We must not forget that only a very few people are artists in life, that the art of life is the most distinguished and rarest of all the arts. Who ever succeeded in draining the whole cup with grace? So for many people all too much unlived life remains over— sometimes potentialities which they could never have lived with the best of wills, so that they approach the threshold of old age with unsatisfied demands which inevitably turn their glances backwards.” Carl G. Jung
Through the past several weeks, I have once-again turned my glances backward over the practical space-saving necessity of shedding and shredding some more of the notebooks and files of one small lifetime. I found that quote of Jung’s written on note almost as if from my younger self to my older self. After some forty or so years, I no longer remember from which of his works it was clipped and I left myself no hint. In those days I always trusted my memory as reliable, something I can no longer do. I’m guessing the quote might have been from his Stages of Life.
The art of life is surely the superior art, but without art – whatever ours is by interest, vocation or avocation – poetry and literature, music, theater, painting or photography – much more of our lives might be “too much unlived” and the glass drained without the hope of any grace. It is our art or arts that help us to savor beauty and to understand – or at the very least sooth – pain and double joy.
Jung said further that “The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” We come to a specific art as a lover attracted to what appeals most: words, sound, story, vision. Through these gifts of the spirit our lives are enriched and we practice the art of living hugely.
©2016, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Hand-colored photograph of Jung outside Burghölzli in 1910 from the U.S. Library of Congress Commons File and in the U.S. public domain; the signature formatted in vector is by Screwing and is in the public domain.