Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Final Thoughts on Fox's Creativity

Matthew Fox tells us (in his book, Creativity) that economist David Korten writes, "There is no more powerful expression of a society's values than its economic institutions. In our case, we have created an economy that values money over all else, embraces inequality as if it were a virtue, and is ruthlessly destructive of life. The tragedy is that for most of us the values of global capitalism are not our values. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that we find ourselves in psychological and social distress" (224).

I finally finished Fox's Creativity, a gift from my minister. In it Fox advocates that creativity is holy, that it is where grace and good works meet, and that it is only by being radically creative (and just and compassionate) that we can improve upon this mess. Fox also says that our current structures may have to break before we can rebuild.

Friends and I have talked about this, and I can discuss the validity of Korten's statement with you at length. Earth will eventually run out of oil. And probably clean water, and arable land, and possibly clean air. Should we hasten this time, destroying the natural environment (at least reducing its habitability for humans) as we go? Or should we try to mitigate it beforehand? Some say we'll have to wait until we've gone too far. Necessity is the mother of invention and all that. I don't think Fox disagrees.

Matthew Fox was a Catholic who was dismissed from the Dominican Order for saying that we are born with original blessing instead of original sin (he wrote a whole book on it). Now Fox is an Episcopal priest and a radical teacher who calls a bit on the essence of my dear Derrick Jensen and Daniel Quinn (as well as Eckhart and Julian of Norwich and Hildegard, etc.) for his morality. Indeed, there is a great humanism in Fox's theology and his work. God is still God, supreme and all that, but that doesn't give human beings a license to be lazy, to be fearful, to avoid using our gifts.

Fox believes that God made us great. Yes, we sin, but we are also among God's greatest creatures. We have a sort of noblesse oblige - with great rights, great faculties and capacity for reason and creativity - come great responsibility.

Here's what I got out of this book: Be curious, just, compassionate, grateful, open, loving, joyful, respectful, responsible. Be alert. Play. Do not be fearful or jealous. Fear is a big one. It's easy to gloss over it. Think about why you live the life you do. I, for one, work for The Man because I want to live a comfortable life, because I am afraid of the physical discomfort and the social shame that might come with living the 'right' way. And finding the 'right way' is hard work. It involves listening to yourself and creation (praying, meditating, talking with friends, paying attention to and learning from the world) and accepting truths society might try to mask because they're too hard. I still live in fear. But I am learning to be more thankful and, I hope, a little more aware.

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