The desire to connect

What Makes Us Tick? Hugh MackayI’ve been re-reading a book, “What Makes Us Tick?” by Hugh Mackay (Hachette, 2010). Here are a few favourite quotes from chapter 4, “The desire to connect”:

“The Russian literary critic, Viktor Shklovsky, wrote that ‘art exists that one might recover the sensations of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony.’ ”

“ ‘A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us,’ Franz Kafka once wrote to a friend. He was talking about reading, but the metaphor can be extended to our experience of any art form, and works even better when we apply it to our own creative output. Once we embark on the creative process, we may find we are connecting with ourselves in ways that surprise us. ‘Where did that come from?’ might well be a sign that we’ve cracked the frozen sea within us.”

“If we only consume and never create, there’s every chance we’ll become jaded in our responses to the arts, increasingly hard to please, too worried about the ‘meaning’ and ‘value’ of the work. Create something yourself and such questions either dissolve or evolve into a more sympathetic appreciation of the power of the arts to connect us to ourselves.”

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