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Freedom to be Creative – John Steinbeck Quotes

John Steinbeck - Cagefreeology

The freedom to be creative comes from giving ourselves the time and energy to be creative.

John Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for his work in literature.  In his novel East of Eden in the 13th chapter he writes:

Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then — the glory — so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man’s importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from all other men.

He is talking about creativity and you have to love his description of the feelings associated with creativity.  No wonder artists, writers, carpenters, sculptures, and others love to create so much.

Part of being cage free and living without debt is to have the freedom to create what we love.  If we are strapped into a job that pays well and requires most of our weekly hours then we do not have this freedom to create.  We never feel what John Steinbeck describes above.  Frankly, the world will never be able to enjoy the creations others may have come up with, because we chose to live on more than we could afford.

In 1952 in a letters written to his children he wrote this:

At such a time it seems natural and good to me to ask myself these questions. What do I believe in? What must I fight for and what must I fight against?

Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.

And now the forces marshaled around the concept of the group have declared a war of extermination on the preciousness, the mind of man. By disparagement, by starvation, by repressions, forced direction, and the stunning hammerblows of conditioning, the free, roving mind is being pursued, roped, blunted, drugged. It is a sad suicidal course our species seems to have taken.

And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for this is one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost.

We who are pushing to live simply and debt free are keeping ourselves away from the issues he speaks about.  What are the society expectations of us right now?  You need to have a big house, 2 cars in your driveway (nice ones), new clothes, nice things, student loans, credit cards, good credit….  The list continues onward, but what it all means is we need debt and a job that pays enough for the debt.

If you chose to live in a tiny home, mobile home, rent a small apartment and live on enough, then the rules change drastically.  We end up with time to write, draw, paint, cut, measure, create, and pontificate about wonders we never would have been able to do before.  We have 168 hours in a week, which are used for sleeping, chores, eating, working, playing, and any other activities we chose to do.  The more debt we have, the longer that work bucket needs to be and the more stress that brings into the other hours of the week.

Just some morning food for thought.  Have a great day!

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