How Creativity Will Save The World

280px-Do_Not_Adjust_Your_SetIt’s all in the name: creature
We are all creatures… we are all born and made up of creation. It seems so logical and yet… so many of us feel trapped in a world of endlessly predictable repeats. In fact, our world depends on these repeats to survive.

Without it, there could be no supply or demand, no McJobs, no pencil pushers no endless stream of widgets to process. Jobs about jobs that need doing. Preferably with the actual labour taking place somewhere where it can’t get our clothes dirty.

One of the reasons we are so stressed in the west is because of our dislocation from cause and effect, from production and supply. We yearn to make, to grow, to become and yet… we regulate ourselves into stagnation. We are like waterlogged plants, gasping for breath beneath the torrents of repetitious rubbish.

Creature – – a thing of creation. Create. Dig the word out. Even the least imaginative of you is creative. And there is no one who is not imaginative. They say laughter sets us apart from the animals. Actually it’s the fact that we can conceive of (read: imagine) ourselves as separate distinct entities and be aware of that distinction and our motivations. The mere fact of our self-consciousness is a prodigious act of imagination.
And yet, what do we use it for? Boredom, denial, compulsion, repetition, stagnation. There is a saying: Nature tends towards entropy. And so do we. As much as we like to deny that we are meaty chunks of goo, dependent on the physical world around us, we are. And as our society declines ever further into cul de sacs of culture, production and thought, so we are atrophying and dis-assembling into fragmented pieces. Chaos is over-whelming us and craziness abounds.

Bu wait, there is good news. Even though it is undoubtedly the end of the world as we know it, you can still change. Embrace your creativity, enjoy the joining of the dots, the quiet white flash of inspiration, the joy of solving a problem.

You can do it, as they like to say while selling you 2 dollar’s worth of material. But you can you see. That’s the joke. And until you start doing it, they joke will remain on you and me, and our children. Until everything that was good about us as a species is gone.

So, creativity will save the world. But only as soon as we all start actually living our lives instead of sleepwalking through them.

The revolution will not be televised.
The dreaded ‘they’ already walk among us, but so far we just don’t seem to care.


2 Responses

  1. Richard

    I was chatting with a mutual friend a few weeks ago (he works in one of the “online creative” industries). He told me his biggest challenge at the moment was hanging on to creative people (I know, we are all creative, but I am using the term in its societal stereotype…..the avant garde, boundary-pushing types who dream up awesome visuals and storylines to help sell more widgets none of us need). It seems large corporates (banks – yes, banks! – consulting houses and insurance oligopolies) are snapping them up because the crusty Baby Boomers who run those institutions have seen enough TED talks to realise they need to change their businesses. But they don’t know how to. So, enter stage left Mr and Mrs Creative who will magically reinvent the banking business models and products (according to a schedule and budget, of course). The absurdity of this scenario is twofold: firstly, real creativity isn’t a commodity that can be conjured up at the will of someone else – it is an intrinsic drive that is nuanced by individuality. The on-demand creativity companies pay for is more of a paper-thin veneer designed to be transient and throw-away. Secondly, these creative types who are being poached are being seduced by the large packages and in so doing, are being untrue to themselves and their abilities (as mentioned, creativity driven by extrinsic motivation is transient at best). So ultimately everyone loses.
    A culture shift is needed, one where creativity is embraced and nurtured as a skill and I am not sure that can truly happen within the structure of modern performance mamagement systems that are measuring very specific, one-dimensional and uncreative outputs. It’s almost like medical ethics and business ethics – the two make for poor bedfellows….I wonder if the same can be said for true creativity in the McShareprice world we have created?

  2. David Chislett

    Wow, thanks for that feedback and real-word example Richard! That’s pretty mind-blowing to read. And of course it reasonates with my gut feel too (doubley nice)
    I guess the point is that window dressing will always remain window dressing. In other words, unless things change from the ground up (our society), no amount of input from the top down can influence it. As an old proverb I once heard goes:
    The only thing that grows from the top down is a grave!

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