Nietzsche - About Creativity as A State of Divine Possession
It is an old debate to discuss whether inspiration has a divine or spiritual origin or is only the result of work and mental optimisation. In fact, both points of view do not necessarily contradict each other - they can be complemented - but we will not attempt here to make a theory of creativity, but only to show this notion that creativity can be experienced as an act of possession, an assault of genius, a rapture. This idea was defended by the Greeks and Socrates himself points out that possession (mania) is superior to moderation (a sophrosyne), precisely because the former comes from the gods. In the Phaedrus, Plato talks about four manias linked to a different god. One of them is linked to Dionysian; this is the mania of the religious mysteries, the mania of the trance state.
Nowadays mania is a pejorative term, linked to psychopathology, which shows us that we are in a rationalist era. However, in the shadow of reason, the mania or the states of possession and abduction continue to fascinate individuals and continue to occur, although they are often quickly controlled by strong drugs or suppressed by the individual because of fear of social marginalization. At the same time, there is a growing interest in knowing the mechanisms of creativity and create protocols to promote it, particularly within labour productivity schemes (since there are not many people who today wish to be dragged by the muses to write mystical poems). Hence the term "flow" has emerged in psychology, to explain these states of functional and secular creativity.
If one wants to understand these processes of creativity or inspiration, one must undoubtedly turn to Nietzsche, who in the 1880s lived an effervescent period of productivity, one of the most notable in the history of philosophy and literature. for periods of intense creativity, writing books in weeks, literally in the manner of "revelations."
“In Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is” which is a kind of autobiography, written shortly before his mental collapse, Nietzsche narrates how he wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra, in a period when he went out for a walk to the mountain near the bay of Rapallo. It was on one of these walks, at a crossroads, that Zarathustra first ambushed him, literally, because Nietzsche speaks of how what was one became two, that is, his personality unfolded. Thus, he wrote the first three parts of this text in 10-day bursts. This state of creative possession - which in terms of Jung's psychology is clearly a possession of the archetypal unconscious - also called it "great health" (paradoxically, since it was already affected by health problems, and in the end, it would end in a mental hospital). A great health that is the voluntary acceptance of the tragedy of life - a tragedy that is perceived as a destiny. The following passage is one of the clearest and powerful manifestations that exist to understand the phenomenon of ins
piration. We see embodied this notion that has distinguished prophets and poets alike, and that seems to endow creative life with an inexorable quality, of being a kind of superior destiny. The man reveals himself as an instrument of a numinous force. The poet Rumi had expressed the same thing by comparing himself with a feather that does not know what the hand is going to write; so he and the divinity. And Nietzsche: You hear, you do not look for it; it is taken, it is not asked who is the one who gives; Like a ray, a thought shines.
Has anyone, at the end of the nineteenth century, a clear concept of what the poets of powerful times called Inspiration? Otherwise, I will describe it: If a minimum residue of superstition is retained, it would be difficult to reject the idea of being a mere incarnation, mere sound instrument, a mere medium of very powerful forces. The concept of revelation, in the sense that suddenly, with unspeakable security and finesse, is seen, something is heard, something that moves and upsets one in the deepest simply describes the reality of the facts. You hear you do not look for it; it is taken, it is not asked who is the one who gives; Like a ray, a thought shines, with need, without hesitation in the form. I have never had to choose. An ecstasy whose enormous tension is sometimes unleashed in a torrent of tears, an ecstasy in which sometimes the step is unintentionally precipitated and sometimes slow; a complete being-out-of-oneself, with the clear awareness of countless delicate fears and tremors that reach to the toes; an abyss of happiness, in which the most painful and somber does not act as an antithesis, but as something conditioned, demanded, as a necessary color in the midst of such an overabundance of light, an instinct of rhythmic relationships, which embraces ample spaces of forms -the length, the need for a broad rhythm are almost the measure of the violence of inspiration, a kind of counterweight to its pressure and its tension-everything happens in an extremely involuntary way, but as in a storm of feeling of freedom, of unconditionally, of power, of divinity ... The involuntariness of the image, of the symbol, is the worthiest of attention; there is no concept whatsoever; what is an image, what is a symbol, everything is offered as the closest, most exact, simplest expression. It seems in reality, to remember a phrase of Zarathustra as if things themselves came close and offered themselves for a symbol ("Here all things come caressing and flattering to your discourse, for they wish to ride on your back. You here made all the truths... Here all the words and the cabinets of words of the being open to me suddenly: all wanting to become here the word, all becoming wants here to learn to speak of me”).