You have less control over your environment and the environment in which your children grow than you think. The variables are infinite. For two weeks I’m writing about Creativity’s Terrain and the variables you can control. Yesterday I wrote about Minimizing Learned Helplessness.
Highly Creative people store intense humanity in pockets, like rich dirt sifted by earthworms stores oxygen. Fear is part of the human experience, and so it must be crossed. Protection from it does not serve Creation, but deprives it.
Behind a chemist’s shop in a town in Spain, five friends sat around a table laughing and drinking new wine. Christmas Day 1884.
A 3-year-old boy watched the other men from the protected post of his father’s arms. The earth began to shake.
The party broke suddenly, jars and shelves crashing all around. Men, women, young and old spilled into the streets of Malaga running from shelter. Screaming, yelling, desperate for open space. The man with the boy, little Pablo, ran home instead to hurry his pregnant wife out of their crumbling apartment. Of this moment, years later, Pablo said,
My mother was wearing a kerchief around her head: I had never seen her like that before. My father took his cloak from its hanger, flung it over his shoulders, snatched me up and wrapped me in its folds until only my head was peeping out.
The little family soon found new shelter in a friend’s home, not far away. Six aftershocks kept them fearful and awake that night. And three days later, the woman gave birth prematurely to baby Dolores, the second of the Picasso children.
Psychologist Alice Miller said,
Picasso’s sister was born three days after the earthquake; possibly labor was induced by the fright his mother experienced. So in the space of three days the three-year-old Picasso had to cope with the shock of an earthquake and the birth of his first sister in a highly unusual situation and in strange surroundings.
Picasso’s parents could not protect him, or themselves, from terror.
But the way through fear is love and Picasso’s parents loved him with no reserve. He used highly volatile emotions like tools, because someone loved him through the chaos.
Without love, fear instead becomes a catalyst for the lowest of human actions. This happens to Rodion, the main character of Dostoevsky’s classic novel, Crime and Punishment. Rodion, with cognitive energy to burn but no love, longs for power rather than Creation. In the novel’s climax, he murders a weak old woman with an axe to prove he has no fear. What saves Rodon from destruction in the end, is love.
When fears overwhelm you need, at least, a hand to squeeze. Fear crossed on a bridge of human love leads to Creation. And, Creation has the power to extinguish fear.