Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Where Do Creative Ideas Come From?

Elizabeth Gilbert at TED: Reassigning Creativity's Origins

My favorite portions:
(8:00 through 11:00) - "And then the Renaissance came and we had this big idea, and the big idea was ‘let’s put the individual human being at the center of the universe’, above all gods and mysteries, and there’s no more room for mystical creatures who take dictation from the divine. And it’s the beginning of rational humanism, and people started to believe that creativity came completely from the self of the individual.”...

And I got to tell you, I think that was a huge error. You know, I think that allowing somebody, one mere person, to believe that he or she is the vessel, the font and the essence and the source of all divine, creative, unknowable eternal mystery is just a smidge too much responsibility to put on one fragile human psyche. It’s like asking someone to swallow the sun. It just completely warps and distorts egos and it creates all these unmanageable expectations about performance...
And if this is true, and I think that it is true, then the question becomes ‘What now?’.

Maybe go back to some more ancient understanding about the relationship between humans and the creative mystery... But the question that I kind of want to pose is, you know, ‘Why not?’. Why not think about it this way? Because it makes as much sense as anything else I have ever heard in terms of explaining the utter maddening capriciousness of the creative process.

(12:00) - You know, even I have had work or ideas come through me from a source that I honestly cannot identify. And what is that thing?

(17:00) – And maybe nobody will ever chant God’s name again as he spins, and what is he then to do with the rest of his life? This is hard. This is one of the most painful reconciliations to make in a creative life. But maybe it doesn’t have to be quite so full of anguish. If you never happened to believe, in the first place, that the most extraordinary aspects of your being came from you, but maybe if you just believed that they were on loan to you, from some unimaginable source for some exquisite portion of your life to be passed along when you’re finished, with somebody else. And you know, if we start to think about it this way, it starts to change everything.
I haven't read a thing she has written, but it sounds like this lady is wrestling with the idea that God is the source of all creativity. Perhaps she has learned this, or is learning this, and is using this platform to begin a conversation with fellow creatives about the source of her creativity.

Creativity is Imitation. Indeed.

(HT: Jon Acuff)

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