James Baldwin on “The Creative Process”

“We do the things we do, and feel what we feel, essentially because we must – we are responsible for our actions, but we rarely understand them. It goes without saying, I believe, that if we understood ourselves better, we would damage ourselves less.

But the barrier between oneself and one’s knowledge of oneself is high indeed. There are so many things one would rather not know! We become social creatures because we cannot live any other way.

But in order to become social, there are a great many other things which we must not become, and we are frightened, all of us, of those forces within us which perpetually menace our precarious security. Yet, the forces are there, we cannot will them away. All we can do is learn to live with them.

And we cannot learn this unless we are willing to tell the truth about ourselves, and the truth about us is always at variance with what we wish to be. The human effort is to bring these two realities into a relationship resembling reconciliation.”

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One thought on “James Baldwin on “The Creative Process”

  • Reconciliation with self takes a clear knowledge of self, courage to be able to comprehend the relationship between personal troubles and broad public issues.

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