A critical and practical exploration of the process of extraverted poetrymaking.
By Dr. Gil Dekel.
Poets are often seen as sentimentalists who idealise reality with their romanticised perception and imagination (Caudwell, 1977: 144). However, I would argue that in the moments of poetic inspiration poets hold a neutral non-biased state of mind where they perceive an authentic and faithful aspect of reality. I will review the poets’ non-biased state, and the resulting poetic observation that document life, not idealise it, and which opens up channels of creativity.
The way that poets experience reality – the poet’s observation of life – seems to take into account certain aspects of reality, which exist all around us at all times, yet are ignored by most people (Descartes, 1972: 35). Shakespeare’s declaration, “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”, is neither a poetic idealisation nor a speculation, but rather an experience resulting from an in-depth observation of life. Shakespeare actually sees “more things” on heaven and earth, and he then describes them with the use of words.
The poet seems to perceive transcendental reality, and then communicate that enlarged reality through the poem. Thus, an exploration of the poetic experience can add valuable information regarding the reality in which we live, in its macrocosmic expanded sense.
It seems that elements of reality exists beyond the limit of the human five senses (Kant, 1964: 54), yet many people seem not to acknowledge such larger elements and simply perceive life in its finite physical reality as we know it (Maslow, 1994: 22; Kant, 1964: 47). The uniqueness of the poet lies in his/her ability to observe enlarged reality and to communicate it by translating it through the use of a tool that narrows reality – words (Aquinas, 1952: 62; Jung, 1963: 142). Words do not have the character of the information that they indicate, as words are mere symbols for that agreed information (Aristotle, 1994: 16; Langer, 1982: 103). Words indicate on something else. The poet communicates by the act of limiting expanded reality, and likewise most people tend to limit that same reality, yet through an unconscious psychological process of focusing mainly on physical matter (Einstein, 1962: 141; Roberts, 1994: 28). The habit of paying attention to physical reality is the tool that narrows reality, as attention seems to have a certain influence on the relations between energy and matter (Chopra, 1999: 73).
An exploration of the poetic process of translating enlarged reality to a poem can illuminate the process by which all people limit reality. That understanding may serve as the basis for further research.
In this article I will focus on the poetic process of perception, creation and communication.
The poet seems to perceive elements, which may also be perceived by other people, yet seem to produce a strong impression on the poet alone. This chapter explores the perceptive patterns of the poet through three elements: Beauty, Love, and Change.
In the process of poetrymaking the poet initially seems to observe events, people and nature around them (Caudwell, 1977: 144). Unlike “common observation”, poetic observation seems to rely on a core belief that everything in our world holds an essence of beauty. There exists no observed thing, to the poet, which is void of beautiful elements (Jung, 1990: 27). As the poet looks at a tree, for example, s/he feels the radiant beauty of its shapes, colours, and relations to the sky. As the poet looks at a grey concrete pavement, s/he perceives the beauty of mankind’s ability to build and to create. Acknowledgement of such beauty indicates a perception of perfection that resides in all aspects of life, even the smallest things. Thus, large and small become united under the same power of perfection that they behold.
And yet, it seems that beauty does not reside in the physical form or colour, since a thing that is seen as beautiful by one person may not be seen as beautiful at all by another (Roberts, 1994: 17). Beauty seems to reside only in the eye of the beholder. The poet’s ability to decode beauty from all things around him/her, not just from selected things, seems to transcend analytic personal opinion (Kant, 1964: 26-29). The poet seems to observe a kind of alternative knowledge of beauty-information beyond form and colour (Jung, 1990: 20, 56).
This observational tool seems to be based on an identification of an emotional source, which is love (Caudwell, 1977: 87). When one is in love, one does not seem to see “non-pretty” sides of their loved one, and so the poet seems to be in a constant state of being in love with life. Moreover, love itself embodies a message, a kind of a reminder to people of their expanded qualities, which they may not be aware of. While most people tend to forget many aspects of their divinity (Maslow, 1994: 37), the simple power of being loved by another person reminds people of their higher self, by sending a strong sense of self worth. Poets, being in love with life, empty themselves from ego-oriented thoughts (Steiner, 1972: 32), and instead develop a neutral-consciousness, which does not focus on “I” identity, but rather on “All” identity (Maslow, 1994: 13). Whereas contemporary society seems structured on ego and self-centred individualism (Leibowits, 1979: 49; Tadmor, 1994: 65), the poet interacts through a collective humanistic emotional approach (Jung, 1990: 82).
