"Creativity comes from this refusal to run, this willing encounter with anxiety and what lies beyond it. It is an opening up to the unknown, the unconscious, the daimonic. And it can be terrifying. The real trick is learning to use the anxiety to work rather than escape. And all of this requires immense courage, the courage to create.
"So anxiety stems from conflict -- either inner or outer conflict -- and creativity is an attempt to constructively resolve that conflict. Why do people create? We create because we seek to give some formal expression to inner experience. Certainly, that inner experience is sometimes joy, peace, tranquility, love, etc. We wish to share that experience with our fellow human beings."
But, he continues, human nature being what it is, "more often the inner experience is conflict, confusion, anxiety, anger, rage, lust, and so forth. So this is what fuels and informs the bulk of creative work, and it is what gives it its resonance, intensity, and cutting edge."
Anxiety not only motivates most creative activity, Diamond notes, "it inevitably accompanies the process. This is because in order to be creative -- to bring something new into being, something unique, original, revolutionary -- one must take risks: the risk of making a fool of oneself; the risk of being laughed at; the risk of failing; the risk of being rejected."
This is the reason "true creativity" requires so much courage, he explains. "One can never know the outcome of the process at the outset. Yet, one is putting oneself on the line, fully committing oneself to the uncertain project. Hence, one is plagued by the demons of doubt, discouragement, despair, trepidation, intimidation, guilt, and so on. Who wouldn't feel anxious?
"Nonetheless, it is during this process -- once we have decided unequivocally to throw ourselves fully into it, for better or worse, to completely commit to it -- that there can be moments of lucidity, clarity, passionate intensity that transcend all petty concerns.
"It is then -- when we stop worrying about what others will think, when we stop trying so hard, when we relinquish ego control and surrender to the daimonic, when we relax or play -- that what Jung termed the 'transcendent function' kicks in, and the conflict is resolved, the problem is solved, the creative answer revealed."
So this kind of alliance with the daimonic aspect of our selves is of profound value. As Diamond writes in his book: "By bravely voicing our inner 'demons' -- symbolizing those tendencies in us that we most fear, flee from, and hence, are obsessed or haunted by -- we transmute them into helpful allies, in the form of newly liberated, life-giving psychic energy, for use in constructive activity.
"During this alchemical activity, we come to discover the surprising paradox that many artists perceive: That which we had previously run from and rejected turns out to be the redemptive source of vitality, creativity, and authentic spirituality."