There’s nothing new under the sun…
But we can color it purple.
The pencil is called Creativity. But who uses pencils anymore? Think of it as a free app that comes with your original human software, though you can go an entire life without its proper installation or use. Mostly because you have no idea it’s there.
To get a clearer picture of what Creativity is we should first check off what it’s not:
The birthright of a privileged few.
Art. (Unless you consider yourself a living work of art, which I strongly suggest you should).
A “lucky-you” kind of magic.
Inspiration. (That’s a catalyst and a result of creativity, not creativity itself).
A genie in a bottle.
A limited resource, available only to special people—which, in order to get, we must step over another creative’s dead body. (It’s everybody’s Precious.)
“Creativity—like human life itself—begins in darkness.” ~ Julia Cameron
And just like life, it can’t be contained in a box. It is unstoppable. All we have to do is get out of the way.
When we let it be, it becomes. It automatically unfolds; it springs to life like a healthy plant, turning into a network of thoughts and actions, followed by more thoughts and actions, recycled into—wait for it—more thoughts and actions…That’s how you make a world. Each door leads to another door. Eternally? I couldn’t tell, I’m not that old.
Deep down, beyond all thought and language, reason or knowledge, there’s a river. It never ends. And it’s a million years deep.
This subterranean, undefined water—this infinite gray mass is our raw material, the Substance of reality. It’s metaphor, possibility, hypothetical you and me. It’s the beginning, the end and everything else in between.
Creativity is a process that requires two basic steps:
1) Knowing that all you need to make something out of this sea of possibility is already inside you.
2) Using your “hands” (or whatever you work with, physically speaking) to bring it out.
Creativity is not a noun, a mood or a feeling. It’s an essential verb, it’s action and, ultimately, it is love. Because to leave your fingerprints on your own life and inevitably, on those lives you touch, you need to love yourself (your life) like mad.
As Henley put it, be first “the captain of your fate, the master of your soul”, before you become a soldier in someone else’s battle.
Creativity is one of our few good viruses left. It spreads by inspiration. It reminds me of faith. All you have to do is believe and it will find a way to come to life. And others will want a sip.
Maybe I should start a new religion, I’d name it: A River Runs Through It (scratch that, there’s already a movie).
There’s nothing new under the sun. But when has there ever been? If we’re tapping into the same, neutral, subterranean river that Edison, Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Shakespeare—and a million other remarkable humans—have also tapped into, it’s only logical that our raw material, our creative possibilities are still intact (enriched, if anything).
Who says the river is now dry? It can’t be as long as unique human beings are still born on this planet and Nature still finds new ways to recreate what we nostalgically call “old”.
Thanks to the geniuses who’ve made history before us, we now have more to work with, not less. The Universe is abundant. And if you don’t believe me, go for a walk in the woods and start counting all the wonders you see.
We’re the scarce ones here. We’re the ones with only ten fingers.
Considering the mess we’ve made out of things (of life) during the past century, creativity is not just a fancy or a preference. It’s one of our most relevant and urgent human duties. We must go back to our unlimited, original roots and start working to our fullest human capacity. Though we may act like it, we aren’t ants.
From Here On…
I am in creative love with this manifesto. It was put together by five brilliant curators of an exhibition for Les Rencontres Arles Photographie titled From Here On.
It puts our unedited, beautiful, messy life in perspective right here and now, by opening our eyes to the abundant creative resources available to our generation more than any other.
This is how we edit our lives in the postmodern jungle:
When we were fish we had small eyes. We used to swim, drink and forget. But then we grew, and graduated into oceans.
I am now vast. I’m filled with water, plants and all impossible creatures. I foster an entire subhuman ecosystem I need to nourish and protect, like my life depended on it. Because it does. I also swim in a bigger, superhuman oneness daily, where there are no coincidences, only auspiciousness.
It’s not that I’m begging to be essential in the creation of the (my) world, or irreplaceable on the canvas of humanity. It’s just that I can’t help myself. I must use my fingers, even if I don’t know how to type.
It really doesn’t matter who signed what first or when in history or under what name or circumstances. It won’t mean a thing if it ain’t got your swing.
You must add your signature. And don’t worry about not finishing. No work of art is ever complete, not even You. Others will take over after you’re gone.
As Goethe so passionately put it, we should first learn to be beginners:
“Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now!”
Bonus: 29 ways to ignite and maintain your creative genius.
Et voilà le transcript, should you want to hang it on your fridge, next to your other life-altering mantras.
Don’t wait. There’s only Now or Never. And Never is too late.