What is writing?
But Another Drop in Art's Ocean
By Jacob Modak
“Writing is just another drop in Art’s ocean, an ocean where every form of artistic expression exists and contributes to the vast mass and swell that covers this world with what we find beautiful.“
The only place from which I can speak with absolute certainty is my own. So I will speak on what writing is to me.
Writing from a very simple place of thought can be described as the written expression of a sensory experience, real or imagined, made available to someone for download into their own being by reading, and as such live another life while living their own. How clear and visceral that experience of living that other life will be is influenced by the skill of the writer, but the main principle stays true as long as the writer has been honest and vulnerable and not hidden their pain from the page. Pleasure has its place, but as the struggle for good and evil is fought first within the human heart, no piece of writing will have any power unless that fact is known by the scribe and shown. All that sounds a bit like hypnosis, to make the reader’s own world dissolve away so they find themselves locked into and existing only within the world the writer has created. It seems like telepathy also, as Stephen King described writing as, where the pictures and images and rolls of film scenes playing in the writer’s imagination are put into the reader’s.
In a way, writing is a little manipulative. I don’t think any reader sits down with a book and states in full clear vernacular that they want their world to disappear and exist only in the world the writer has created, but if the work is doing its job, that’s what happens. They start to read, the order of the words lull them into a false sense of security where they feel like they have control over their being in the real world while enjoying a simple story, and them wham, they come to and shake their head almost coming out of dream-sleep and realise that a couple hours of their life in reality has been stolen away without them knowing it or allowing. But they’re happy despite that, or at least they’re feeling things they have never felt before because the only shoes they ever walked in before were their own.
Without getting into the technical and structural underpinnings of skilled writing, writing that can actually make someone feel something, and maybe even shake the foundations of who they are as a human while in the awake dream state, writing is just another form of artistic expression available for those who connect with the medium to channel the creations of the art spirits and bring them into the world as something new that has never existed before. Writing is just another drop in Art’s ocean, an ocean where every form of artistic expression exists and contributes to the vast mass and swell that covers this world with what we find beautiful. Most of the planet is covered by water, and most of the planet’s consciousness derives its life and vitality from Art, whether the majority of those existing in it want to admit to that or not. It’s easy for any creator to speak of their expression as a thing unto itself and something unconnected from the collective ocean of artistic expression, but that’s not good, because it’s all too easy for an ego to start feeling like where they express from is not part of a greater ocean but is a stretch of land that they rule, a little patch of dirt, a small bit of land where they have now become king or queen. Royalty rarely venture outside of their comfort zone, and no royalty has built their palace on an ocean surface and claimed ownership of water the way they have with land. An ocean is too volatile and ever changing and is absolutely unconquerable. No surfer can ever say that they can or have conquered a wave. They can only ever ride one, being a temporary passenger, keeping their reverence for it and the ocean itself held deep and strong within the core of their being. Art is an ocean for that reason. It’s unconquerable, and any creator is just a temporary passenger, like the surfer, riding the new waves made by the artistic ocean of expression always outside of their comfort zone in a place of chaos where they have never been before and ordering it in some way which is what gives birth to new artistic creations.
Art in general is necessary to focus on as a whole when one speaks of any artistic medium because art is the process of putting chaos into order. And it is a universal language, that artistic feeling, because all the abstract chaos exists in the unconscious, and with the subconscious being older than language, as stated by Cormac McCarthy, its investigation by way of concepts that lead to abstractions, which are what the conscious brain can understand, will always speak to all people because all people are seeking concepts and their sequential abstraction to help bring order to the jumble of their own unconscious. That’s the way of art. You enter the chaos, conceptualise the ‘why’ behind the chaos’ state, and then abstract it through evaluation of that ‘why’ and present a course of action. The artistic arena, the unconscious, has within it the realm of archetype, states of ego development, spirituality, and ultimately our potential as beings. An investigation of these intangible deeper forces’ effects on our actions in the abstracted world we can tangibly touch and interact with, automatically cause the involvement of metaphysics because the ancestor of every action is a state of being, a state of consciousness, ego, and archetypal development, which all regulate and influence the state of our characterization in our tangible world of form, or stage, upon which Shakespeare said we’re all merely players. So with all the chaos being contained within our own subconscious, because we don’t know where it stops or how deep it is or what the limits of what it contains are, literature’s main concern is the abstraction of these deeper forces from their concepts and offer somewhat of a guide in terms of practical action that won’t lead to embodied chaos in the mortal realm.
