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Excerpts from    
"The Awakening Artist: Madness and Spiritual
Awakening in Art" By Patrick Howe
"Foreword by Steve Taylor, bestselling author of "The Fall: The Insanity
of the Ego in Human History and the Dawning of A New Era."

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Excerpts     Table of Contents


From pages 24-25
The One Art Movement (The Thread That Unites Them All)
. . . From the awakening artist point of view, all artists and art movements are contained within this one vast flow of human creativity. In the language of his day, artist Robert Henri, author of The Art Spirit (1923) described it as a league of artists whose relationship transcends time and space. For the purposes of this book I am calling it the One Art Movement.
From page 33
Art History
When I used to sit in Monday morning art history classes listening to a professor drone on about obscure names and dates, I often felt it would be more inspiring listening to a recitation of an insurance policy. It wasn’t until many years later, when I took an interest in the evolution of human consciousness and human spiritual development, that the subject of art history came alive for me . . . From page 36
The Three Ages of the One Art Movement
If you take the hundreds of art movements the world has ever known, throw them into a pot, add a dash of genius, stir in generous amounts of human insanity, season with spirituality, cook on high heat for 45,000 years, presto!—you get the One Art Movement. To simplify the recipe, I have divided the One Art Movement into three Ages. Here is an overview of the three Ages of The One Art Movement. Following this, I will discuss each one in more detail.
The first Age of the One Art Movement is The Age of Innocence. The second Age is The Age of Madness, and the third Age is the Age of Awakening. When examining these Ages we will see that human innocence, madness, and spiritual awakening is reflected in countless works of art, including today. We will explore many of those works of art, and the artists who made them, in following chapters.
The first Age of the One Art Movement, the Age of Innocence, began with the emergence of Homo sapiens and became especially pronounced during the Upper-Paleolithic period about 45,000 years ago. This period has also been called The Creative Explosion by scientists because of the unprecedented burst of artistic creativity found in cave and rock paintings of that period. I refer to this same period as the Age of Innocence in order to emphasize the absence of technological complexity and sophistication, as compared to modern humans.
The second Age of the One Art Movement is the Age of Madness, which began about 4,000 B.C.E. and continues today. This Age began with the rise of the great civilizations of Egypt, Greece, China and others, and demonstrated a dramatic increase in technological complexity. However, according to many anthropologists and archeologists, this period also came with an unprecedented level of human cruelty. The Age of Madness continues today and the proof of its existence is the presence of cruelty in the world today.
The third Age of the One Art Movements is the Age of Awakening. This Age is about the evolution of spiritual consciousness. The impulse to awaken has been stirring within human hearts for eons. As we shall see, this urge has been evident in many works of art throughout history. The fulfillment of the Age of Awakening is happening now as increasing numbers of people become aware that they are one with the same creative energy that has brought forth all of life.
As presented here, the three Ages are sequential, going from Innocence, to Madness and to Awakening. However, we will also see how they sometimes overlap and intermingle. And in some cases, all three can be seen fused together within a single work . . . From page 14
Creativity is always neutral; it is neither a good thing nor a bad thing, though humans have used their creativity to do both harm and good. Creativity has been used to make weapons to harm people, and creativity has been used to make medicines to heal people. Is creativity spiritual? Yes, it can be, when a spiritual person is being creative. Creative action is neutral, but it always reflects the state of consciousness of the person expressing creatively.
Many artists throughout history have recognized a relationship between their creativity and what they believed was a transcendent source of their creativity. Michelangelo, for example, believed that God was working through him. In recent centuries many artists have sensed a creative source that was beyond them that is also within them, and have desired to allow it expression through them. Artist Wassily Kandinsky sought to fill his art with ‘spiritual resonance‘. And artist Jackson Pollack claimed that his inspiration did not come from nature because he was nature. Whether or not artists label that sensing as ‘spiritual’ or ‘nature’ matters little. What matters is the realization of a creative source that is beyond the artist’s mind.
