In response to another poster’s statement, on an Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog, that human beings are not being able to predict history, I wrote the following remarks:
“What you are not giving cognition to, imho, is the creative process. Understanding historical trends, and therefore predicting history (or at least coming closer than most in doing so), is not merely an exercise of the mind through ‘academic discipline.’ Why are some musical prodigies, like Mozart, able to create beautiful music at 5 years of age, whereas others may study notes in as an ‘academic discipline’ for a lifetime and never be able to make equivalent beautiful music? (‘Man Facing Southeast’ gives testimony to that.)
When I was single, I dated a young lawyer who told me that there are as many facts to perceive in handling a case as blades of grass on the lawn, and that the secret to perceiving correctly is to know what to “weed out” (bad pun intended 😉 ) from the rest of the facts in the ‘grass’ to develop a case effectively and with persuasive impact.
Actress Ingrid Bergman and director Roberto Rossellini produced twin girls, Isabella Rossellini and Isotta Ingrid Rossellini. Isabella ‘knew’ her craft through a mysterious creative process; Isotta Ingrid was a Ph.D. in history who studied her academic discipline well and became a professor in NYC. Isabella, who won an Academy Award nomination for her role in David Lynch’s ‘Blue Velvet,’ said she could not put into words her understanding of her character in ‘Blue Velvet,’ but she ‘knew’ that character very well. She put on the screen what she knew, without words to explain. Roberto Rossellini had deep historical knowledge, combined with great creative understanding, and he was arguably one of the world’s great directors, through what he put on the screen in ‘Open City’ and ‘Paisan.’
Meryl Streep does not understand her characters through studying them in an ‘academic discipline’ process, but by embodying her characters’ deeper inner selves through creative processes, similar to the way the 5 year old creates beautiful music. It is a gift, inherited.
None of us can ever know enough facts to fully understand history, in full, as the Creator does. There are probably as many facts in history as there are stars in the Universe.
But, through a creative process we can feel history unfolding if we are attuned to our creative resources that are beyond words, not by denying facts but by transcending them in a creative process. That is what allows some to ‘predict’ history’s unfolding with more precision than others. Why are there prophets who can with some accuracy ‘predict’ history. I believe they have a gift that is as much driven by creative processes as by intellectual ones.
I try never to write or speak simply of ‘knowing the facts of history’ but of ‘having a sense of history’ in which one can, through a creative, and therefore somewhat mysterious way, understand history’s probable unfolding. As I said earlier in a more succinct way before my daily walk, ‘Time will tell. Some awareness is beyond words.’ ”