The Source of the Creative Impulse of Beauty Is Suprarational, Not Intellectual in Nature

The  reason is not the originator of the creative impulse of beauty.  As the instincts arise from the lower vital, animal regions of our consciousness, the reason can help to uplift, guide and train these impulses towards a higher and more refined expression.  Yet, the true source of creative insight is at the level of suprrarational inspiration.  To the extent this inspiration can express itself clothed in its own native body of truth and beauty, it is powerful, expressive and it moves those who come in contact with it.  When the mind intervenes, it tends to water down this inspiration and thereby reduce the expressed power of the inspiration.  The mind puts up its own ideas, rules, and guidelines to try to channel the inspiration within narrow self-defined limits, rather than allowing the free expression of these higher insights.

Sri Aurobindo observes:  “Where the greatest and most powerful creation of beauty is accomplished and its appreciation and enjoyment rise to the highest pitch, the rational is always surpassed and left behind.  The creation of beauty in poetry and art does not fall within the sovereignty or even within the sphere of the reason.  The intellect is not the poet, the artist, the creator within us; creation comes by a suprarational influx of light and power which must work always, if it is to do its best, by vision and inspiration.  It may use the intellect for certain of its operations, but in proportion as it subjects itself to the intellect, it loses in power and force of vision and diminishes the splendor and truth of the beauty it creates. … by itself the intelligence can only achieve talent, though it may be a high and even, if sufficiently helped from above, a surpassing talent.  Genius, the true creator, is always suprarational in its nature and its instrumentation even when it seems to be doing the work of the reason; it is most itself, most exalted in its work, most sustained in the power, depth, height and beauty of its achievement when it is least touched by, least mixed with any control of the mere intellectuality and least often drops from its heights of vision and inspiration into reliance upon the always mechanical process of intellectual construction.  Art-creation which accepts the canons of the reason and works within the limits laid down by it, may be great, beautiful and powerful; for genius can preserve its power even when it labours in shackles and refuses to put forth all its resources; but when it proceeds by means of the intellect, it constructs, but does not create.  It may construct well and with a good and faultless workmanship, but its success is formal and not of the spirit, a success of technique and not the embodiment of the imperishable truth of beauty seized in its inner reality, its divine delight, its appeal to a supreme source of ecstasy, Ananda.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 14,  The Suprarational Beauty, pp. 137-138

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