Almost Defined: Creativity

Dec. 16, 2012

Installment #38 – Almost Defined – Creativity

There is a (inner) battle to understand creativity. Below is a recent email exchange with a “friend” that gets a bit into the what-is-creativity thing. Due to the mention of female genitalia, this post (and how many others?) is NSFW.

 

Dear Old-Friend,

I spoke to Colleague this morn via Skype. Obviously, due to certain quantities of wine that I aggressively consume on a regular basis, I misunderstood Colleague’s recent email where he mentioned you and I should join him this summer in FL for sailing. The fact that I thought this a most original and creative idear obviously overwhelmed me. Colleague was kind enough to set me stright. He told me that his plan is to sail between Jan and March and not June and July as I initially mentioned to you. Of course, everything is dependent on if anything happens at all. Anywho. Sorry for the misguidance.

Regards, WW

 

Dear WW,

I envy your desire to continue participating in life’s adventures. For me, these desires exist no more.

C u, OF

 

Dear OF,

Boo-Fuckin’-who, Ebenezer! Lingering economics have caused you to become a humbug. But just wait. I’m on my way over to straighten your ass out. Won’t do it sailing, though. She’s got a ticket to ride, baby. She’s got a ticket to ride and she don’t care. So. Hang in there, OF. I assure you, adjusting to this new way of life and having no regular pussy in bed is not the end of all ends. Or do you have some regular pussy? Nomatter. Gentelman don’t talk, eh? Let’s skype soon.

Regards, WW

 

Dear WW,

No regular pussy my friend. I’m single now. Remember? BTW, have to work a few hours. Remember those days of working for a few hours? With that in mind, give this article a read. It’s staggering the number of people employed at these retailers and yet between 1978-2011 there was no more than a 6% increase in income. Man, no wonder we are moving so fast to the 2nd world and  government is in debt.  Where is govt. revenue supposed to come from? They get paid shit and many pay no taxes, just like Mitt Romney said in that 47% video.  But why are we focusing on them not paying taxes and not on what their measly salaries are?  Could Obama have rephrased that statement about 47% of Americans “taking” from the system instead of paying into it? No wonder he lost.

C u, OF

 

Dear OF,

Good article. And. Hope I don’t veer too far off topic. There’s a saying over here that I’ve lived by for some time now: it’s not worth it to work. Europeans on a massive scale know this. Why Americans don’t seem to get it is a mystery to me–especially since Americans and Europeans are basically the same globalised zombies. Does anyone refer to what they do for a living as a McCareer or McJob? People in Eurowasteland have used such terminology since I got here. Even when I made money at those dipshit jobs for corporations and consulting companies, I knew from the get-go that working for a living was never going to get me anywhere. But beyond the issue of earning money, there is one other very important thing that no one talks about: the human cost of desperation. America seems to be choosing to become poor, or, as you put it, resort to being a 2nd (if not 3rd) world country. That means that America is literally being transformed into a place of desperation and I wonder if anyone has even noticed it. Of course, I attribute this to the conservative mindset that has ruined everything with the advent of perpetual wars of choice, empire building, deleting the manufacturing base, false morality, etc., etc. Say what you will about the working poor and their measly minimum wage jobs, but in my opinion the problem hasn’t anything to do with that. Unless, of course, if one considers how so many live beyond their means. Indeed, Ameircan’t is a place of entitlement through and through. And last thought: One would think that imminent demise (sinking ship) warrants some humility.

Regards, WW

 

Dear WW,

Interesting how you say there is no point to work then you say people live beyond their means and are living in a place of entitlement. I would need to know what you mean by entitlement.  As for “work” it is human to create… Work associated with creativity and the desire to do something is just fine and what most people aspire to. It is just that the compartmentalization of work has removed most of what the average person would think of as enjoyable productive work they aspire to.

So it goes.  But work in and of itself is to generalized a word to explain the desire to do something useful and productive.  Once upon a time nearly all “work” was just survival.  Iindustrialization changed that.  But just cause we don’t farm or milk cows or grind grains or perserve and hunt meat for our “work” does not mean work has no usefulness.

Being outside of “work” at this stage of life, I must admit I don’t understand it as I used to.  But then again, my “work” was very different then most, including my employees, but as a small company everyone did play a direct role in our success/survival.

C u, OF

 

Dear OF,

Obviously you and I have a different perspective here. Let me address “entitlement”. This is an issue that really gets under my skin. Look at it from a macro point-of-view. This started with the baby boomer generation. No generation has been given more and paid so little for what they have than the boomers. The whole political discussion today about the need for government to reign in on its debt thereby taxing the rich, the only source of revenue there is as the US manufacturing base has been eroded, is really an issue of entitlement. Most of the boomer generation both inherited their wealth and of what they earned beyond that they did so not by, as you put it, being “creative” but by riding on the laurels of their predecessors, who it just so happens were the owners of the industrial revolution.

