Be a funktionslust

by Tessa Cheek

"There is a German work, funktionslust, which means the pleasure of doing, of producing an effect, as distinct from the pleasure of attaining the effect or having something. Creativity exists in the searching even more than in the finding or being found... Play is intrinsically satisfying."  — Stephen Nachmanovitch, Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art

The fabulous writer Jeanne Larsen has me asking what creativity is and where it comes from in her mind-bending class on creative pedagogy at Hollins University. The answer, Nachmanovitch suggests, is play. Play free of the demand to produce something useful, something at all. It takes bravery to play like this, to act the fool. That bravery keeps you flexible and strengthens your work, not matter what it is. So let's get this fool train chugging! 

The foolish song:    

The foolish character:

"King Lear and the Fool in the Storm" by William Dyce

"King Lear and the Fool in the Storm" by William Dyce

"The Fool does not follow any ideology. He rejects all appearances, of law, justice, moral order. He sees brute force, cruelty and lust. He has no illusions and does not seek consolation in the existence of natural or supernatural order, which provides for the punishment of evil and the reward of good. Lear, insisting on his fictitious majesty, seems ridiculous to him. All the more ridiculous because he does not see how ridiculous he is. But the Fool does not desert his ridiculous, degraded king, and accompanies him on his way to madness. The Fool knows that the only true madness is to recognize this world as rational." — Jan Kott, Shakespeare Our Contemporary. 

The card: 

Whether it's standard playing cards or tarot, the fool or joker arises as a symbol of newness and rebellion, what plays the game outside the rules.  

 

How can you bring a childlike sense of play, a puppy's reckless tumbling, a jester's sense of humor to your own creative practice?