Saturday, February 07, 2009

Creativity is Universal and a Resource

Sir Ken Robinson: A New View of Human Capacity

I encourage you to watch the above video snippet. It details Sir Ken Robinson's thoughts and experiences with the natural resource of human creativity. It's also quite funny for some sad reasons. Pay attention to the fact that a lot of humans don't value creativity when it comes to them from the outside.

Around the same time I found the above I came across this piece by Elisabeth Gilbert:

Elizabeth Gilbert: A new way to think about creativity.

Elisabeth Gilbert's piece is saying something different about creativity, but it is no less fascinating. Both of these videos are about something very elusive that I wager is what makes us most like gods -- the ability to make new things. Invention. Music Composition. Writing. All of the above -- you can argue that the lower lifeforms are creative, but the scale is obviously different. Mankind's creative endeavors are wildly complex, almost life forms of their own (think of things like operating systems and compilers).

In the past the most frightening thing about creativity, speaking from my own experiences, is the lack of ability to control it. It comes in the most inopportune times -- when I'm seriously supposed to be paying attention at a meeting the most hilarious (and often unsharable) observations will fly into my head. Things that make me laugh uncontrollably. When I need it sometimes it's not there (recent experience this past week, sadly). When it comes it emerges like an uncontrollable river torrent of thought. I paddle like a mad-man trying to get it all out in the short expanse of the boat that I call "this lifetime".

And so it was this morning when I woke up and realized that a lot of the bi-partisan thoughts I've been having over the past few weeks were creatively expressed by none other than Martin-Luther King. I know this, because my parents used to have it up on a poster in the dining room in our house in Jamestown Missouri.

We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.

When he wrote this I have no doubts that he was addressing the racial divide in this country and hoping for a day much closer to the one we're currently experiencing. No doubt we still have a long way to go on the racial divide, but it's definitely closing.

The fact is that this statement is more pressing on the front of the partisan divide. The Republicans are in fact saying something important when they talk about fiscal responsibility. We're going to go much more deeply in debt at a time when we can ill afford it. The problem is that they are one side of a two-sided partisan coin -- and that this past 8 years or so they didn't seem all that concerned about balancing the budget if it served their needs.

The problem wouldn't be so hard to address if they hadn't spent so much time discounting the wishes of the other side. Now the pendulum is swinging back the other way and they're yelling about fiscal responsibility -- and few people are listening to this warning. It's a real problem -- two wrongs don't indeed make a right. The short term gain of power unfortunately is alluring and the Republicans are now tasting what it's like to be on the short end of the stick.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time feeling sorry for them -- the people to feel sorry for are our grandkids who are going to spend the next few decades (if they pull this off) paying off the mountain of debt -- debt brought on by both sides of the same United States Coin.

We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.

I'm sure my Mom and Dad had that up on the wall for my brothers and I (we used to fight like cats and dogs). Or maybe Dad was simply trying to make me think (he was good at that).

In any case, we're not going to partisan our way out of our problems -- we need to work together as a cohesive country of problem solvers. Creative problem solvers. There's always going to be some moron who doesn't get what the creative types in our world are doing (the first video illustrates this), or worse, they do understand and simply want the power that is inevitably generated by the act of creation.

Barak is obviously a creative president. He's also very funny at times (in a very dry and intellectual way). He's being nit-picked at this point by different people for all kinds of oblique, inconsequential things. Keep that in mind in the next few years (maybe longer). Any moron can come along after the act of creation and say something about how they would have solved the problem of the day.

I've seen this a lot over my career -- both regarding things I've created and the work of others. As I've gotten more attuned, I've developed different responses for this kind of destruction. I'll leave the sharing of those responses for another time. Suffice to say that today (as usual) I'm involved in some seriously fun creative insanity. I work to protect those around me that are involved in the act of creation for obvious reasons if you get the thoughts on this page.

For similar reasons, I ask the Republicans in Congress and the Senate to think about the long term health of our country -- to get engaged in dialog and to put aside their bickering, whining attitudes. Get more creative and listen to the people creating, rather than the people who are obviously wanting our new president to fail because it serves their partisan interests. We have work -- creative work, to do as a nation, and it's not going to be solved by a bunch of divisive partisan fools.


John said...

For the most part this piece is spot on. However, you insinuate that the Republicans are the one's playing party politics. "I ask the Republicans in Congress and the Senate to think about the long term health of our country -- to get engaged in dialog and to put aside their bickering, whining attitudes."

Quite the contrary, the Republicans asked for time to review the stimulus bill. 1000+ pages of it. It was supposed to be available to the public for 48 hours BEFORE the vote. Even then, how much could you possibly read, let alone digest, of that bill in that short period of time? Could you imagine if we made these kind of decisions in our respective careers?

Boss: Paul, could you read the report and give me your opinion of it in the morning?

Paul: with all due respect, there are over 1000 pages in this report; many of which I need to do additional research before coming to a conclusion.

Boss: No time for politics now Paul, the company is in great danger. We need to decide if we will borrow $1,000,000,000,000 to install some solar panels, plant some trees and reduce our dependency on foreign oil in order reduce our carbon footprint making the world's most environmentally friendly pizza.

Paul: But...

Boss: No buts, you are either with us or against us.

Regardless of which side of the party line you fall on, our government has stolen a substantial portion of mine, your's, our children's and most likely our grandchildren's future. This is the equivalent of a relative borrowing your credit cards and maxing them all out. Of course they used some of that money to paint your house; put in a few flower beds but 90% of it went to lavish dinners and paying back favors that they owed others.

FeriCyde said...

Thanks John,

Didn't meant to insinuate that the Dems are not doing exactly the same thing that the Republicans are -- you're right to point out that they're just as good at it.

They're just in power right now, so that's why I aimed at the Republicans. The whining isn't helping either side, that's my point.

As for review and so on -- I think it's a serious mistake to rush anything of this magnitude through, we're on the same page there.

I think a lot of what you're saying about being for us or against us because you're given partisan choices is the same thing here too. The fact is that the country is still divided and we somehow need to get our crap together soon -- or perish.

We're beyond maxed out on credit -- we're in a black hole of sorts. The Chinese have more or less begrudgingly said "You're credit score as a nation sucks, but you're still the best game in town."

For now...