hyperbolic quests for firstness and newness at the expense of meaning or genuineness it may be. Artists, in turn, are presumably burdened with an "anxiety of influence" (Harold Bloom). The actual role of influence in creativity is smaller by several degrees of magnitude than its reputation would indicate. Again, it is because this is one of the things that is traceable. Influence is a given. Nearly everything else is not — that is, all the things that can take a concept from an idea (that shows traces of influence) to a completed work (that shows traces of influence). Because these are the things that are more difficult or in some cases impossible to entirely apprehend, outsize focus tends to be given (by critic and artist alike) to the thing that is easy to follow. This is the context in which we can understand Brahms's remark to a listener who pointed out a similarity in a theme from his First Symphony to one in Beethoven's Ninth: "Das bemerkt ja schon jeder Esel" — "Any ass can see that!" (Gunther Schuller, The Compleat Conductor). We speak the language that we inherit. It changes us and we change it.



— Existential Borders: The Edge of Being —

"[N]either ignorance nor knowledge was important: the world of explanations and reasons is not the world of existence." — Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea


For all the technique and formal integrity that can and ought be present in a creative undertaking, there need be something more — the germ, the spark of an idea, the classical Muse. The creator needs somehow to locate such a catalyst from the regions we have already determined to be most fertile with these stems. There is inherent then in the role of the creator an act of reach, or departure.

This act of communion with the unknown is what inspires creativity; the creator produces because it is the only way to relay the essence of that communion. "Inspiration" is misleading; its root comes from a word meaning "to blow into" — but inspiration is not a totally passive phenomenon that comes to us from without. It combines a certain passiveness of receptivity with an active reaching or casting out in search. It is in this state of passive/active openness and searching that we are said to be "inspired." And we can't bypass this moment or phase of inspiration, else we are left with little more than theoretical exercise taken to logical conclusion. Inspiration transcends reason; it doesn't ignore theoretical concepts, rather, it understands their applications a priori. It can't be achieved through a logical process, but its fruits are not without their own logic. In the same way, art might validly use the scientific as a means to an end, but it is impossible for science in itself to beget art. The result might engage the ratio (reasoning function) but fails to engage the intellectus (receptive intuitive function) (Pieper, 26-27) — in this case we see merely a permutation or an algorithmic solution; there is nothing new to "know" in the sense that we can know art.