chapter  7
10 Pages

The question of forgiveness

The `creative genius' on which we intend to focus here is not the acclaimed creativity of art and science, but the essential creativity of our daily psychic efforts aimed at survival, coexistence, empathy and forgiveness. If creativity is opted for, it usually becomes a principle of action within the self: it comes into being within inner life in the attitude of choosing and desiring it. A lack of creativeness indicates that pressured activity derives from a situation where the contingencies of the self are detached from the deeper sources of psychic life. And, in fact, the prevalence of reactions, as contrasted with the action of developing paradoxes, somehow induces an atrophy of inner life. According to Winnicott, when psychoanalysis has attempted to explore the issue of creativity it has largely lost sight of its main theme: `The creative impulse is . . . something that is present when anyone ± baby, child, adolescent, adult, old man or woman ± looks in a healthy way at anything or does anything deliberately.'1 In relational events of any kind, there is always space for some extra sublimation that leads to creativity, to genius, to the extraordinary in the life of ordinary people. According to Oliver, even in adverse circumstances the extraordinary surplus within the routine, the virtuoso performance, gradually decolonizes psychic space and liberates it from the restrictions of tradition. She remarks, nevertheless, that the possibility of sublimation and creativity can be missing from the lives of `marginalized people insofar as they are circumscribed by values, meanings and images that foreclose their agency as meaning makers'.2 And yet it is this basic insistence on any kind of minimal forms of creativity that opens routes towards the creation of ulterior meaning. Oliver also remarks that geniuses are necessary inspirations for our psychic life: inner life depends on a sense of legitimization of the possibility of creativity and greatness for all of us.3 But to practise idealization and identi®cation, we also need to conceive of genius as the product of the life of ordinary people who do simple but extraordinary things.