“Creativity (or creativeness) is a mental process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations between existing ideas or concepts” (www.wikipedia.org). We usually tend to think of creativity (funny expression that, “think about creativity”) as something people either have or not. Either we are born with it, or not. But don’t we all make associations between existing ideas and concepts? Isn’t that the way our brain works, to do just that? So, at the end of the day, aren’t we all creative geniuses?
When you talk to a child, you are talking to a fountain of creativity. Children are still in the process of making all the connections, and have not yet fallen into the hands of the educational system, where they are told what to do, how, and what is definitely not acceptable in our society. We are all born creative, as this is the way we learn. We see something in one context, and creatively assume it works like that everywhere. Even in school, we are left to our own devices to make connections between different subjects, and we do. So what happens?
Well, it is not easy, but in the end, we are taught out of thinking in creative ways. it takes the educational system roughly from the ages of 6 to 18 to get us out of creativity, by teaching us rules and guideline of what needs to be. When you first started to write stories as a child, you created great fairy tales, strange stories. Once you learnt how stories are constructed, what needs to be there, and how they are made, all of a sudden the process of writing was overshadowed by the fact that you needed to conform to certain standards. There simply was no space to just, well, be.
Let’s look at history. Many inventions and discoveries are made by complete accident while wanting to make something different (such as the pace maker or Viagra) and they are made by people out of a different field, simply because they did not know any better. By not knowing the perceived rules of what was possible, these inventors could really just go for it. Look at the drawings and ideas of Leonardo DaVinci. In the 15th century, he made designs of flying machines that were unfeasible to be built at the time, and at the same time, opened up the minds of the people.
Being creative means just going for it. It means by passing the rational censor of our mind and just opening up the gateways. Consequently you run the risk of exposing something about your self in a society of masks and hiding. For me, this is not a risk, it is a pleasant side effect. I get to show others a glimpse of my madness and see their reactions to it. How much better does it get.
Furthermore, creativity is about challenging the status quo and asking questions that might be uncomfortable and that are not usually asked. Creativity sometimes means throwing common knowledge overboard to develop new models and new ideas that don’t currently fit into the world view. So, being uncreative means keeping things as they are and conforming to someone else’s rules and depriving the world at large of your ideas. A bit selfish, isn’t it?