Creativity vs Control

There is nothing worse in life than feeling like you have no control: no choice. You are being ground by circumstances and you can literally only do one thing. Such a lack of independence can drive people mad and to desperate deeds.

One of the most important aspects of heightened creative skills is that the act of creativity generates options. It is a synthetic process that joins known, related, unrelated and guessed at information together to create options.

Sometimes these options are imagined and magical patterns. Sometimes they are future alternatives we have no idea if they will ever take place. And sometimes they are just new ways of seeing a problem or a challenge that suddenly shines the light on a new idea, a new strategy or way of reacting that changes everything. In short, it gives choices.

On an evolutionary and social level, this is the true power of creativity. Many social and political systems rely on control: the shutting down of options through an assortment of mechanisms so that the options for people are limited. Then they can only do thing A or B. This predictability makes controlling employees, citizens and entire countries a far easier task. People who believe they have options and work tirelessly to create them will always harbour the belief that things can and will change and that they themselves can induce that change.

To be more creative is, therefore, a rebellious, anti-authoritarian act that sets individuals free by providing more options, more choices, less control.

And our modern world needs fewer drones and more creatively activated, visionary human beings. As Edward Deci notes in his book, ‘Why We Do What We Do’ , you will get far more of the actions and behaviours you want by supporting autonomy and providing choices than you will through coercion and control. As a society, it is about time we embraced that thought and gave way more attention to every single human being’s capacity to be creative on one level or another

It’s time we stopped referring to highly creative individuals as crazy, weird, unpredictable, unmanageable, un-monetizable and accepted the truth: everything we as a society have is as a result of ideas. Ideas born of a ferocious capacity to imagine and act on futures that did not exist until we dreamed them. We need to lean more on this capacity to think differently about our futures and ourselves, to break all the rules and to push the limits of what and who we are.

We can no longer only have an elite few who are empowered to think and do creatively. We need the majority of people in this world to unleash that intellectual potential and revolutionise the way we live.

Leave a Reply