Nonsense is nonsense, right? Maybe not. But can nonsense be creative?
Many years have passed and I’ve wasted a lot of time thinking about two things: being an expat, being creative. And so I ask: will this foreign living ever end? And. It can’t end because it helps me maintain some level of creativity. Seriously. It took something like ten years before I started to get homesick. The thing is, once you’re always sick, once you start to enjoy the sickness, there’s no going back. Of course, when I say/refer to ”creativity” I probably mean something quite different than what is referred to in this study which I recently found via this article at the The Economist:
Living Outside the Box: New Evidence Shows Going Abroad Linked to Creativity (PDF)
The study is interesting. Shame, though, that the PHD dudes that wrote/researched it misunderstand creativity – even though they define creativity in such a scholarly fashion at the beginning. Seriously. I’ve got some news for you/them (them). I’ve defined creativity once or twice. Be assured, my definition is less scholarly.
Creativity is not what most are accustomed to thinking it is. Seriously – it’s something much bigger, better and never part of useless, meaningless, coercive behaviorism that makes up most of modern western culture today. But don’t get me wrong – I’m not totally insoluble and a artsy-fartsy tyrant – nor do I wish to stop the bizzy-body-ness of hobbyists. So please indulge me and pay close attention to what I’m about to write. This is (worst)writing at its worst/best:
Creativity is never about what you do. Creativity is always about what has been done.
I guess that’s why I belittle, in my own elitist kind of way, shit like ”arts &crafts” (i.e. hobbies) – which, btw, is code for what The Haves actually do in their useless corporate lives. (Or maybe it’s not code.) Anyway. Too many people refer to creativity as making-a-living. At the least, we live in a world that can/has easily changed not just the way we use language but also the meaning of everything. But that’s life, right?
When people refer to the meaninglessness of their lives as ”creative” I cringe. I mean, don’t get me wrong. Sure, have fun fiddling with shit. I don’t care. But fiddling has nothing to do with doing something that actually has meaning – especially when there are so many examples in both history and (even) our day & age of people who actually do do something useful with their lives – which can be seen, read, felt, etc. I won’t bore you with examples of what I consider to be creative – but I will say this: it has nothing to do with what someone is doing at any particular moment.
So what gets under my gander here (in the pdf above) is what needs to be addressed based on the assumptions made in this scholarly effort by so-called academics that, probably by some coercive power greater than their own (greater than the academic world that financed it), had to address this subject matter. They also, like so many other academics, have to make use of their scholarly titles. But that don’t mean they be right.
Any takers out there that want to cut the academics up to shreds?
Obviously the published study has a corporate bent to it. More obviously the funding to do the research came from somewhere, e.g. just over the corporate rainbow. And that’s OK. I don’t mind. Even if corrupted by corps and the people that work/live for them produce this kind of nonsense, I can still see through it – and even learn something from it. So let’s all call an apple a spade- or an orange a deck of cards – or the other way round. Full stop.
The thing that gets me about this study/article is, after referencing research that comes straight out of MBA case-study bullshit, they compare the creative powers/genius of Hemingway and Beckett to the nonsense of working in a corporation and solving some nitwit problem that stems from inherent dysfunction. I’m not aware, other than perhaps Andy Warhol, where something creative has ever actually been derived from inherent dysfunction.
But I may be wrong – as usual.
- Travel and creativity: Expats at work | The Economist
- Living Outside the Box: New Evidence Shows Going Abroad Linked to Creativity