Surprisingly, it is through emotional approaches that people make choices in life (Jung, 1963: 354). Although emotion is often seen as distant or contradictory to ratio (Maslow, 1994: 22), in fact it seems to add immediate perceived information to ratio. As a direct identification with the other (Maslow, 1994: 22), emotion requires no analysis, and needs no time to be formulated in words. On the contrary, identification allows the poet to become an immediate carrier of information, both the poet’s own experiences and other people’s experiences (Lowenfeld & Brittain, 1975: 14). For example, an unmarried male poet may embrace an experience of a mother and her child, and thus conceive the poem:
My heart to you, my son,
Is a toy in your curious hands.
Through emotional identification poets seem to attach their perception to external events, such as events of nature that do not stem from human physical experience. The poet’s experiences are projected psychologically upon nature, as nature seems to provide physical expressive objects and a vocabulary of terms:
The branches of our hearts
Gave birth to the leaves of our love.
Nature seems to amplify that poetic projection by embedding within it independent information (Steiner, 1972: 28; Jung, 1963: 351), as intelligence is argued to reside not just in the human brain, but rather within all physical atoms themselves (Tamisha, 2003; Chopra, 2000: 16). Moreover, it is believed that atoms do not “fall by chance” to randomly form molecules, but rather they abide a purpose, which guides the specific atom to amass unto a specific molecule (Einstein & Infeld, 1938: 312). If atoms indeed follow an intelligent purpose it may be argued that such purpose is choice led (Leibowits & Lavi, 1997: 48-49, 471). A choice is made by an atom to move in one direction and not the other. Put into a poem:
Even the smallest atom
Has free will to choose.
In order to be able to choose anything, opposites of things have to be present so to choose from. Opposites seem crucial for the capacity of the human mind, as the mind seems to comprehend things by the act of comparing one thing to the other (Einstein, 1962: 141). The mind chooses elements and compares them. Although many people believe that external events have full power over them, it is argued that there exists no element outside people that has the power to influence free will to choose (Aquinas, 1952: 674; Leibowits & Lavi, 1997: 15-27). The poet’s creative perception seems to come not from external circumstances, such as place of birth, culture or education, but rather from the poet’s free will to constantly choose. Poets will themselves to empty themselves from ego-personas, and instead to open up to constantly changing experiences:
Each moment I die
Differences among people are not observed by the poet as a problem that requires a solution, but rather as a framework within which choices are made. In such way poets expand on their persona and consciousness through a choice to move from one thing to its opposite. While people tend to criticise differences, the poet willingly moves into those differences, perceiving them on experiential knowledge-based level.
The poetic observation of the beauty of the world seems to reflect an inner state of love of life, which enlarges the poet’s perception through the acceptance of changing personas.
> Try this:
With the move between changing contents, poets seem to detach themselves from a specific content, and instead collaborate with an all-encompassing stage of creativity. This chapter explores creative patterns through three elements: Both/And, Attention, and Challenge.
A clearer, louder, and “tastier” reality is introduced to the poet through a natural (Einstein, 1962: 139) process of perception (Maslow, 1994: xvi), which can be explained through Quantum theory. Nature is defined in Quantum theories as the superposition of opposing states, existing at the same place and at the same time. For example, visible light is believed to perform simultaneously both wave behaviour and particle behaviour. Nature exists within the “both/and” states, with the particle occupying two different regions of space at the same time (Desilet, 1999: 348). Accordingly, poets tend to perceive themselves through two states simultaneously: as a part of an event, and as an external observer. Thus, the poet’s perception extends to the “both/and” states of united-multidimensional reality, where opposing states reside together as one. It seems that only with the intrusion of an opinion or judgement, which a person or a group expresses, that such multidimensional reality “collapses” to one or another specific reality. That “collapsed” reality is the reality which people eventually perceive. The mere attention of an observer to one aspect of reality transforms the “both/and” duality to a specific singular material existence. Atomic particles seem to constantly change by the mere act of humans’ observation, for example, the attention of a researcher scientist in the lab. When looking at a quantum field, the particles in it seem to blink into existence. When the observer has turned their attention away, the particles seem to disappear. When the observer has put their attention back to the field, the particles come back to existence. The Quantum theory concludes that attention transforms the probability for a functional material existence (Chopra, 1999: 72-74; Einstein, 1962: 141). In other words:
If you want to swim
Simply ignore the ability to fly.
