I occasionally get bored with myself dashing off thoughts and rants on this blog. As I am not schizophrenic and therefore unable to turn on a different personality to supply a different perspective, I have come up with a solution: other people and their thoughts and rants.
Today? Daniel A. Roberts. I don’t know Daniel. I’m fairly certain he isn’t on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. In addition, I don’t think he had anything to do with Lenin and Co toppling the Romanov Dynasty. I do know, however, that he’s a writer (I have evidence for this: Daniel’s website and Daniel’s Amazon Author Page). I can’t vouch for his books, as I haven’t read any of them. However, I can vouch for his courage in tackling what is not an easy subject (and his good humor in doing so).
Today’s interrogation is on the subject of creativity. Have you ever wondered where creativity comes from? Why are we creative? Why isn’t your dog, who is currently chasing his own tail, creative? What does creativity mean? You get the drift. Let’s see what Daniel can come up with.
Creativity is a child of future ambitions, parented by past experiences and present conditions. Be it a challenge in problem solving, an exercise in sculpting a piece of art, or merely whistling a tune made up on the spur of the moment, your working from a unique substance. The essence of that substance is forged by human willpower. The glue that keeps creativity in line with a person’s imagination are developed throughout that individual’s life. This is why when you have two people go to the same exact event and stand side by side, and you ask them later on to create a picture of what they saw, you will have two completely different visuals.
Like a rope, creativity comes from many different things twined together. Imagination. A sprinkle of knowledge. The ability to connect with an internal desire and suddenly, creativity comes into existence. Take a musician as an example. They create songs to inspire, to move emotions. They make it up, hence the use of their imagination. They have to use the knowledge of their instruments and for some, their musical education. Savants who are musically talented by ear still reach for knowledge, but on an instinctive level rather than a formal education. The desire comes from their passion for music, and thus creativity is born.
If not for creativity, the very essence of this medium in which you are reading these words through wouldn’t have been created. A long time ago, in an age we cannot recall as a race, somebody decided to create a wheel. That very tiny particle of primitive creativity changed the world. For all of our technology today, if the wheel was erased and unattainable for whatever reasons, we would be devastated as a civilization. Every speck of creativity is priceless because of this, simple or complicated in nature. No matter how small something may seem, a hundred, even a thousand years from now, the end results of our own creativity may also end up changing the world.
Creativity has meaning for the same reason why food is priceless to a starving person. We crave creativity on all levels. Our minds demand it from other sources, as it isn’t a self serving essence. We consume it each and every time we read a book, watch a movie, look at art or listen to a song. It means quite a bit to the human mind, or we begin to suffer without it. If you were to tune out all measures of creativity even for a day, the ‘boredom’ your mind would generate would drive you crazy.
On the flip side of this view, there are those who aren’t happy unless they can contribute their own creativity. They want to give back something to the world that fed their minds. Saturated with countless bits and pieces, they use their own creativity that aligns with their passions. Like writers, they were readers first. Musicians were listeners first. Teachers in a classroom were students well before they started their creative career. Yes, teachers must use creativity to teach. They stand up in front of an audience for a living, going through the motions of an actor/actress and speaking in a manner that won’t tranquilize their students. Sadly, not all teachers are a success in that department, just as much as others aren’t successful in their creative ventures. Does it make it mean anything less? Nope. The contribution is still valuable. Even the most mundane, primitive creations mean something. Remember the wheel? I bet you anything another ancient human looked at the inventor and said, “What is that piece of garbage good for? Our legs work just fine.” In that case, it was true for them. They didn’t have machine gears, cars, wagons or anything that needed wheels of any sort. We need them today! As in right now. So our own contributions that arise from creativity will always mean something to somebody. If not today, then most certainly sometime in the future.
(Question from Christopher: If you believe in evolution, why does creativity have any value springing from an evolutionary matrix? Contrariwise, if you are a theist/deist of some kind, why does creativity have any value springing from that matrix?)
As a non-denominational Christian, my thoughts on this might surprise you. The evolutionary matrix and the creationist matrix both walk hand in hand. One cannot exist without the other, the value of both is necessary for life to push back against an entropic universe. Let me clarify that a bit if it sounds confusing.
Our universe is entropic. Everything breaks down. In space, suns are burning up fuel. Matter collides with other matter, it gets smashed into smaller pieces all the time. We die, we break down and physically rot. That’s the sum of our existence. Life is creation infused with creativity and evolution all tied together. It’s the only substance in this tired old universe that pushes back against entropy. You can’t push back against an entire universe that’s breaking down without some form of creation. Some scientists call it the Big Bang. Which is fine, until it gets asked, “What made the stuff that went bang?” Novels, both fiction and non-fiction have been written about that subject, I won’t revisit those points here. What I will say is something sparked differently, and hence we grow, think, love, laugh, live and create. Some call it science we don’t understand yet, I call it God. Regardless of who’s wrong or right, the end results evolves from mutual existence. If life doesn’t evolve as it creates more life, entropy wins and life would be snuffed out forever.
To give the best picture possible of where my stance is on this, I’d like to share something others might call ‘unusual’ but none the less accurate. What would you say if I could prove that you could be a god? Not ‘the’ God of our universe, but the god of another. Nuts, right? Try this out, then rethink the ‘nuts’ part. Get a pencil and a sheet of paper. Write down a brief short story of a little girl going to the store. Describe her dress color. Her eye color. Put a dollar in her hand. Then set the pencil down. What did you just do? You created that little girl’s universe. Her earth, her solar system, everything she knows and loves, created by you, using a measure of creativity. Congratulations, you just became her nameless god. You can change her eye color on a whim. Change her dress color. Have her get bullied. Or you could write in a hero. Or give the little girl powers to defend herself. Regardless of what happens, you are using creativity to make her universe work. You know everything about her. If you want to include her parents, well guess what? You just created them, too. See how easy it was?
Now don’t think that I’m saying I’m a god, I’m not. That was just a creative example to address the issue. We writers use our creativity to assemble entire universes. Since I believe we are made in God’s image, wouldn’t you think God would be impressed that we create our own worlds to play in? Right now, we let evolution carry our free will into a future that we can’t see, but He can. Isn’t it mentioned somewhere that we can be ‘erased’ from the Book of Life if we abuse our free will towards evil? Uh oh, a book! Are we then words on a page? We wouldn’t know it anymore than the little girl in that short one page story.
Creeping out yet? Good. Creative thinking is always valuable, especially when it stirs emotions. Evolution or Creation can’t do it alone. Just like we can’t be creative if we lack knowledge, or lack passion. Or willpower. That extra element, the part of it all that comes from our own creativity, is actually assembled by a living being. Who would argue against it? Perhaps that little girl’s parents in your story. They might not believe in you!
To sum it up, the components of our own universe that makes the difference in who we really are, will always remain unknown to us while here. Our creativity will be of value regardless of the matrix one subscribes to, because like life, creativity is always moving forward. It Becomes something that can reshape the world as we know it, and if that’s not considered of value, then somebody needs a new scale to measure things by.
-Daniel A. Roberts