Creativity – Do we really understand it?
We are brought up with an idea that each one of us is unique. It seems that it feels so good to hear silently ‘I am unique’ that we have just accepted it without questioning ever – Why so? In fact, without any inconvenience, we have made it a part of our belief system. It is taken for granted and if someone dare asks, I am sure in most of the cases the answer would have been ‘We are unique and it is so.’
Now, I am not at all talking about the physical uniqueness we have – that each face is different. I am going ahead to question our uniqueness as our innate characteristics (as accepted). It’s about how we think, how we act. It’s about why we like something and dislike another. Well, regarding thought and likes and dislikes I would pen down my understanding some other time. Right now I want to investigate and observe more about why we say we are good at certain things, average at something else and bad at some other things.
Citing my own example I was always better at subjects needing reasoning and logic but really bad at art, poetry, literature and never dared to go too close to them. Good from a distance! Interestingly, the story seems to have changed completely. Taking for instance, writing was never my cup of tea – that’s how I labeled myself. But today, well, I love this cup. And that brings me to ask – Why I never tried writing? Why I believed so strongly about my inability to write? Surely enough if I can do this I can also do many other things that I believed were impossible for me. I can expand. My domain can be limitless. And so can be everyone else.
Let’s try to understand our dear organ that provides the faculty to understand. Our brain has 100 billion neurons and 1 quadrillion connections of neurons. These neurons carry messages in the form of electrical signals and when many neurons fire signals of same kind at the same time brain wave forms. And we get messages to do or not to do, to act in a specific way. Brain is an organ that is a storehouse of all the data since beginning as a process of evolution and so each one of us has neurons for specific behavior. It’s just that one person exercises certain types of neurons making them more adept at functioning and not exercising another making it dull and rigid. The ones used gets brighter and brighter and the ones not used rusts and is as good as dead.
One thing that is sure is – capability lies with each one of us. Yes, for the almost dead neuron to become active will not be an effortless task initially.
We live with many notions about everything, and so about creativity too. One such myth is ‘Only certain people are creative’ and it is indeed absolutely false. It’s all about neurons.
Let’s looks at another notion about creativity. Creativity is definitely new, but what is new? If something new is novel and can be put to use for humanity that’s a bonus. Bursting another myth – creativity or new is the ‘Present’ ‘Now’. Now, this sounds really so absurd. Present? Now? What is its relation to creativity? Complete nonsense! Isn’t it?
Well, this only is sense. We do not understand ‘Present’, and hence it is little difficult to comprehend. Let’s proceed slowly.
We live in thoughts. We are always either thinking about the past or future. We are caught up in either thinking about some nostalgic experience, or recalling experiences, or recollecting memories. Otherwise we become futuristic, thinking about reaching home in the evening, planning something, stay engaged in dreaming-dreaming career, marriage, house, traveling etc. Obviously, ‘Present’ is missing. We cannot attend to what is present. We stay so closed to it. Past is stale. But how about future? Try thinking for a moment something that is not known to you.
Did you ever plan life with mobile phone, flat screen TVs and withdrawing money from ATM machine in the 80s and early 90s? Since it was not in your database, i. e. memory – you could not plan considering them. Our thought for future and all such plans are a modified version of past, a projection of past in future in a chosen way. Needless to say, the future is also stale. And that’s really terrible. But sadly true. And staleness is not new, not creative. Bad news!
When I make myself available to ‘Present’ something beautiful happens. Everything, all of a sudden, becomes new. The colors of my room looks bright, the sky looks beautiful. The tree becomes so lively, all the senses become attentive. Now the plant is just not a subject of botany but has a relation with me. And all this is new, ‘new every moment’.
Quite shocking to know, but even the inventions happen in the moment of being in present. Yes, the analysis and further logical extension etc. is an act of thinking. But ‘Eureka’ is not the product of thought. The very word ‘being’ is that of present tense. And humans are supposedly beings (Human Being). But we have lost the connection with ‘being’. Only the Present is new and is creative.