I was chatting with a friend the other day, and casually discussing how ‘inclusivity’ is important in the creative process. Yet more often than not, we do it on our own. It led us to some sharp admissions; each with our hoard of ideas, we act like a secret agents! We squirrel away on our creative projects when we find the time. But we know that this is at odds with the spirit of creativity. What is going on? And why do we hide away?
As someone who believes the vital question in life is ‘What do you desire to create?’ it’s intriguing to identify why creativity is often regarded (internally if not externally, unconsciously if not consciously) as an individual pursuit or pastime. Of course, originality can only be born of the individual (thanks to the genius beauty of the universe), but why must the creative act? Sharing is caring, but it is also pleasure-some. As I sit here, I’ve been writhing around in my creative pit for the past 2 days WILLING inspiration to come to me for my business. It has been hell. I am evidently a right brained creature, and I’ve recently let everything go to gain time and omit distractions to allow my creative juices to flow and develop. It is torture to find that I can’t command my originality at will. It comes to me. It just ain’t coming now.
I look at myself. It’s actually quite subversive. I’ve become this secret agent. I know I’ve some original stuff and I want to ‘download’ and bottle it. So that I (note ‘I’) can give it to others. I’m actually trying to will it through so that I can create something and go da-da! (left brain self is then happy and contented).
Why such a battle? Maybe this is the age-old artist dilemma. But in this world of individualism it is hard to let go our ideas, becoming part of ‘our stuff’, material or not. Sharing our ideas becomes a hazard. I have a passion to help people realise their ideas; I can’t help being inspired by others, not necessarily in the finished product, but what they can see in their vision. It enlivens me, the possibility, and the shared pleasure of that vision. That sincerity exists, yet can often be viewed with suspicion by the other person.
There is value and collateral in the idea. It is another form of currency. I know this first hand; having been in the advertising industry for two decades the only thing that really counts is the idea. Businesses will pay agencies a mountain of money for an idea, and agencies only want to employ the best sparks who elicit “winning” ideas from the creative process. But it’s not just the advertising industry who want to employ the ’best sparks’, it permeates all commerce.
So it’s no wonder then, in this world where every single thing you look at is commercialised (from car parking to veganism to the idea) it takes a lot to pull us out of insular thinking when it comes to the last bastion of survival — originality.
Maybe this is why the world is such a mess. We’ve lost the true spirit of the natural creative process (inclusivity, freedom, vision). Ideas to make the world a better place are just another commodity, unrealised. Legally however you can’t copyright an idea — so maybe there is still hope!
Perhaps the change we need to see in civilisation is the breaking down of personal creative barriers that we don’t even realise we are carrying. Being aware and open to the sharing of ideas; to what others bring, and what we bring to others. Not to be nice, but to let true creativity remain a free virtue. When that pang of selfishness hits we must remember this. Understanding that when a creative realisation is birthed, it has a life, a form of its own. Like children, they are never yours, they belong to the world.