professor of Art
Photography Area Head
School of Art, Design, and Art History
MSC 7101/ 820 S. Main St
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
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From: tree of knowledge system discussion [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Henriques, Gregg - henriqgx
Sent: Friday, June 19, 2020 8:48 AM
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Subject: WOC Panel on Recent Events
Hi TOK List,
I am happy to be writing on a new holiday in Virginia, Juneteenth, now a state holiday to acknowledge the end of slavery<http://juneteenth.com/>. I want to remind folks/let folks know that our next We Thrive/TOK Community meeting on Monday at 5:30 pm EDT is a Women of Color panel discussion led by Paulihna Sorbi.
I am very much looking forward to it. I am on a science for clinical psychology list that has “blown up” a bit over the last three days, with something like 50 or so posts centered on issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, science and politics. Perhaps not surprisingly, the “tension” was between Under Represented Minorities (URM) and Early Career Professionals and some of the more senior scientists who were generally older White men. I did not participate, as I am a bit of an outsider on that group anyway. However, I have often thought about Mike M’s presentation last week on needs, values and problems, rather that positions and solutions. I am sure many of these exchanges have been happening. I hope that they are generally resulting in healthy growth and reflection and moving toward valued states of being.
Anyway, I invite everyone to adopt a CALM attitude, come to listen, learn and reflect.
Gregg Henriques, Ph.D.
Department of Graduate Psychology
216 Johnston Hall
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
(540) 568-7857 (phone)
(540) 568-4747 (fax)
Be that which enhances dignity and well-being with integrity.
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