Art grows from the soul, not the intellect.

(Julia Cameron)

You can be the creator of your own life or a faithful reproducer. Being a designer applies to many areas: private life, education, or art. A creator can come from the perspective of an exclusive intellect or by co-operating with the soul and one's own mind. The different positions contribute to offering us a wide range of products, which raises many questions about where authenticity can be found.

Another question arises here: has the word artist been misused? We used to label the authors of works in various fields as artists, distinguishing between a wealth of disciplines and fields. But who is a true artist? A perfect craftsman, initiator, and creator, or perhaps a reproducer, performer, and service provider?

Culture of the mind

Art is a space for your expression and therefore embodies your personality. Andrew Bienkowski, in his book, gave the example of an exercise in which he asked his patients, "Who are you?" Most of them answered with what they do for a living, where they live, or how many children they have. This exposed the difficulty involved in answering this question. "Who you are" requires addressing what represents you and what is manifested through you. And that form of expression can be art.

However, we live in a system where mind-based perception dominates. This focus on it causes us to fall into a series of traps—misleading mental circles, repetitive cycles—to which we unknowingly succumb. And in this way, we can repeat the mistakes of one's parents, following their unfulfilled dreams, or pleasing other members of society but not ourselves. By doing this, we lose our primal feelings and the ability to recognize our own emotions, fulfilling the expectations of others.

The culture of the mind is therefore strongly based on the intellect, which prescribes acquiring and owning the template of tasks to be performed rather than inducing self-exploration. Moving beyond the template also sometimes requires detachment from the zone of the intellect that commands replication of the familiar. Breaking away from familiar anchors, concepts, and the world of statuses, rules, and opinions requires consent to what is new and unknown. And this is what art grows on, based on the non-obvious and the innovative. Opening up to the world requires abandoning rigid ideals and norms. Real art grows from the soul; it cannot be drawn from it in the recesses of an over-intellectualized mind. Anything new requires demolition to create a new individual story.

Substitute themes

True art does not need to be bombarded with slogans. The authentic work of an artist, not only that of painting, but also that of literature, visual art, performance, or workshop, does not need a speech to defend the work. We live in a world of words spilling out right and left without much thought or responsibility. Words can be an essential tool, as can intellect, but the foundation grows on content. Less is often more. The Polish theologian Józef Tischner wrote:

Beauty should need no one, not even an artist.

(Józef Tischner)

Unfortunately, visual marketing is increasingly becoming a lever for a world controlled by the empty authority of the intellect. And in this way, some substitute subjects are created that are promoted for your needs, desires, or goals. Mere scientific knowledge unsupported by personal experience as well as by interdisciplinary comparison, examining the reliability of phenomena through the prism of culturality, may mean nothing if we detach it from meaning making. The knowledge we have access to can be a prison of the mind and an intellectual substitute subject that takes us away from thinking, decision-making, and individuality.

Without the skillful use of the intellect, the space for art disappears. The intellect can be the starting point for the construction of knowledge, but building a cultural life on it has become a shot in the foot that brings chaos between what grows out of talent and what is based on knowledge as the only criterion. Someone can be, for example, a perfect artist who presents a high technical level in any field of art (music, literature, etc.) and does not contribute anything individual or valuable without being memorable to the viewer. This individual then becomes a perfect service provider, but can he still be called an artist?

The same is true in life. Sometimes building our world on strategies of the mind draws people to live a life of show in an artificially presented idyll. It is possible to go through life in an unquestionably moral way—starting a family, even achieving success and material status—but is this always evidence of having true happiness? Sometimes being a designer requires non-linear thinking and the ability to transcend our boundaries and go beyond logic. So life doesn't have to be flawless, like in an advertising spot; it can be complex and elaborate, but also happy.

Going beyond the ordinary

According to these reflections, Magda Witkowska, in her book 'We are all weird', points out that nowadays it is worth fragmenting rather than uniting. Here, the author suggests a context of going beyond the ordinary, promoting free diversity and individuality, thus providing us with a certain access to exclusivity. In this perspective, being an artist provides a new quality to a society that can draw from and have access to the most exclusive products. Being an individual creator feeds into the individuality of others. Following our own uniqueness contributes to expanding the range of offerings in the modern world, providing a wide range of alternatives and services.

Art and education

Art should grow beyond form, as should education. After all, it is the starting point for the progress of society. Pablo Picasso once said:

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when one grows up.

(Pablo Picasso)

We can see that even at the earliest stages of education, the graphic areas of slogans are promoted, which are far from promoting individualism.

Students are commonly immersed in a variety and abundance of publications and educational templates that distance both teacher and student from the essence of education. If we call education only the teaching of content, then we can stop at these tools. Education, however, is not only learning but also, above all, the formation of social and emotional competences, the building of individuals' own residency, relationships with themselves, and bonds. Rituals are of similar importance.

Rituals build a certain bond between student and teacher—not a prisoner of a rigid form but more of a celebration. So a ritual could be the teacher's daily conversation with the students just before the lesson starts, a hug, a discussion—how was the weekend? It could also be playing a song (chosen by the students) to defuse emotions. Rituals, then, have nothing to do with the world of forms, visual templates about bond building, or slogans in the school corridor. Affection is built not with the mind but by the feeling, and in this state, any learning process can take place. Education should therefore grow beyond form, just like art.

Everyone can manifest themselves artistically in many ways, including in everyday life. It can be cooking and composing meals, deciding on clothing, or helping a child with lessons. And here we are confronted with a choice: the world of forms or going beyond forms. We are surrounded by ready-made recipes for meals, diets, styling, or templates that are a form of visual marketing. If we treat these options as tools, then they can be helpful in establishing our own solutions. If, however, we only follow the path of open, ready-made models, then we cut ourselves off from independent thinking and contact with our own soul. We all have an inner world of our own needs, boundaries, and resources, of which we are the stewards. If we hand over this power to others, we deprive ourselves of the art of thinking. Moreover, this thinking shapes a man’s personality, including a deep awareness of what I want and need.


1 Bienkowski, A. 2008. orig. Radykalna wdzięczność (‘ The greatest gift’). Konstancin-Jeziorna: Medium, p. 87.
2 Cameron, J. 2017. orig. Droga artysty. Jak wyzwolić w sobie twórcę (‘ The artist’s way. A spiritual path to higher creativity’). Wydawnictwo Szafa.
3 Tischner, J. orig. Filozofia dramatu (‘Philosophy of drama. Introduction’). Wprowadzenie. Znak. Witkowska, M. 2014. orig. Wszyscy jesteśmy dziwni (‘We are all weird’). Helion S.A. p. 84.