Such selective attention is the product of both individual and collective patterns of thought (Jung, 1990: 79). Thus, the created one “objective reality”, which is the world as people perceive it, is determined in such way by the context of the choices of the subjective observer. What people decide to look at, is what people will eventually perceive, whilst ignoring other existing aspects of reality that pass unnoticed (Desilet, 1999: 348; Lancaster, 1996: 31-33). Perceptive patterns set by contemporary society (Barlow, Blakmore & Weston-Smith, 1990: 2) seem to manipulate thought to focus regularly on material objects perceived with the human five senses (Descartes, 1972: 35-36). Yet, the human senses seem to form reality inasmuch as they seem to perceive reality. For example, dream contents produce a sensation of objects although actual physical objects do not seem to be presented in the dream (Descartes, 1972: 36). It seems that humans are born with a-priori symbols, which hold active impressions, and serve initially as a tool of learning. As babies open their eyes, external reality reshapes itself to fit inner patterns. We train the external physical reality to fit our inner constructions (Roberts, 1995: 215). Space, for example, may not be something ‘out there’, but rather a state of the human mind. Even if a body is “removed”, the idea of the space that the body used to be in still remains (Kant, 1964: 44-47; Kant, 2000: 31). Time also seems to be a construction of the human mind, which enables humans to order the sense impressions (Einstein & Infeld, 1938: 311). As such, time seems to help resolve the contradiction of the “both/and” states of nature. For example, the contradiction of the observation of an object existing in a place and not-existing in the same place. Time can solve such a contradiction, as the object is understood as being in a place, and, after a time, having moved away (Kant, 1964: 47-49). In such a way, the human mind seems to limit the multidimensional aspects of reality, where all things originally exist together. The mind keeps dividing reality into smaller portions in order to simplify the whole, and to compare each piece to the others (Levi-Strauss, 2001: 13). It is by such comparison of elements with each other that the human mind can comprehend things (Einstein, 1962: 141). Yet, as the mind divides more and more, it actually makes it more and more “divisible” and thus complicated (Aristotle, 1994: 23). Such “simplified-complicated” contradiction may be the reason behind the growing number of questions we ask about life on one hand, and the increase of apparently modern scientific answers on the other hand (Giddens, 2000: 2). Yet, by challenging the common perception of what is “out there” (Kant, 1964: 49), one can open up to alternative possibilities within the human existence (Maimonides, 1942: 7; Jung, 1990: 85). Once looking inside, one uses inner skills that make the observation of duality or multidimensionality of reality possible (Kant, 1964: 26-29). The poet seems to focus on the united elements between seemingly unrelated and even contradictory events, symbols or objects (Jung, 1990: 20, 56). As the poet tends to eliminate judgement, the poet accepts contents, which come from beyond his/her own personality. In such way, the poet develops extra-sensory perception (Roberts, 1994: 34) that enables the experience of multidimensional reality, rather than the sense perception, which creates time/space reality (Jung, 1990: 72, 82; Chopra, 1999: 96).
The extended multidimensional “both/and” reality, which is reduced to a singular reality through a common attention on physical objects, is experienced by the poet through challenging the common, and opening up to alternatives.
With challenging of common perception the poet seems to open up to patterns of psychological initiation, where inspiration flows in a form of peak-experience. That experience is then reduced to a poem in the form of words. This chapter explores the process of communication in poetrymaking through three elements: Initiation, Inspiration, and Limitation.
