“The berserk with manic seizures of frenzy and the feudal knight who measures swords with an equal adversary in order to gain personal honor are equally alien to discipline.”Max Weber in Economy and Society, 1922, in Gerth and Mills, 1946.
‘Tis not love also alien to discipline? Yes, we practice love; there’s an art to it. We commit to be loving, and there’s a discipline to it. We learn to love vigorously, the self and the other, but love as a complete phenomenon is elusive. The ousia of love is equal parts passionate and mature, full of wishing and desire, passion and discernment, acceptance and responsibility. There’s a reason that experts suggest constantly courting and dating one’s partner. There’s a passion to it, what Moraes refers to an infinite flame, “enquanto dure”. Like all flames, one must fuel the fire.
Yes, as with love, mastery of an art too benefits from sustaining an “eternal” light. Science has conclusively demonstrated the powerful effect of beliefs upon concrete outcomes within art and beyond. What we believe influences our actions. If I believe X, I will react to stimulus Y differently than individual 1 who believes Z. Such differences of belief can alter history or, at the very least, lead to the production of a masterpiece that benefits from the touch of an illuminated craftsman with a unique practice, one that produces patina. Our beliefs, attitudes, and what we do with them can become contagious too, like a cancer within the body politic or like an airborne vaccine.
However, one might also question what benefits endarkened moments might present to the creative processes of even the most disciplined and skilled artists and craftsmen. Berserking, an ancient psychological ritual found within Nordic communities as well as amongst animist cultures around the world, is a practice in which the individual achieves an altered state of consciousness without resorting to drugs. The art of berserking represents a key means through which an individual might seek to augment their creative processes. Traditionally, the art has involved warriors summoning the spirits of wolves, bears, lions, snakes, and other fearsome predators; yet one can also engage the practice to use one’s mind and body as a lens, a psychologically modified instrument through which to distort and reassemble externally received “light”. Additionally, however, one may also engage the art and practice in conjunction with sustained solitude to literally create the spark ex nihilio; in my prior work I have referred to this, especially while under conditions of high stakes existential threat, as the stellar method.
Autoanxiety Induction is one key, and in my experience highly effective means to achieve the desirable effects of berserking in pursuit of artistic creation; it does, however, especially when under conditions of required social interaction, produce the sometimes institutionally disruptive externality known as art fracking. Meanwhile, Belief Transmogrification, especially when in the form of Continuous Belief Transmogrification (CBT), is an additional method that allows one to become exceptionally creative. So much of this is proprietary; there’s so much that I have to say, but then…
Anyhow, the point is that one can include these methods in a wholistic practice of disciplined/antidisciplinary and multiprocess artistic creation. The products of berserk periods can be mined by the individual artist and incorporated into their longer-term projects as one mixes pigments to create their unique colours. One can also create the dream veil imprimatura of their larger scale works of art as well as the initial layers and specific components of a larger, more complex and intricate work. It works equally well for conceiving of literary works, the conceptual underpinnings of a painting, the first draft of a short story, and other forms of art that emerge from the seeds born of these forays into what some might see as madness. One can even engage the method to create final drafts of smaller works such as a poem, a short story, a relatively simple painting, and a sculpture. At the end of the day, the relative portions are always a question of proportion, one that requires discernment, judgement, talent, and an “eye”.
Sometimes when I’m writing a novel, I just write [insert pæon], continue writing, and then I create it when I feel particularly in touch with the psychological energy, the Psychoforce, from which I imagine such a song, poem, concept for a painting, etc. might emerge authentically and enhanced by the methods that I engage. One can also thrust themselves into contexts that might produce such energies.***
The enhanced, manic, dissociative, strange periods provide one with exceptional focus; additionally, one becomes a font of creativity as if they have accessed an otherworldly pool of creative mojo. Sometimes it’s like striking oil; sometimes it’s awful. What emerges is often of questionable coherence, at least as a discrete work of art, unless one devotes many such sessions to the sculpting of the final product. The preparations, however, can increase the probability of emerging with a boon worth the descent.
The mind that descends into these “moments” is like an instrument. It can have spent weeks, months, years devoted to studying substance and process, or it can be a blank canvas, a dull blade; additionally, it can be in tune, or woefully out of touch (See Entitled Star.) Similarly, it can be like a canvas, prepared for the force of the experience and able to dive deeper and sustain the “Psychoforce” for longer or, alternatively, the person can be like tissue paper. Clearly the most diaphanous minds are not fit for such an undertaking.
Beauty In The Prism Process
I refer to moments at one with the Psychoforce as Creative Junctures. These periods can involve exposure to external illumination or intervals spent within dark nights during which one must find and birth the light within. As opposed to the horror of a dark night though, I have also devised the Galapagos Method during which one lives on a literal or metaphysical island on which one can similarly practice their craft to birth a light within from relative solitude without the existential pressures of the stellar method.
The Psychoforce is an altered combination of one’s ordinary thoughts (t), beliefs (b), and action predispositions (a); the concept of one’s action predispositions captures the ideas of the artist’s style, techniques, mediums, and taste, all of which can be altered during the creative juncture. Thus, Psychoforce (Pi) can be represented as Pi= ti+bi+ai where i represents a specific interval between time1 and time2, indicating that thoughts, beliefs, and actions are volatile during creative junctures.
Copyright 2021. Thomas Christopher Elliott
I will be using this in the book A Light Within, which is Volume Two of A Dance of Light and Shadows. There’s this character, he’s an artist and psychologist. That is kind of an example of how I engage the method, but it’s a combo of multiple methods that I deploy. Anyhow, remember also that in this world and the universe of ADLS, this particular character is in league with beings that are beyond life and death, unknown in their depths. One suspects, however, that these beings are aware of the depths of this particular character’s hubris, aware also of how to use it for their gain within the material world in which they remain as mere phantoms.
***We could launch a company to create these experiences for exceptional artists; let’s call it Stellar: Artistic States of Exception. We will provide catalytic experiences through the provision of enhanced support techniques, environmental distortion, reality masking, and training in the fine (ordeal) art of berserking.