Virginia Woolf on Creativity and the Androgynous Mind

While studying literature one of the gorgeous writers that I have had the privilege to study was Virginia Woolf. A woman of exceptional talent, she inspired me on many levels. Ranging from her various musings that of complexities of living as conscious and creative humans and how to read a book the one that struck a chord was on the artist's eternal dance with self doubt. So trenchant was her vision into the human experience that an era before the Psychologists explained why the androgynous mind was important to creativity she had written essays on the subject.

While on her journey to transform the politics of gender identity with her novel Orlando, Woolf contemplates:

"The mind is certainly a very mysterious organ … about which nothing whatever is known, though we depend upon it so completely. Why do I feel that there are severances and oppositions in the mind, as there are strains from obvious causes on the body? What does one mean by “the unity of the mind”? … Clearly the mind has so great a power of concentrating at any point at any moment that it seems to have no single state of being. It can separate itself from the people in the street, for example, and think of itself as apart from them, at an upper window looking down on them. Or it can think with other people spontaneously, as, for instance, in a crowd waiting to hear some piece of news read out."

and then she concluded:

"Clearly the mind is always altering its focus, and bringing the world into different perspectives."

When we are born we are put onto the category of male and female and thus begins the journey of two different species; the ying and yang basically put that the man has his roles and the women hers in each society of the world as if they are two different entities. Woolf argues that the most fertile mental and spiritual landscape is one where there is ample cross-procreation between the two:

"When I saw the couple get into the taxicab the mind felt as if, after being divided, it had come together again in a natural fusion. The obvious reason would be that it is natural for the sexes to co-operate. One has a profound, if irrational, instinct in favour of the theory that the union of man and woman makes for the greatest satisfaction, the most complete happiness. But the sight of the two people getting into the taxi and the satisfaction it gave me made me also ask whether there are two sexes in the mind corresponding to the two sexes in the body, and whether they also require to be united in order to get complete satisfaction and happiness? And I went on amateurishly to sketch a plan of the soul so that in each of us two powers preside, one male, one female; and in the man’s brain the man predominates over the woman, and in the woman’s brain the woman predominates over the man. The normal and comfortable state of being is that when the two live in harmony together, spiritually co-operating. If one is a man, still the woman part of his brain must have effect; and a woman also must have intercourse with the man in her."


Virginia Woolf is the one and only true she-wolf of english literature. 

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”

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