Last month I had the great pleasure of attending an LA Opera performance of Mozart’s masterpiece “The Marriage of Figaro.”
It may seem odd to be moved by a silly 18th Century comedic romp such as this operatic portrayal of romantic high jinks and confused and deceitful relationship intrigue. That was all just fun, and historically interesting.
But as I sat there listening, and feeling quite delighted, I realized there was much more at play there. I was witnessing the high creativity of human beings and although the historical reference was essentially foreign to me, as was much of the music, set design, and costume, I was still enthralled with it all and felt a deep kinship to all that was flooding my senses.
I understood what was happening on stage at a much deeper level than the words, music, and scenery were communicating. I was resonating with the human compulsion to create and was understanding the presentation of the intricacies of the human condition in the form of art, music, costume, and acting.
My heart was touched by the enormity of this task, and how beautifully, and even spiritually it was being carried out on stage, on this night, and in this place. Yes, Mozart was what we call a genius, but only because he possessed a clean and unobstructed connection with the divine that allowed him to express through music the things we all know deep in our hearts. There was genius on this particular stage as well, in the performance, the singing, the set design, the costumes, the musicians playing the music, the craftspeople, the organizers, the patrons, and yes, even in the audience—the “other” to the presentation, the observer. All genius, all in this moment connected on a common ground of sorts, all manifesting together and creating a sublime moment of material expression.
It is not all too often that I feel delighted to be a human being. This is an unfortunate product of our time as we see the hand of homo sapiens wiping out the very planet that graciously gives us the opportunity to exist. But we do possess something that seems to be quite unique—we can consciously take an intention and make it manifest in a form that is individually conceived—an intention that is essentially independent of instinct or DNA.
We create in a way no other creature on earth can create.
Oh yes, we can argue this point. There are elephants that can draw, chimpanzees that can sculpt, and a myriad of other creatures that build fantastical structures. But I doubt if any of that reaches the sophistication of our human production, nor does it come forth from an insatiable compulsion to bring heaven onto earth in a fixed form, with limits and definition, so it can be observed and integrated by our fellow humans.
So I was very proud to be a human as I walked out of the theatre that night—maybe only for a moment, but that moment was sublime. I thought of the huge responsibility that came with the ability to create in this fashion, and I thought about how we were still acting like children in taking on that responsibility. But then I thought of the great power we did possess as the creative beings that we were—a power to truly bring the unlimited potential of the divine, however you may define that, and chisel it into form that can interact with the material universe that lies within and without us.
What enormous change we can enact; our creativity is limitless.
All this profundity from a Mozart comic opera? For me it was easier to see the beauty and simplicity in our creative genius through something simply beautiful. The effort we go through to make beauty, and fun, and delight…and how successful we are at it…touched me. Yes, the great creative expressions of Einstein, Salk, Gandhi, and the like (creativity is also the manifestation of ideas, not just material forms) bring forth a profound revelation. But for me, on this night, it was the frivolous nature of deep genius that made me feel more concretely connected with my fellow human beings, and more aware of the responsibility we have to come together in the co-creation of our reality.