Tuesday, 13 May 2008

day 45

I was (strangely) up at dawn and saw this lone little plane making the most of paris at its quietest...

I’ve been thinking about desire today, and what happens when it evaporates: what becomes of a life when the wanting disappears? can anyone go forward without the desire for change, for movement, for more?

I heard what a feeling from flashdance today and there is a line in it that says: ‘take your passion, and make it happen…’ but what happens to people who have lost the desire to make anything happen? society doesn’t like a person without desire. they have slipped and we get embarrassed.

everyday I walk past at least three or four people patiently sitting, on streets, in metros, with signs asking for money. did they once have desire and then lose it? how did that happen? who will 'lose' it next?

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Blogger Jane K said...

strangely enough this pondering relates to some of the central concerns of my PhD so I'll cut and paste you a tiny bit of about the passion of creative careers and the impact that lack of support and lack of suitable working conditions has on this. This, of course, can be extrapolated to the feelings of passion and desire we have in all aspects of our lives and that - in a way - is what Csikszentmihalyi's work (one of the main theorists I'm basing my thesis on) on 'flow' is about. If one doesn't have enough flow in one's life: enough passion of course one ends up on the streets with a depressing sign. And we could have all ended up there but we were fortunate enough to have the support or the resources to refind our momentarily confused, dazed, and beleagred passions and grasp onto the side of the boat before we slipped under. Our supports: our environment and the people who care for us, who work with us - gave us the strength and energy we needed to haul ourselves back up. That's my idea for today -for what it it worth.
The bit in my PhD goes like this (please excuse the roughness of it): Sustaining passion

At the heart of most theatre practitioners’ professional lives lies the passionate drive to create. QUOTE BY ARTIST HELB BACK DUE TO COPYRIGHT. The framework established in this thesis starts with this passion and, keeping it at its centre, follows the organic energy that originates with the individual practitioner and their passion as it moves out into their career, their environment, their collaborators and their industry. The aim of this framework is to map where the energy and passion becomes lost or overwhelmed and unable to return or be reciprocated through this system back to the individual – to feed them, inspire them and sustain them into the future. Csikszentmihalyi reflects on the importance of passion in his chapter on The Flow of Creativity (Csikszentmihalyi Creativity 107). ‘Creative persons,’ he writes ‘differ from one another in a variety of ways, but in one respect they are unanimous: They all love what they do. It is not the hope of achieving fame or making money that drives them; rather, it is the opportunity to do the work that they enjoy doing’. This is certainly the case for Australian independent theatre practitioners who, although may hope for fame or money as a bonus, do not hold this hope as the primary driver for their careers. However, as this thesis has discussed, for many independent artists or companies this creative drive and vision becomes dulled by the constant stress and overwhelming amount of work required to live by such a non-financially rewarding career. As maturity, family and health commitments and the desire to lead a more stress-free life increase many practitioners move laterally into different arts-related professions or drop out altogether. Their creative spark and passion, which is so integral to Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of flow and well-being (Csikszentmihalyi Flow: The Psychology of Happiness), is often lost in the overwhelming and often unsympathetic environment in which it has to struggle for remain.
Jane Kreis: PhD Thesis - Flow and Sustainability in Australian Independent Theatre. University of Wollongong.

14 May 2008 01:16  
Blogger eyefordetail said...

A nameless man amid a crowd
That thronged the daily mart
Let fall a word of hope and love,
Unstudied, from the heart;
A whisper on the tumult thrown,
A transitory breath,
It raised a brother from the dust,
It saved a soul from death.

Charles Mackay

14 May 2008 08:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it that what is desired and the fervour with which that desire is pursued is entirely subjective?

When I was ill for a substantial period of time, and unable to do basic things like walk to the toilet or leave my bed, then living alone my desire was to feel less pain so that I could function on a level that I considered acceptable (and not pee in the bed!). What I ordinarily desired became entirely secondary and I didn't care for a nice meal or music or television or dance or art or anything that usually filled my world. I just wanted the pain to end.

Circumstance lands people somewhere, and where you land and what you need will colour what you desire.

I am not an artist, and I may not understand desire in the same way as many of you, but I don't think that desire evaporates - it's just that what you desire changes (and that may be the desire to have your original desires return).

15 May 2008 12:14  
Blogger Bobby C said...

I imagine that what we see of the beggar on the street is entirely separate from what we would see once they had eaten, bathed, found a bed for the night and finally been able to move beyond the immediate, pressing need to just survive.

The comments by Anonymous remind me of bits of current communications theory, particularly the work by a guy called Maslow, who talks about the human hierachy of needs.

The theory is that we can't engage in or with anything higher level until our most fundamental physical needs are all met. The desperate need for food, shelter, water, escape from pain or cold, pursuit of sex, affection or sleep is completely and utterly absorbing.

When circumstances reduce us to our most physical selves, our intellectual, artistic, social, political passions by neccessity all become secondary. Although from personal experience we can still be transported by a beautiful experience, even in the middle of great suffering.

Perhaps for a short while, the right triggers can distract us from our physical needs and remind us of our passions, even fleetingly.

I think perhaps we even seek them out when we are reduced to our most basic. So a beggar can lovingly stroke his dog, the chronically injured find pain relief through meditation, and the starving student find, in a free art gallery, both warmth and succour.

We all know the tiniest change in circumstances can affect our desire. Perhaps it's because it brings us closer to ourselves; not to the ego or even to the id but to what I'd call the bio - the body, its physical presence, our identity through it.

19 May 2008 09:50  

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