The following are comments by several artists, and others, suggesting this:
Artist Keith Harding said: “When I paint, it . . . is transcending reality. When it is working, you completely go into another place, you're tapping into things that are totally universal.” Author Lewis Hyde commented that many artists “sense that some element of their work comes to them from a source they do not control”. Composer Igor Stravinsky said he did not write the The Rite of Spring; he transcribed it. Artist Mark Tobey wished to “express higher states of consciousness” in his artwork. Artist, Morris Graves stated, “My first interest is in Being—along the way I am a painter.” Sculptor Isamu Noguchi noted “. . . art comes from the awakening person. Awakening is what you might call the spiritual . . . Everything tends toward awakening.” Art Historian Roger Lipsey (1988) stated in An Art of Our Own, “The artist leads us to sense our own stillness between activities, and beyond that an abiding stillness.” Mythologist Joseph Campbell observed, “The way of the mystic and the way of the artist are related, except the mystic doesn’t have a craft.” George Rowely, (1959) author of Principles of Chinese Painting pointed out that the Chinese artist “had to experience a communion with the mystery of the universe akin to that enjoyed by the Taoist ‘mystics’.” Artist and Zen master Hakuin stated, “If you forget yourself you become the universe”Albert Einstein said: “The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion. Herein lies the germ of art and all true science.” Artist Andre’ Enard expressed it this way: “Isn’t the ultimate desire of human beings to perceive an order that surpasses us yet is within us, to participate in that order?” Enard’s statement hints at a higher form of creativity that the artist is part of, and potentially one with.
Isn’t the ultimate desire of all artists to participate in a universal expression of creativity that is beyond them, and yet flows through them? Christians and Jews have called it God, Allah by Muslims, the Tao by Taoist, the Unmanifest by Buddhists. Various spiritual teachers and scientists sometimes call it the One Life, or the Universal Intelligence of Life. Astrophysicist Carl Sagan proclaimed: “We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself”12. Meaning, it seems to me, there is the potential for an inseparable knowing of creative oneness shared between oneself and the Cosmos. Sagan also said “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent a universe.”
Each quotation above points to something transcendent. They are metaphors that indicate something beyond mental comprehension. If it is beyond our mental comprehension then how can we know this universal creativity? Just look around at the infinite variety of life forms. Evidence of its expression abound. The artist who is becoming aware of the infinite creativity that is beyond him, that flows through him, and that he is ultimately one with, is the awakening artist.
The fact is, understanding art is not difficult, but the intellect, disconnected from anything deeper, likes to imagine that it knows something mysterious and special that others do not. But the awakening artist understands that there are no objects of art that are particularly difficult to grasp mentally. Some art is predominantly intellectual because the artist, and many viewers, believe that the intellect is superior to any other way of creating and viewing art. But from the view of the awakening artist, great art goes much deeper than the intellect, much deeper than clever ideas. Truly great art touches the depths of a person’s whole being, not just their thinking. When we look at a Monet painting, for example, we usually do not expect to acquire intellectual information from the experience. Rather we are moved at a deeper, non-verbal, non-intellectual level within ourselves. To perceive with one’s whole being in this way goes beyond intellectual analysis. As we shall see later, the intellect has its place in making art. However, we are not fooled into believing that the intellect is supreme when it comes to creativity, because creativity, when expressed from the transcendent level, is beyond the intellect. As Joseph Campbell suggested, the function of mythology and the artist is to spiritualize the place as well as the conditions in which we live.13 The intellect alone cannot do this.
The awakening artist allows space for this universal creative energy to flow through him or her, and this flow includes the interaction of perceptions, ideas, and feelings. There is nothing serious or heavy about it; yet creating with this awareness is always profound because it connects the artist to the universal creative intelligence of life, and that is the source of true intelligence and beauty in art. What beauty is, however, is a matter of opinion, so now we will look at the meaning of beauty from the awakening artist perspective. . .