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 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 want to create?’ it’s intriguing to explore why creativity is often regarded as an individual pursuit or pastime.
Of course, originality can only be born of the individual (our inner genius), but why must the creative act itself? 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 created the best set up to allow my creative juices to flow. It is torture to find that I can’t command my originality at will. It comes to me, often. 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 something unique to offer that I want to ‘download’ and bottle. So that I (note ‘I’) can give it to others. Selfishness prevails over my individuality. I'm actually trying to will it through so that I can create something and sing da-da! (left brain self is then happy and contented).
This feels like an ancient dilemma, rooted in human survival. But is it getting worse? 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. Would Jeff Bezos be so rich if he had shared his idea?
My passion to help people realise their ideas. There is no separate, selfish root to this desire, I see the power of possibility and this inspires me. No matter where the idea originated. The possibility enlivens me, and the shared pleasure of a vision. That sincerity truly exists, yet can be viewed with suspicion by others.
There is commercial value in the idea. Ideas are currency. I know this first hand; having been in the advertising industry for two decades the only thing that really counts is the idea. The bottom line rests on great ideas that sell. Enormous sums can be coined for that talent, hence agencies seek to employ the best sparks who elicit “winning” ideas from a 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 a commercial entity (from car parking to veganism) it takes a lot to pull us out of insular, competitive 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.