I have always admired your achievement in business and your ability to run a business for as long as you did. But I do not equate your achievements with those who, in the parlay of our times, “work for the man”. There is now a generation of Americans who must follow the boomers and these are the least creative people(s) probably in human history. The only thing these people do is consume. Hence, they have perverted the whole concept of “work” and most certainly none of them have anything to do with creativity. In fact, I like to call them Behaviorists because that is the only thing they know and it is all their parents, the boomers, were able to teach them. How to behave. Now to bring things full circle. We live in times of consume-to-survive. Those who survive better than others are the ones that don’t, somehow, rock the boat, they behave properly, go with the flow, they hope, they are optimistic and in the end, as we are seeing before us, they create nothing. This is where my attitude of valueless work comes from and, hence, is best explained by understanding human behavior. And, btw, it is not innate human behaviour to create or be creative. It is human behaviour to survive. Creativity has nothing to do with work.

Missed you the other morn on Skype. Will try again in a few hours but it will also be late here.

Regards, WW

 

Dear WW,

Ahhh, I agree with much of what you say except the last line.  That is totally incorrect my friend.  For those who have a passion for what they do, creativity has everything to do with what they do.  It is others who define it as work, not them.

Behold the truth.

C u, OF

 

Dear OF,

Ahhh…. back at ya. But you are barking up the wrong tree here about (who is) right or wrong. There is no opinion to what creativity is, my friend. Perhaps, though, you are confusing it withingenuity or enterprise. Obviously, people think that creativity grows (like ingenuity or enterprise). How wrong they are, eh. But here’s a thought. Try to think about creativity as a female thinks about love. Oh, that love could become so misconstrued. Modern females have convinced themselves whole heartily that love is something solid, has mass and physical property and all of that because of it being officially sanctioned by law and institutions. Ah, no wonder the feminine is so lost and her only recourse is to emancipate from the ignorance and incompetence of males. Ok. Maybe I’m stretching things a bit. But what the hell. Set me straight. Tell me what creativity is. Until then… Creativity is only known after it has been done, my friend. That means, you can’t wake in the morning and say I’m going to be creative. What ever it is you do that day, if it is creative, it will stand on its own merit.

BTW, we have had this conversation before, I think.

Regards, WW

 

Dear WW,

It is quite unfortunate you have such a rigid definition of creativity. I can say without hesitation, there is NO “merit” behind creativity, none whatsoever. Creativity is undefinable in narrow terms. The most valuable thing humans can share is their creativity, both “what” they create, and the “process” of creation, on an individual level. For those who “create” and love what they do, they do not use the word “work”, those from the outside with narrow viewpoints of what it means to contribute in life may try to frame everything in the terms they are familiar with and it is very likely those people don’t have a creative bone in their body. There is NO connection between creativity and judgement by others to determine “merit” or value or anything else.

I could give a million examples of what I am trying to explain, but if you insist on seeing the world from the lens of whatever it is that forces a perspective of life where all people are working for nothing and that work has no meaning, then there can be no discussion because if this is your view of work and creativity, there is no point for existence at all.  Everyone should just commit mass suicide and end the planet of us useless creatures of meaningless pursuits.  Although I consider myself in this last category, I don’t assume you do.  Maybe being locked up over there in Europe (what do you call it now, “Eurowasteland“?), in a large machine of mass production for export around the world by cultivated and well-dressed zombies, all existing in their own blind bureaucracies, has snuffed out your ability to perceive or understand there are people out there who exist on their creative endeavors and refuse to have their lives directed by the bureaucracy.

Just adjusted my collar, gettin’ warm here. You?

Give me a few days before we try to Skype again. I’ve got a lot of running around to do during the hours you’re awake. Have two appointments during the next two nights, as well.

But I await your response with gusto.

C u, OF

 

Dear OF,

Ok. This is now an issue of semantics? Not between us, eh?

And. Touché, Old Friend. Your comments about Eurowasteland and zombie bureaucracy is spot on. Thanks for that. But…

Come on, dude. Creativity is something sacred. Don’t put it out there like an advertising catch phrase, you know, like the word entrepreneur. This sentence you wrote best encapsulates why we don’t understand each other on this issue. “There is NO connection between creativity and judgement by others to determine “merit” or value or anything else.” What? Are you saying the people that pay millions of dollars for a Picasso painting aren’t being judgemental? Are you saying that the people that invest in (some, not all) silicon valley start ups aren’t being judgemental? Obviously, venture capitalists cannot afford to rely on pure judgement, due diligence is an important part of their investment decisions. Still, companies like Instagram–a silly little photo application for smart phones–was fairly creative in figuring out how to socially network picture taking. So you see, I reckon there is some creativity out there. (BTW, Instagram has been subsequently gobbled up by FaceBook because, IMHO, Instagram was a threat to FB’s creativity.)

