* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Everyone but a lunatic has a reason for what he does. Yes, in that sense I am a determinist. But I believe, with Kant, that the mind is self-determined. That is, I believe intensely in the creative freedom of the mind. That is indeed absolutely essential to man’s security in a chaotic world of change. He is faced all the time with unique complex problems. To sum them up for action is an act of creative imagination. He fits the different elements together in a coherent whole and invents a rational act to deal with it. He requires to be free, he requires his independence and solitude of mind, he requires his freedom of mind and imagination. Free will is another matter – it is a term, or rather a contradiction in terms, which leads to continual trouble. The will is never free – it is always attached to an object, a purpose. It is simply the engine in the car – it can’t steer. It is the mind, the reason, the imagination that steers.
Joyce Carey in The Paris Review Interviews: Writers at work 1st Series, edited and with an introduction by Malcolm Cowley
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