Fight Instinct

Art + Creativity, Thoughts + Life

In conversations with creative friends lately, we keep coming back to the notion of our fight instinct. We’re seduced by it as a motivating force which causes us to throw our energies into work, social interaction or creativity, as if creativity could be driven by some threat to our egos. We feel it, we obey its imperative, but I believe we are wrong. Walking in the wood, moving slowly, I came to this.

What is this fight instinct? Is it the impulse to be gregarious, outgoing, challenging, combat, combat, fight, fight, push double-barreled? Run? Run? Is it the grim determination to push through, make perfect what is imperfect, not to let yourself off this hook that you’ve slung yourself up on? These fight impulses hang us by our toes, our necks in a noose we cannot escape from, for our very urge to escape drives the fight impulse on.

The artist with watercolour painting portrait of young woman in a green scarf, set among houseplants. Freelance illustration and custom portraits by Montreal Canadian artist.

We catch ourselves. We run. We run. We go faster, harder, want to push through, but as we push through, we work less fluidly.

What if we can catch this fight impulse, let us off our own hooks? Not into a flight, for we fear a flight – we fear that if we flee we will not return, we will not achieve. But what if we learned not to fear the pause? What if we learned that to halt and to see as is, not as must be, was not a threat? What if, like this rabbit before me, cleaning its foot, we could be aware of this human behind us and yet not see this human as a disappointed other hanging over our shoulders? What if another was only as another being in the wood?

What if we could see the lens which distorts, and not only its own distortion? What if we could see through its masks, and not only see through it? This would indeed in be catching ourselves in the moment of fight.


You can listen to the original thought process, if you like.

Watercolour painting portrait of young woman in a green scarf, set among houseplants. Freelance illustration and custom portraits by Montreal Canadian artist.

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