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November 9th, 2019
What is creativity?
We can look at the root word, create, and decide that something is somehow being produced.
At this point, most people think of the originality of the thing being produced – that is, the actual creation.
But there is an important ingredient that is often overlooked:
What is the original ‘stuff’ that creativity is reshaping in order to create?
Let’s switch contexts for just a quick second and think about girls trying to describe qualities they’d like to have in a boyfriend.
How cliché is it to hear: spontaneous.
And why is this? What does it mean? Clearly it’s for the same reason that we all keep scrolling on social media sites:
We want something fresh, something new, something creative.
But again, what is the original stuff that is used by creativity in order to provide something fresh and novel?
The answer is randomness. The creative, spontaneous person simultaneously breaks the routine and the predictable, and with randomness generated, then creates a new order.
As a society we’ve created repetitive systems, like the habits that an individual does routinely, and these repetitive systems are an order that we’ve created. Anything otherwise would just be chaos, and we humans are very very uncomfortable with something as uncertain, unpredictable and uncontrollable as chaos.
Creativity, instead understands both sides of this coin, and requires both. It generates randomness, or disorder and then creates new order from the non-routine.
This is why we sometimes hear that destruction is a form of creation.
It’s not, at least not totally, but it is a first step. The second part of creativity is constructing a new order, a new system or structure, ideally something that might work better.
That first step is why taking a chance on a new project or endeavor can be so scary for many people. In order to do so we are required to abandon some kind of comfortable routine order and strike out into the unknown, entertaining chaos as we generate randomness.
It’s from that strange substance that we then begin to build anew.