Having now watched all three parts of the film “Native of Owhyhee” on ‘Ōlelo Community Television I am struck by how complex and multilayered are Hawaiian concepts! It reminds me of a professor at our seminary in Yonkers, New York when asked by a student whether or not such-and-such theological concept was true gave the response, “Well it is and it isn’t”. How Hawaiian!
At the heart of Orthodox Christian Theology is the understanding that no matter what we might say about God, His reality is ultimately a mystery that cannot be grasped and we just have to live with that. And in relationship to that. For me this points out that some realities are various realities all at the same time. If we are trying to understand them we do an injustice when trying to reduce them to only one manageable concept.
This is true of creativity as well. I don’t believe that there is any such thing as bad creativity or better creativity. Creativity is the way that our interior and our exterior realities speak to one another and is different for each person. Whether something is considered as “good art” or “bad art” is not to the point of art’s purpose. In my opinion it is to make visible the conversation going on between myself and Life. Whether someone else “likes” my art is not important for me! If they and I use the same language in speaking about Life they might respond to it with a sense of recognition. If they speak with Life in another language then maybe not!
Why is it that we Westerners have this need to reduce things to simplistic categories? Why do we find it un-natural for us to live with the mystery of something without trying to capture it and cage it? How is it that Hawaiians have understood for so many centuries that things “are and they aren’t”? The mystery that is Hawaiʻi continues to deepen for me!