I’ve been re-reading “The Grail Legend” by Emma Jung and Marie-Louise Von Franz. It’s a wonderful study of the many grail stories that sprung up during the middle ages. The Grail itself is a cup – a vessel. It has mysterious powers due to the fact that it once held the blood of Christ, which is a carrier of the Holy Spirit.
We humans are also vessels of blood. And also vessels of … something else. It’s an odd thing that when I attempt to look at people objectively, what I see are – by analogy – vessels, capable of being filled up with something. We can certainly be filled with emotions: love hate, fear, passion, etc. But we can also be filed with something even less tangible, a creative energy that we cannot see, but the fruits of which are all around us. Every component of the human-made world around us is a result of this creative energy. Look around you. Everything has been produced as a result of this energy.
My chair, for example. In of itself, a prototypical chair is a remarkable manifestation of this creative energy. But the chair that is holding me up right now is a virtual symphony of chairness, a primate in the evolution of chairs, as complex a chair as has ever been manufactured. Each component has been carefully designed and produced to fit into the totality of this chair. It is a supreme achievement. And that’s just the chair. The room I’m in is filled with equally remarkable human-made stuff.
How does this stuff happen?
It is the result of the creative energy. Humans have it and, for better or worse, we use it to build the human-made world. This creative energy is inside us. Yes, some more than others, and some times more than other times. It is a mysterious power, yet it’s existence shapes us and our environment.
I am not talking about the instincts, which is what we might call the innate life force that urges us to live and reproduce, although that force is certainly powerful, mysterious and pervasive. No, the creative energy I’m speaking of is the one that is distinctly human. It makes chairs, and cars, and computer software, and designer watches, and music, and lipstick.
The question of where this creative energy comes from is a question that has many answers, many human-made answers. Mythology and religion and fairy tales all have stories of creation, and we can approach understanding by studying these myths. But I don’t think we can know, not in a scientific way of thinking, the source of this creative energy.
So we humans are filled – or more aptly, have the capacity to be filled with a mysterious creative force. Filled up like a cup. Like a vessel.
Like a package.