With a poetic awareness of the multidimensional, the poet transcends physical perception, and slips into a psychological initiation. The poet’s body and mind seem to harmonize with the energies of nature that exist beyond the limits imposed by society, based on judgmental thought. Whereas thought cannot live in the current moment as it requires time to analyse data, the poet’s perception seems to embrace the current moment, as the poet is refined to grasp the emotional non-physical levels of reality (Steiner, 1972: 46-52; Jung, 1990: 78). This initiation is sometimes referred to as a moment of Now, where the poet seems to observe reality detached from time. The poet’s consciousness shifts into a strong present in which time seems to cease, as if time stops (Maslow, 1994: 63). It seems that the poet oversteps the mental psychic elements of the brain, which produces the perception of linear time (Einstein & Infeld, 1938: 311), and enters perception of eternity. Eternity, although framed under the concept of collective time, is argued to have no connection to time at all (Spinoza, cited by Praver, 1981: 875). As eternity is not confined to time, it may well explain perceptions of contents of past-events and future-events and contents of collective archetypes (Plato, 1997: 1241). These archetypes are not dormant symbols, but rather active forms of pure intelligent energy. Intelligent contents present themselves to the poet and suggest that knowledge, which is usually perceived through comprehension of the mind, can alternatively be perceived through non-physical peak-experiences. Consciousness can be said to move like the tectonic plates of the earth – when two clash, they overlap, causing an eruption of knowledge. Intensity of desire in form of a peak-experience seems to attract itself to that overlapping, and thus perceive information. Peak-experience is a tool that align itself to gaps where archetypal knowledge erupts. The poet becomes One with the knowledge.
With the perception of eternity, creative forces and consciousness seem to start work through the poet (Leibowits, 1997: 180), and send messages aiming at reminding the poet of what the poet seemed to know beforehand but has forgotten in the conscious span of life (Plato, 1938: 36-38). As the poet harmonises within an intensive emotional state, s/he seems to contact an old memory that surfaces. The poet fully re-lives the moment of Now, with the contents delivered by creative forces. By experiencing themselves once again as an expanded being, not-focused on space or time, poets can remember their three united being states of body-mind-spirit, and document that memory in a poem. As great teachers seem to teach only that which they need to learn, poets seem to learn from their own poem, as much as other readers may learn from it.
Although the poet reaches that creative moment through a psychological expansion of their higher-self, that creative force comes from outside the psyche of the poet and it seems to hold its own independent validity (Jung, 1990: 80-86; Sheldrake, Mckenna & Abraham, 2001: 15). The poet is simply a psychological-channel through which inspiration flows (Roberts, 1994: 34; Kandinsky, 2003). As such, the poet serves as a link to a larger consciousness reality, which exists around us and communicates information to us through the use of symbolising words delivered by the poet. Poems seem to serve as a written archetype of a cosmic consciousness. The role of poetry, thus, is not just an expression of an individual poet’s emotions, but rather a connection to higher realities, aiming at reminding humanity of the expanded reality. With such a connection, the poet is no longer an individual, but the collective race; the voice of all mankind (Jung, 1990: 82).
Poetry is a tool to communicate information to humanity, and the process of poetrymaking is the response of the poet to an archetypal voice that calls upon him/her to create (Kandinsky, 2003). This inner voice may call upon all people, and yet it seems that the poets actively responds to that call, through the expression of their inner emotions:
What does it take to see life through the eyes of God?
The Bravery to allow yourself to Be a God.
A united reality seems to contain expanded information that cannot be encompassed in its infinity by the finite human mind. Once the poets experience that united reality, they then seem to draw back to logic in order to decode it into words, through the act of dividing it. This act of dividing can be illustrated in the following example: there is an electrical field that exist everywhere around us, but in order to see the light we need to divide the field and to use a tool – a light bulb. Since peak-experience is united with its core existence, it cannot be fully divided. The dividing of an essence can occur only on the material symbolic levels of that essence (Aristotle, 1994: 31). Thus, the dividing of peak-experience into words can only produce a limited symbolic hint of the poet’s expanded perception of universal information. Arguably, written poetry is not an end-product, but rather a limited fraction of evidence that indicates on a much larger experience. The poem serves as a “light bulb” that indicates the “unseen” electricity of intelligence, which constantly flows from within all people and through all.
The psychological initiation of the poet to inspirational knowledge, aimed at experiencing it, is then reduced through words to a poem, aimed at reminding humanity of its availability.
Overall conclusion – the ideavolution of humans’ perception seems to move in two directions: the external-material path, set by modern society, and the inner-spiritual path, set by the poet.
Implication – there is a need for a balanced approach, looking at the external as well as the internal. If there is focus on the external physical reality alone, it will encourage a perception of actions and actuality that are blind to see their sources presented through interpretation of inner reality delivered by the poet.