Mother Nature, the animals, plants, creatures, and insects, left alone without humans are already ordered. There are defined cycles, seasons, death and life circles already established and repeated, and sentience of each element of Mother Nature is in general already set, and repeated. So the human link to Nature in the artistic process is the human drive to order the subconscious chaos to the peace and predictability of Nature, but our well of sentience and the seemingly infinite spread of our chaotic unconscious leaves us always seeking more order, and as a bi-product, makes us create more art, more literature, film, Dance, painting, music. Mainly fictional worlds that have not existed before are focused on with art’s creation though, in order to give us the road home, back to Nature, back to God. The reason for the fictional focus is if non-fiction deals with ‘what is’, then fiction allows us to contend with the infinity of our unconscious because it deals with all of the ‘what if’, which is also seemingly infinite. So the infinity of the artistic process and characterization in literature allows us to conceptualise for all the infinity of our unconscious chaos, so us as mass society don’t feel like we don’t have an explorer out there paving a safe path through the places not travelled for us to follow behind.
An argument can be made that all art, the ordering of the chaos of the unconscious, is the ego’s attempt to remain supported and not left adrift in the unconscious’s infinity and as a player on the world stage, as an ego supported by a more ordered unconscious is less panicked and is more effective at being the character it identifies with. Religion is an artistic process, if thought of spiritually, as it is a process of ordering chaos, but the ordering of all unconscious chaos, be it egoic, archetypal, the shadow, as the end state, again if thought of spiritually, is a full non-dual union with God, also known as Unconditional Love, or I Amness: before The Universe was, I Am, to quote Ken Wilber. That state of order has no ego, meaning it is not physically present, because an ego is what allows one to be on the world stage as a player and differentiate itself from other players. Carl Jung said Religion was created to protect people from the direct experience of God, which can be argued is the end point of art because a non-dual union with God means one has disappeared and as such has no unconscious, and only exists in a state of absolute order and Oneness with all things and The Kosmos. And if art is the ordering of chaos, and God is a non-dual state of complete order, then looking outward in search of God is like digging for a diamond with your shovel pointed to the sky. So on that, directing prayer outward instead of inward is making it go in the wrong direction.
The deeper meditators go, often the more silent they get, the more they disappear as their egos and separation from other players on the world stage dissolve, and the less they feel the need to characterize anything in an artistic form, because their existence is personifying that which exists outside of the unconscious. With the integration of Kosmic Spirituality and the essence of art being bringing order to chaos, one can argue that the deepest and most final artistic investigation of a concept, and abstraction, is the ego’s full dissolving and thus exit from the world stage as a player into non- dual awareness. But as Paul Chek explained that our body is in our soul, not the other way around, our soul, which is also separate to our unconscious, will let us know when we need to stay with our egos a little longer to enrich the world stage with more art, and also when it’s our time to depart. And both can be seen as altruism. But true altruism is not a blank self-sacrificing more socialist idea whereby individuals abandon themselves in favour of another, no. Soulful altruism as defined by Paul Chek is when the care starts with ‘I’, goes to ‘We’, and then when the ‘I’ and ‘We’ have been fully taken care of, then the ‘All’ is addressed. A hand is held out to those in need, but those hands are not stretched beyond halfway. Those ready to be helped meet halfway however they can, be it physically, energetically, emotionally, but they always meet halfway. And those are the people ready to write and create art, and start to order their own chaos, and through that, with the world being in them and them being in the world, their art orders a little more of the world’s chaos in general. That’s what writing is.
Jacob Modak is a 27 year old writer based in London. He has been writing for over ten years with seven of them being focused mainly on fiction. He has recently launched his own website www.jacobmodakwriting.com where his books are available.