The nature of creativity. Ingenuity, inventiveness, innovation … all great, positive words that we use to compliment and admire people. Creative …. Hmmm, all too often a word we use to explain why someone we know is flaky, unreliable, thinks a bit differently, doesn’t fit the mould.
It’s an interesting response because it cuts to the heart of an issue that has vexed academics, psychologists and researchers for decades: what IS creativity actually?
We all agree that it is a process that results in new things being assembled or put together by humans. But we can’t agree on what ‘new’ means, or what ‘assembled’ means and whether this new thing has to have some form of actual value or not.
We are especially, most certainly not sure of HOW our brains do this. We know it’s a joining of the dots … one that we do rationally and consciously, using thought systems like logic and reason. But it is also something that we seem to do unconsciously, irrationally, using, well, there don’t seem to be any system and it all takes a long time to happen.
The nature of creativity.
Somewhere along the line, our society (western civilisation roughly) came to emphasis one of the products of creativity (art) as being what creativity was all about. AND as our society becomes more hierarchical, organised, and homogeneous, Creativity also becomes suspicious, different, dangerous. A little bit dirty.
It’s all pretty brutal because all that rational, logical, system and pattern following behaviour has brought us to a situation where we desperately NEED creativity to help us out of this mess … and way too many of us have forgotten how to do it!
Luckily, if what I believe about creativity is true, we will work our way out of this jam. We always have and I get the feeling we always will. You see, it’s already happening. The home-made games, the drive-by greetings, the endlessly imaginative, innovative, and inventive ways we are getting in touch, keeping in touch, doing work, helping each other, breaking the rules etc etc etc.
You see, Creativity isn’t a gift, a talent or a skill. It is a capacity. Like intelligence. And some people may have more of it than others, sure. But we all have it and through training, practice, acquiring of skills and information, we can get better at exercising this capacity.
The Corona crisis is creating the ideal environment for more people to be more creative: there is a need, there is a sense of freedom, there is time ….
Creativity brought us here, creativity will get us out. I hope that we all just don’t go back to sleep once its all over. I hope we remember how bad the world was and how our robotised society was sleep walking to its death before a small virus woke us all up.
But then I am an optimist. I am positive. Because I am creative. In my world, there is always more because I know I can make it, even from very little.