© Gil Dekel. 8 November 2020.
A previous version of this article first published in Science, People and Politics,
Volume 1, Dec 2006. ISSN:1751-598X
Aquinas, T. Summa Theologica. Vol. 1. USA: Encyclopedia Britannica (1952).
Aristotle. Metaphysics, book Z and H. Oxford: Clarendon Press (1994).
Baker, E. A. New English Dictionary. London: Odhams Press Limited (1932).
Barlow, H., Blakmore, C. & Weston-Smith. M. Images and understanding. Cambridge: University of Cambridge (1990).
Caudwell, C. Illusion and Reality. London: Lawrence & Wishart (1977).
Chopra, D. Creating Affluence. London: Bantam Press (1999).
Chopra, D. Perfect Health. London: Bantam Press (2000).
Descartes, R. Philosophical Writings. London: Open University, Nelson’s University Paperbacks (1972).
Desilet, G. “Physics and Language – Science and Rhetoric”, Quarterly Journal of Speech, (1999) Vol. 85, No. 4, November, pp. 339-360.
Einstein, A. & Infeld, L. The Evolution of Physics. London: Cambridge University Press (1938).
Einstein, A. Relativity; The Special and The General Theory. UK: Methuen (1962).
Giddens, A. Runaway World; How Globalisation is Reshaping Our Lives. London: Profile Books (2000).
Jung, C. Memories, Dreams, Reflections. London: Collins and Routledge & Kegan Paul (1963).
Jung, C. “Approaching the unconscious”. In Jung, C. (ed.) Man and his Symbols. London: Aldus Books (1972).
Jung, C. The Spirit in Man, Art, and Literature. The Collective Works, 15. London: Routledge (1990).
Kandinsky, W. Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Project Gutenberg. (2003) Available from: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5321 [Accessed 22 December 2003]
Kant, E. Critique of Pure Reason. Jerusalem: Bialik (2000).
Kant, I. Critique of Pure Reason. London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd (1964).
Lancaster, M. Colourscape. London: Academy Group (1996).
Langer, S. K. Philosophy in a new key; A study in the symbolism of reason, rite, and art. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Harvard University Press (1982).
Leibowits, Y. Judaism, Jewish nation, and the State of Israel. Jerusalem: Shoken (1979).
Leibowits, Y. Conversations with Yeshayahu Leibowits on the “Moreh Nevukhim” of Maimonides (Rambam). Jerusalem: Gerta Leibowits (1997).
Leibowits, Y. & Lavi, T. Heaven, Above & Below; Philosophical Dialogues. Or Yehuda: Ma’ariv Book Guild (1997).
Levi-Strauss, C. Myth and Meaning. London: Routledge (2001).
Lowenfeld, V. & Brittain, W. L. Creative and Mental Growth. 6th ed. New York: Macmillan Publishing (1975).
Maimonides. The Guide for the Perplexed. London: George Routledge & Sons Ltd (1942).
Maslow, A. Religions, Values, and Peak-Experience. New York: Penguin (1994).
Plato. Complete Works. Indiana: Hackett Publishing Company (1997).
Praver, Y. (ed) “Time”. Encyclopaedia Hebraica, (1981) Vol. 32, pp. 872-886. Jerusalem: Encyclopaedia Publishing Comp.
Roberts, J. Seth Speaks; The Eternal Validity of the Soul. California: Amber-Allen Publishing and New World Library (1994).
Roberts, J. The Eternal Validity of the Soul. Tel-Aviv: Mirkam (1995).
Sheldrake, R., Mckenna, T. & Abraham, R. Chaos, Creativity and Cosmic Consciousness. Vermont: Park Street Press (2001).
Steiner, R. A Modern Art of Education. London: Rudolf Steiner Press (1972).
Tadmor, Y. Intentionality towards the Divine in man; Religious-existential education in Joseph Schaechter’s Philosophy. Tel Aviv: Reshafim Publications (1994).
Tamisha, S. The Science Behind Reiki – What Happens in a Treatment? (2015) Available from: https://www.poeticmind.co.uk/wellbeing/the-science-behind-reiki-what-happens-in-a-treatment/ [Accessed 18 November, 2003 from reikifed.co.uk website]