Pencil Exercise


Detailed executions of the styles I write about in Design Outlook 2020 require clarity in creativity. There is an exercise for achieving that sense of focus. It’s not a recent practice. I would bet that artists from Shakespeare to Goethe to Karl Lagerfeld employed it. It’s called the Pencil Exercise.

Over a matter of months if we can overcome ourselves to the point of being able to focus our thoughts for at least 5 minutes a day on some ordinary object, for example a pencil, and if during this time, we exclude all thoughts unrelated to this object, we will have made a big step in the right direction. Even those who consider themselves thinkers because of their scientific education should not scorn this means of preparing themselves for (creative) training, because if we fix our thoughts on something very familiar for a certain period of time, we can be certain that we are thinking objectively.

If we ask what is a pencil made of? How are these materials prepared? How are they put together to make pencils? When were pencils invented? and so on, our thoughts correspond to reality much more closely than they do if we think about the nature of life… The point is to think objectively, using our own inner strength. Once we have taught ourselves objectivity by practicing on sense perceptible physical processes that are easily surveyed, our thinking becomes accustomed to striving for objectivity even when it does not feel constrained by the physical world of the senses and its laws. We break ourselves of the habit of allowing our thoughts to wander without regard for the facts.

At the end of the exercise, endeavour to become fully conscious of an inner feeling of firmness and security which will soon be noticed by paying subtle attention.

See Also

Bring the exercise to a conclusion by focusing the thinking on the head and the middle of the spine (brain and spinal cord), as if the feeling of security were being poured into this part of the body. – as relayed by R. Steiner

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