I have always marveled at musicians who recorded, for example, “Mozart: Complete Symphonies”, or “Beethoven – Complete Piano Sonatas”.
It is true, for instance, that Handel, Mozart and Beethoven were brilliant composers. But not all of their creations were necessarily brilliant. I would even say that only a small part of this kind of works actually was ingenious – even among the creations of Handel, Mozart and Beethoven themselves.
Usually such well-known composers were just good, strong professionals, and most of the music they created was nothing special. Good, sound music. Nothing more. But from time to time they created masterpieces. So how did they do it?
The same applies to poets. And to painters. And even to scientists, since science – real science – is always creative.
My conviction is that none of them created anything or could have created anything. No human being can create anything by themselves. But one can create the conditions under which a masterpiece will be born. And then one can become its author.
In a sense, all creativity takes place in the heavens. Or at least in the interaction of man with the heavens. But this interaction occurs at a level of creativity that is achieved when a person reaches (most often temporarily) an appropriate level of vibrations on the mental scale. Let’s call this level a state of genius.
We can say that there is a window open in the heavens, but in our normal state we do not see it. To see it, one needs to rise closer to heaven. And from this window one may receive divine music, divine poetry, masterpieces of art and discoveries that move our civilization forward.
So how do they – the geniuses – elevate themselves to this state? Sometimes one needs a strong emotional lift. Many geniuses worked when they were in love, or, occasionally, the opposite – during a time of intense grief. Sometimes alcohol and drugs were used for such elevation – I believe this is one of the reasons why many geniuses were known alcohol abusers, to put it mildly.
Sometimes insights come at night during sleep, because in a dream state one is less connected with the physical world, and it becomes easier to go beyond familiar concepts and limitations. Thus, the chemist Dmitry Mendeleev saw the periodic table of elements in a dream, and physicist Niels Bohr likewise saw the structure of the atom. The idea of the Divine Comedy came to Dante in his sleep, Goethe dreamt the plot of the second part of Faust, and the inventor Edison actually made a list of questions that he wished to receive answers to before going to sleep. Rafael saw the image of his famous Madonna in a dream. The list of discoveries and masterpieces seen by their authors in dreams is surprisingly large – and we are talking only about the recorded facts.
Once one manages to rise up the scale, it becomes easier to go up there again. Therefore, moments of “connecting with the spirit” come more and more often. If the artist connects these occurrences with external factors – such as alcohol – then he/she increasingly begins to turn to drink in order to get into this state again.
If the artist, composer, poet or scientist is working in his/her usual state, then this is not true creation – no masterpieces result. Rather, it is copying – the copying of those ideas that were previously obtained in a state of genius. What results is nothing more than strong professional work, branded by the name of its author.
This does not mean that a genius does not need to be a professional, or that they can do their work without effort. To relay masterpieces received from the divine sphere, to translate them into the limited earthly language is very difficult. How many masterpieces have remained obscure only because their recipients did not have the sufficient professional knowledge to make them accessible to other people? Many of us hear extraordinary music in our dreams, but it would require the skill of a composer to make it available to others.
The state of consciousness and the professional skills are like two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, it is impossible to master the profession without effort. On the other hand, effort alone is never enough for the creation of a masterpiece. The state of consciousness always determines the result of the effort.