The poet William Blake one wrote, “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.”
Jim Morrison, frontman for the legendary band The Doors and a poet of a different age renewed Blake’s idea with a modern breath, though he did so by quoting the writer Aldus Huxley: “There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”
Morrison’s band allegedly took its name from the portals described by those two guys.
Creative people are always wondering about what's next. Try as they might to live in the present, the present doesn't stand still. The present doesn’t exist. We’re always looking at the onrushing window of time, and simultaneously aware of the time that’s just raced passed us. Where is that place where the past and present meet? The truth is: it doesn’t exist. The past and present meet in the space where the ocean meets the shore, a moving line of infinitely shallow water that’s always disappearing into wet sand.
Clearly there’s a presumption on these pages that everyone has some potential, in some way, to express a measure of creativity, a spark of life the glows brighter because of the breath we blow on it. I suppose that’s true, but the concept of universal creativity dims quickly, like piety diminished by too much factual examination. Creativity flies on wings of sensuality, but that’s not enough to get it off the ground. Creativity propels itself into the sky through the hard-to-describe engines of motivation. Even creators of the most intangible mathematical expressions—things inherently built of nothing more than pure mind and cognition—feel the glowing warmth of universal creation when they reflect on what new ideas have been wrought. Invention of all sorts, from imaginary numbers to hand-spun woven fibers keeping you warm on a winter’s night, come from someone's desire to make something that didn’t exist previously. Cold January air might motivate a person to weave a blanket, but someone else might simply buy the thing. The reason why is simple: we’re not all creative, at least not in the same ways, and it’s only the self help folks who try to convince you otherwise. But we are all capable of expanding our range, especially if we simply start with the courage to observe the world around us in new light.
There’s a sensuality in the invention of a new idea. It feels like intentionally unclothed skin, available to the world and unabashed. There’s a rush of blood, a wash of air, a compression of time. We experience new things when we open ourselves to their potential.
These are the doors of perception that Blake was trying to describe. Fully alive, we see the world in a stage of constant change, and if we give into that eternal state of change, we begin to understand that the present doesn’t exist at all. There can only be what came before and what’s yet to happen.
In between, there are doors.
Break on through to the other side.