Thursday, February 28, 2008

One thing led to another, and dozens of webpages later, I found myself reading this amazing article in The Guardian, Divine Inspiration. A highlight from psychoanalyst Adam Phillips:

"It is not news, even though it is continually shocking to see, just how much envy insidiously corrodes our pleasure in other people's gifts and talents. What is more difficult to apprehend is just how fearful people often are of their own inspiration, of their own odd and unfounded thoughts, and therefore how prone they are to sabotage it and attack it and trivialise it. Often just by ignoring it. If to be inspired means, as Eliot said, to be even momentarily unintelligible, unrecognisable to oneself, then inspiration is akin to possession, to being taken over. And this, for some reason that is worth considering, does not come naturally to most people.

However much we want inspiration, if it disturbs our normal sense of ourselves then we are going to resist it. Most people are not seeking self-knowledge; they believe - they live as if - they already know who they are. So self-knowledge in this sense is the enemy of inspiration, our best defence against this alien invasion. As in sex, we may long to lose our composure and self-control but there is one thing we desire even more, and that is not to. Self-knowledge protects us from inspiration; inspiration, like sexual desire, undoes us. For non-believers, inspiration is more like sexual desire than anything else; a fascination, a fear, and something we think of as having a secret solitary pleasure attached to it."


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