“Creativity involves not only years of conscious preparation and training but unconscious preparation as well,” wrote Oliver Sacks in outlining the three essential elements of creativity, adding: “This incubation period is essential to allow the subconscious assimilation and incorporation of one’s influences and sources, to reorganize and synthesize them into something of one’s own.”
In essence creativity is not a thing. It has no mass or weight, meaning it must be a metaphysical discharge. It can be seen as the quality or condition of responses that come from trying and testing things out. It can be seen as a way of working – of open trying and testing, allowing the subconscious to participate.
Consider evolution to as a way to understand creativity. Evolution reveals portions of interrupted process and the final result. When the evolution matrix is successful, a result like a shark will not feel the pressure for major change for millions of years. And we can see in the fossil record the evidence of stability.
What the fossil record cannot reveal (nor the books on creativity) is how many tests nature took to tryout different traits before coming upon the advanced the idea of speed and teeth which became shark.
For huMans, I believe creativity [which to some looks like something -a talent or power] requires an extensive inventory of well understood and practiced methods which are accessed quickly with no interference from thinking.
Consider it like a jazz player dazzling us with horn skills at a speed where the player operates on instinct and not through careful planning – it’s just happening.
My own drawings happen at a rapid pace over days of sifting through methods, layering ideas, techniques and veils so as to build up the strata of the elevation. Creativity can only be observed — not driven. Nor do I find it helped along by platitudes.
When creating, creativity is on all the time, as Tory Hughes said, ‘’it’s a default setting.’’ Creativity is a force, a quality within and without it we do not survive. I have never ever been able to find a person without it – though I have found many people who have not encouraged it or grown it within their soul.
There is a movement among some to separate creativity from making. Yet it is my experience that creativity, as described by Sacks, only develops through making and through building the skills and craftsmanship to make the thing you see in your mind. And that creativity builds an idea, but that’s merely a start. In order to create, the more critical creativity is that used while making a final result that captures the thing originally envisioned.
It is also TOTALLY possible to have no skills but to muster creative impulses in a dazzling variety of ways. Its just a more rarified atmosphere of being.
Sacks’ first sentence is a nailer though. To arrive at creativity requires not thinking our way there, but spending years getting our chops and licks and moves and instincts. With the inventory of effects at hand, we dance across page and stage… With focus and confidence and an ample supply of metaphor, we take no prisoners.
©2018 Timothy C. Ely – All Rights Reserved