The Vessel And The Filter

Rick Rubin
326 words, 10K views, 13 comments

Each of us has a container within. It is constantly being filled with data. It holds the sum total of our thoughts, feelings, dreams, and experiences in the world. Let's call this the vessel.

Information does not enter the vessel directly. Like rain filling a barrel. It is filtered in a unique way for each of us.

Not everything makes it through this filter. And what does get through doesn't always do so faithfully.

We each have our own method of reducing Source. Our memory space is limited. Our senses often misperceive data. And our minds don't have the processing power to take in all the information surrounding us. Our senses would be overwhelmed by light, color, sound, and smell. We would not be able to distinguish one object from another.

To navigate our way through this immense world of data, we learn early in life to focus on information that appears essential or of particular interest. And to tune out the rest.

As artists, we seek to restore our childlike perception: a more innocent state of wonder and appreciation not tethered to utility or survival.

Our filter inevitably reduces Source intelligence by interpreting the data that arrives instead of letting it pass freely. As the vessel fills with these recast fragments, relationships are created with the material already collected.

These relationships produce beliefs and stories. They may be about who we are, the people around us, and the nature of the world we live in. Eventually, these stories coalesce into a worldview.

As artists, we want to hold these stories softly and find space for the vast amount of information that doesn't fit easily within the limits of our belief system. The more raw data we take in, and the less we shape it, the closer we get to nature.


Rick Rubin is renowned record producer. Excerpt above from his book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being