Finally, after years of cudgeling my brains, I’ve managed to track down a quote by Gary Snyder on the relationship between creativity and maintenance. It comes from a 1973 interview, which was then reprinted in Lookout: A Selection of Writings:
I like to sharpen my chain saw. I like to keep all my knives sharp. I like to change the oil in my truck.
Creativity and maintenance go hand in hand. And in a mature ecosystem as much energy goes to maintenance as goes to creativity. Maturity, sanity, and diversity go together, and with that goes stability. I would wish that we could in time emerge from traumatized social situations and have six or seven hundred years of relative stability and peace. Then look at the kind of poetry we could write! Creativity is not at its best when it’s a by-product of turbulence.
The concept in this quote, as you can see, could be applied to the current state of the U.S. economy, or to the adoption of new media by creative persons and by religious groups. But I think I’m going to use the concept in this quote for tomorrow’s sermon on spirituality and work.