Create Dangerously

Wisdom can be found in the most unexpected of places. I read Robert Greenleaf’s book nearly thirty years ago and yet find that my hand still seeks it out like a familiar and well-worn glove. Here’s what Greenleaf has to say on art and creativity:

“Abert Camus demands that each of us confront the exacting terms of our own existence, and, like Sisyphus, accept our rock and find happiness with it. Albert Camus stated in his last published lecture, “Create Dangerously:”

‘One may long, as I do, for a gentler flame, a respite, a pause for musing. But perhaps there is no other peace for the artist than what he finds in the heat of combat. “Every wall is a door,” Emerson correctly said. Let us not look for the door, and the way out, anywhere but in the wall against which we are living. Instead, let us seek the respite where it is—in the very thick of battle. For in my opinion, and this is where I shall close, it is there. Great ideas, it has been said, come into the world as gently as doves. Perhaps, then, if we listen attentively, we shall hear, amid the uproar of empire and nations, a faint flutter of wings, the gentle stirring of life and hope. Some will say that this hope lies in a nation, others, in a man. I believe rather that it is awakened, revived, nourished by millions of solitary individuals whose deeds and works every day negate frontiers and the crudest implications of history. As a result, there shines forth fleetingly the ever-threatened truth that each and every man, on the foundations of his own sufferings and joys, builds for them all.’

One is asked, then, to accept the human condition, its sufferings and its joys, and to work with its imperfections as the foundation upon which the individual will build wholeness through adventurous creative achievement. For the person with creative potential there is no wholeness except in using it. And, as Camus explained, the going is rough and the respite is brief.

Servant Leadership: A Journey Into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness, Robert K. Greenleaf, 1977, page 11-12.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jack
    Oct 26, 2008 @ 17:11:08

    Do you know where I can obtain a copy of this lecture in its entirety?


  2. madsilence
    Oct 28, 2008 @ 11:10:45

    Jack, Greenleaf provides this reference:

    –Albert Camus, “Creat Dangerously” from Resistance, Rebellion and Death. New York, Knopf, 1961.


  3. darrell
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 15:30:22

    I too first read Greenleaf’s SL three decades ago. It was The Game Changer for me, in marriage and family life, in my profession and in my faith. Such joy to revisit him here today. Thank you, MadSilence!


  4. madsilence
    Mar 01, 2012 @ 20:56:52

    As I sit here my copy of Greenleaf’s book is within easy reach. Interesting how he writes within the context of his business career. His lessons in leadership can inform many of our business leaders driven by greed and the thirst for power.


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