So you’re saying that a person can just wake up in the morn, do something, and claim he/she is creative? And no one has the right to judge that, not even markets? Ok, then. And hey, why you’re at it, high school Arts & Crafts is part of being creative, right? And what about the plague of amateurism that is now synonymous with professionalism which is synonymous with careerism, etc., etc.? This is all another great example of a new level of bullshit referred to by some as a “distortion field”. Everyone lives in their own little distortion field, man. (Except me, of course ;-). Steve Jobs, btw, will most likely be credited with putting distortion field into your vocabulary (what historical irony that will turn out to be). What nutcase do you think gave us the bullshit word entrepreneur? I’ll bet he was creative, eh?

Would love to hear a few of the millions of examples that you refer to as creative. Do tell, dear Olf Friend, who and what in your world is creative? And try not to be too judgemental.

Regards, WW

 

Dear WW,

Once again you do nothing but judge here then tell me not to be judgmental?  Once again, your entire point is a complete contradiction. Sorry, but yes, all those things you shit on are creative, HS arts, somebody creating a new basket weave. That is creative.  Why are you thinking only like a banker?  That is pure BS. And why do you bring up the word Entrepreneur?  What does that have to do with creativity?  Taking money from one person and giving it to another and keeping the difference?

Yes there is creativity in technology, but big fucking deal. That is just one element of where creativity lies. Those “entrepreneurs” that exploit that creativity are business people and creativity also spurs innovation in business. I.T. is everywhere man.  But it does not define creativity. A fucking painting that sells for millions is fine, but that is subjective as well. There are thousands of good bands out there at any given moment, but the industry will decide who is “great” and you damn well accept that “great” to them is nothing but what they can press out of the machine to make lots of money, not unlike a painter (i.e. the art world). What on earth does the price of a painting have to do with creativity? Nothing, nada, shit! Unless you are a banker or an art dealer/broker. Where did you start valuing everything on what it’s value is in the “market”?  The “market” in the US and all capitalist systems drives EVERYTHING  to the lowest common denominator. That is what pure capitalism will do. Look at America, the perfect fucking example of when all of what is put out there by the capitalist machine is shit. There is a very very very old concept in economics my friend and it is “bad money drives out good”. Google that and get back to me on what the capitalist system and the price of something has to do with creativity.

Still hot under the collar?

C u, OF

 

Dear OF,

Ok. I’m a walking talking contradiction. But I’m also simply questioning how you define the word “creative”, which borders on banality. I threw in the word entrepreneur in the discussion because, like so many other catch-phrases, it no longer has any meaning (although I’m skeptical it had any meaning from the get-go). Another word that has been rendered meaningless because of it’s marketing value or it’s ease of use is the word amazing. Just count how many bimbo-brians use the word amazing out there. They throw it around about stuff that isn’t anywhere near amazing. But that’s what happens to people who like to hear themselves talk. I guess. (And as opposed to people, moi, who like read their own worst-writing!) Anywho. I don’t want this trivialising happening to words like creative. Even though I’m sure being a creative entrepreneur must be amazing.

No. Sorry, dude. Basket weaving is not creative. But if you convince yourself that it is, and then in the next superficial conversaton you have is about Salvadore Dali, and you don’t know what to say, well, then all I can do is look to the heavens, roll my smart-ass eyes and mumble: whatever floats your boat, rocket man.

Ah, a distortion field is like a warm comforter and hot coco, eh!

If you put the effort into it, then you could probably better serve your beloved basket weaver by calling them a busy-body or, if you must, entreprenurial–I’ve long since given up on that word anywho. Yes, dear Old Friend, I’m taking the high road here, I’m being very arrogant about this. I do not see any validity in belittling people who are truly creative with those unable to get out of their own delusions.

Btw, would you like to try and redefine what the word “subjective” now? You write: “A fucking painting that sells for millions is fine, but that is subjective as well.” What the fuck are you talking about? Is the money being paid for the picture subjective? Is the picture subjective? Is the man on the moon riding the purple unicorn subjective?

Also, the price paid for a painting isn’t what makes the painting creative. But I’ll also bet you that the painter that painted the painting that some was willing to pay a million bucks for didn’t run around spewing to the world how creative his basket weaving is.

Yeah, hot under collar, as well. But it’s kinda reinvigorating.

Thanks for the exchange. Can’t wait for the next one.

W/love, man, WW

-end-

Note: this is the end off WW and OF email transaction. Names, places have been withheld to protect the innocent. Follow up is possible. Looks like FL sailing is out for next summer.

Links:

 

Rant on.

-tgs-