It really bugs me that creative people are often identified solely as artists, writers and musicians. Scientists are regarded as plodders, and engineers worse.
What a toxic set of beliefs.
The contemporary artist and philosopher, Jason Silva said, “Technology is imagination made manifest.” Silva is a creative film-maker in awe of what science and technology is doing for mankind. Check out one of his inspirational short films – it’ll be three and a half minutes well spent.
Creativity isn’t some kind of exclusive club. Everybody is naturally creative. It’s a basic human trait. And we can be creative in so many different spheres – visual art, music, writing – but also science, technology, economics, gardening, manufacturing, exploration and cooking. In fact, we can be creative in everything we do. This is what humans are like.
Animals are different. Birds make nests. But every blackbird builds the same kind of nest. Blackbird nests don’t change over time. They’ve been built the same way for thousands, probably millions of years. Termites build mounds, but they don’t work out ways to build better mounds. They don’t experiment with new materials or designs, or try bigger or smaller mounds. Every mound is built in the same way. Always has been, always will.
Humans are always looking to do things better. Or just differently. We are hugely creative in everything we apply ourselves to.
Do you think that science is discovered? It isn’t. Science is imagined – then tested. The same with technology – perhaps even more so. Do you think that we somehow discovered suspension bridges or aeroplanes or programmable computers, or that they were obvious in some way? No, these are examples of astonishing creativity and imagination.
The problem is perhaps over-familiarity. We look around at the world and see roads and buildings and bridges and cars. We’ve seen it all before, every day. But it could be completely different. We could live in utterly new kinds of buildings, made from unthought-of materials. We could travel by exotic modes of transport and cross rivers by means other than bridges. There are an infinite number of different worlds, mentally adjacent to our own, and we could imagine and create any of them if we had the genius to do so.
Creativity? It’s everywhere we look. If you can’t see it, that’s your problem.