2011-09-21

The Psychology of Art

I had a half hour to spare and spent it in front of the psychology-section at the local library. There is plenty for those who seek help and support, mostly about separations, depressions and sleeping disorders. Surprisingly many books about sleeping. I came home with two volumes by Rollo May, one of the classics in the field of existential psychology.

I´m pretty sure I´ve read him before, in the 80´s, probably "Freedom and Destiny" ("Frihet och √∂de" in Swedish) but I can´t remember much about it. Or maybe I´m wrong, perhaps it´s just that everyone refers to him that makes me think I have read him. However that may be, the one that really resonated with me this time was "The Courage to Create" (="Modet att skapa") which is a thin volume, densely written, about the psychology of the artist and the role he has to play in society.

It really has made me think differently about art, both literature and visual arts. He writes about how the artist channels the zeitgeist and expresses the undercurrents of politics and culture in his work and it really inspires me to study history - a subject that I´m already very interested in - from another point of view.

Excellent book. "Freedom and Destiny" didn´t grab me as much this time around. Perhaps I will have reason to return to it later. But for anyone interested in the mechanics of creativity and art, I really recommend Rollo May´s "The Courage to Create".

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