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A supreme procrastinator, I started writing this while watching History Channel’s (2011) History of the World in Two Hours. During the opening scene, which discusses how, through a series of supernovas and merging stardust the universe was formed, the narrator said something that spoke to me.
“Whenever more matter and energy can be drawn together into one place, more complex things can emerge.”
The narrator pointed to specific geographical sites where the emergence of cities and development of culture happened because there was opportunity for creativity, the arts and science to interact with each other.
Of course he was talking about fertile river systems, food crops, farming and animal domestication, but I could see a link. Hold the phone. When there are curious people, who are motivated, have energy and excitement, living together at the same time, and in the same place, then new things, and more complex ways of thinking and doing can emerge.
“In a sense, where there is stuff, new stuff can develop, and where there isn’t anything, nothing much can develop.”
As communities, societies and culture, we benefit from engaging in creativity because creativity leads to new ways of thinking and new ways of doing. Engaging in creativity allows us to build upon our existing knowledge and imagine new concepts that contribute to the development of community, society and culture.
Creativity is a driver for innovation and social change.
Engaging in creativity enables us to bring something new into the world, and to become more intensely conscious of the world in which we live. While the outcomes from engaging in creativity are beneficial to humankind, engaging in creativity also offers personal reward; we do it because we love it; we do it because we get a sense of enjoyment and fulfilment.
Creativity allows us to be connected.
Creativity helps us connect with ourselves through simple, spontaneous, and novel experiences. When we engage in creativity we disengage from our rational, practical and left-brained selves. Creativity allows us to celebrate our uniqueness by tapping into our feelings, impulses and expressive selves. When we engage in creativity, we find pleasure in activities that can bring us into a state of flow or experience flourishing.
For some, engaging in creativity is even more transcendent. John Loori describes a sort of creative nirvana which can achieved through actively seeking the sense of timelessness and tranquillity at the still point:
"Each artist expresses through art his unique way of experiencing life.
This is the essence of creation.
Through our art we bring into existence something that did not previously exist.
The creative process fulfils our need to express our experience.
And if the expression has been true, we will feel a sense of completion and satisfaction."
Creativity is inclusive, anyone can tap into their creativity by engaging in art, music, writing, dance or by applying new methods of thinking or problem solving. Whatever your personal motivation or reward, engaging in creativity improves your emotional wellbeing and nurtures a connected, engaged and meaningful life.
References / more reading, watching and listening on creativity:
Emily Wills is the creative director of surface pattern design studio, SURFACE 1°22. In her various manifestations, she has worked as a fashion designer, illustrator, curator, arts educator and printed textile designer. Emily founded the SURFACE 1°22 Design School in Melbourne, offering hands-on workshops and short courses in surface and textile design. Find out more on the SURFACE 1°22 Design School Facebook or Instagram.
All images ©SURFACE 1°22
Photo credits Penny Lane Photography