Faculty of creativity LO30350

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@postino.up.ac.za)
Date: 07/10/03

Replying to LO30341 --

Dear Organlearners,

Larry McFarlane < mcfarlane.lawrence@marshfieldclinic.org > wrote:

>Adults do not set out to become fearful, but most are encouraged
>at some time in their life to be certain. The sense of security that
>comes from certainty is more addicting than opium. We all want
>to be right. However, unless adults finally realize and admit that
>they cannot be and are not certain of anything and that they have
>been fearful of many things (including living and and loving and
>learning), that childlike sense of hope and awe and passion for life
>cannot return. Conversely, when that realization and admission
>do take place the paralysis of fear and certainty abates and the
>power to act returns.

Greetings dear Larry,

I have seldom in the past read a paragraph with so much insight.

I reminds me of an incident in our parish about ten years ago. A middle
aged policeman realised his calling was to become a preacher. Here in
South Africa for our reformed denominations it usually takes seven years.
In his last year he began to work in our parish under the guidance of our
preacher to gain experience.

Then, suddenly he became very ill. During the hospitalisation, he prayed
to be relieved from the pain and to get well too. But it took a much
longer time to recover than was usually the case. Eventually, when back
into good health, he gave a sermon on prayers and how to deal with
uncertainty in them. I thought it was great sermon, full of passion for
life and love. But afterwards the preacher and most elders grinded him for
introducing uncertainty into the Christian way of living. He was shocked
and so was i.

[By the way, the sermons of our pastor, strictly according to dogma, have
as little creativity as a dog has feathers. Dozens of members have left
our parish for others because these sermons are so boring. I myself on a
number of occassions had fallen into sleep with loud snoring. This made
the congregation laughing which otherwise would never had happened.]

This incident opened my eyes to how much religions in general with their
'infallible' dogmas are responsiple for this addiction to certainty. But
they are not the only one's. What about our educational insitutions
grading the performances of students and giving prizes to those performing
best? Alfred North Whitehead once wrote:
"The history of thought is a tragic mixture of vibrant disclosure
and of deadening closure. The sense of penetration is lost in
the certainty of completed knowledge. This dogmatism is the
anti-Christ of learning."

>Maybe fear and certainty use up all the free energy necessary
>for action, and it seems to me that creativity can only become
>manifest through action. A humble openness to and acceptance
>of uncertainty drives out fear. All of the creative role models I
>have ever known or admired were humble men and women of
>faith and action.

It is so true. It reminds me again of Whitehead who wrote: "In my own work
at universities I have been much struck by the paralysis of thought
induced in students by the aimless accumulation of precise knowledge,
inert and unutilised. It should be the chief aim of a university professor
to exhibit himself in his own true character - that is, as an ignorant man
thinking, actively utilising his small share of knowledge."

Read the above in conjuntion with:
"The careful shielding of a university from the activities of the
world around is the best way to chill interest and to defeat
progress. Celibacy does not suit a university. It must mate
itself with action."

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@postino.up.ac.za> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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