Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mining the unconscious for flint and coal

Coal and flint are types of stone. Both contain fire but in different ways. A burning coal contains fire in actuality, whereas flint contains fire in potential. This has two basic ramifications. The fire within the coal is easily accessed, simply blowing on the coal causes the fire to surface. The flint, in contrast, must be struck with another stone, only then does it produce sparks. On the other hand, the fire in coal is limited and apt to burn out, while the flint contains an endless supply of sparks.
In Kabbalah it is taught that the unconscious contains two general levels that parallel these stones. The more superficial level  - the coal - contains memories that enable one to effectively and easily interpret, make sense of, or engage with the world. For instance, as you read this post your unconscious automatically emanates the reading skills, word recognition, relevant information and experiences, etc, that allow you to effortlessly make sense of this post. The deeper level - the flint - however, is tapped when one feels that they lack the memories needed to understand the information. One then mentally exerts himself in order to break the code of the presented information - he strikes the flint - and often the unconscious produces sparks of insight and clarity into the subject matter. Memory, like fire in coal, is exhaustible; creative flashes, like sparks from a flint, are inexhaustible.

Almost all skaters tap both unconscious 'stones' in any given skate session. Typically, they do so in a specific order. When they first arrive at a skate park they tend to warm up by performing tricks that they have already mastered, which they execute quite easily and cleanly. Afterward, however, they attempt to learn new tricks where they exert immense effort, repeating the trick over and over, experimenting with different strategies, until suddenly the flint sparks, and they acquire a new skill...


1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.