The Source of Creativity

The Source of Creativity

– talks to Sting
– returned to his roots in Wallsend to reconnect to creativity & overcome writer’s bloc of approx 8 years (he practiced & played, but did not write songs)
– he defines creativity as the ability to take a risk (of criticism/ridicule)
– he finds being alone is important
– he overcame writer’s bloc by accessing empathy, & thinking about others & writing about them (I.e. other people rather than himself)
– he believes the creative process is outside of his own ego (& it getting in way of being creative)
– he considers songwriting is a kind of regression therapy, & which involves thinking about why you are who you are – & he notes that takes him back to his childhood, which he says was not a particularly happy childhood
– he believes creativity is very ephemeral
– he tries to access a deeper place that is calmer & a path to true happiness

Bach – a creative genius
– music cognition lab
– jazz music is likened to turning on a faucet – it is all in the moment & improvised & is likened to genius in the moment
– creativity is a neurological product
– an fMRI study showed that the brain’s PFC (self-monitoring this turns off inhibition) is suppressed during improvisation & an area for self-reflection turns on (simultaneously while the other area shuts off) – therefore he says creativity is the ability to suppress your own brain
– he notes people have been trying to manipulate creativity for years (whether through hallucinatory drugs, meditation, & coffee to start the day)
– he calls accessing creativity is “going into a flow state”
– he believes artists have learned how to go into a flow state & that all artists must be prepared to “fail miserably”
– practice doesn’t make you perfect, & it helps you realise it is ok not to be perfect

– can creativity be nurtured from an early age
– talk by Sir Ken Robinson (a writer, & an educator)
– if you are not prepared to be wrong, you will not come up with anything original
– he notes companies & education systems are fearful (&punitive of) people & children making mistakes
– he believes children are educated out of creativity
– definition: applied imagination (requires empathy & walking in another’s shoes)
– he believes human beings seem to live differently to other animals who experience “directly” the world, whereas human beings seem to have ideas about the world (including how it should be – art, science, language, engineering etc.,)
– he notes also the digital interface that humans interact with
– children demonstrate varying creative capacities
– he notes the focus of education systems is upon academic ability
– that education systems came into being in the 19th century as part of industrialisation
– many children are given benign advice – don’t do art because you won’t get a job in it
– he notes though that the whole world is engulfed in a revolution (where such skills are now needed)
– academic ability has been linked to intelligence (& this is further reinforced at university)
– all education seems to be geared towards tertiary entrance
– according to UNESCO, more people will be graduating from university since the beginning of history
– degrees today are worth less now than before (because there are more graduates & fewer employment opportunities) & they no longer guarantee entry into employment like they once did (“academic inflation”) – you now need a Masters or a PhD.

Robinson cites the case of Dame Gillian Linn (dancer & choreographer of Cats & Phantom of the Opera)
– she was hopeless at school
– poor attention span & suspected she might have a learning problem
– she is a born dancer (she couldn’t sit still) – Dr in the 1930s recognised her energy, rather than diagnosing a problem

Elizabeth Gilbert – author of Eat, Pray, Love – the best-seller
– human beings have been making art for 30,000 years but only doing agriculture for 10,000 years
– she has been pitied by others that her best work is now behind her & the very difficult second book
– fear stops creativity (but she is not recommending fearlessness)
– she has learned that she has to create with the fear coming along for the journey (but not making decisions, or judgments)
– she finds she has to “show-up every day” for the work, with inspiration hopefully showing up on some days [she says discipline is required]
– doing something works – done is better than good – she recommends taking action
– people are creativity
– follow your passion (most people do if they have it – I.e. passion) – she believes most people do not have a passion, so in that case such a saying is insulting; she believes it is better to follow you curiosity (&who knows – perhaps you may find your passion then?)

Source: NPR | podcast date: 25 Sep 15


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