Things happen — sometimes with our willing or unwilling participation and sometimes without. We don’t remember all these things. The detail of what we remember and what we do not decides the health of our creative practice. The confidence with which we can make something from nothing says a lot about us. We will be able to continue things after they have a foundation, but we cannot take the first step. The first step, the point at which we conjure something from thin air is sometimes the most critical step. How does this step happen? And what does it have to do with how we remember our own life?
What do we remember and what do we forget?
There are very few theories of remembering. We tend to remember a random assortment of things. Neither emotional intensity nor participation determines what we remember. False memories occur because our mind creates fictional events to match our feelings. Our feelings might be our business, and only connected individuals share them. These connected individuals might be lovers, collaborators or otherwise related. Barring such connections, the perception of intense experiences is very fragmented. People in an experience together associate different intensity with it. So different people remember different experiences. And so different people follow different branches of psychological development. Our memories make us.
Memories are not conscious entities? Our experiences and our investment in them determine the nature of our memory?
No, that is not true.
But more than memories, it is the memories that we still identify with.
And we have a choice about how we perceive these memories. And we will exercise this choice if we have a clarity about how this act of remembering effects us.
Considering the creative — types of creativity
We want to consider the fulfilled personalities. Who are the individuals who imagine themselves as fulfilled?
Individuals who are neither nostalgic nor regretful of the past are content in the present.
This is very important. Because individuals who are conscious of the present can consider possibilities that emerge. Being creative is to consider possibilities that one’s experiential evidence does not negate. The more an individual can perform this consideration, the more creative one is.
Creativity is of many types: analytical, imaginative and generative. Different types are good for performing different functions.
Analytical: In a scenario a problem is already defined and a solution needs to be found through an iterative process. Such a scenario needs a person who is creative in an analytical way. Such a creative process relies on a system, a method and data.
Imaginative: In a scenario a story or a narrative needs to be imagined to grasp a vast field of information. Stories are a very efficient form of summarisation. Such scenarios might need imaginative storytellers. Stories same our values and aspirations. Because they represent complexities.
Generative: In this scenario, the problem is not defined. To find a problem to qualifying it and working on it to solve it requires different skill sets. This is the skillset we are talking about in this essay.
Being fully present, not feeling oppressed by the current time, is a unique privilege. To be generative in this situation is possible. One feels like one is above circumstance and is sensitive to time’s rhythm. One is in an optimal frame of mind to act. Generatively creative individuals are good actors. Doing without feeling attached to action as each act is only an iteration. There is nothing absolute. Such individuals can change their course of action very fast.
And what good is being creative? Both to us personally and us as a society? Creative individuals do not need templates to propose new formats. Or they can use templates designed for other purposes. Most see the latter as more creative than the former. Applying the learnings drawn from one space to another can yield interesting results. There is always something to be done. Sometimes what is worth doing is nothing. And sometimes there are many things to be tried.
We will go back to our previous point.
Openly considering possibilities that emerge does not mean not learning from past mistakes. It also does not mean practising the safer option. Practising the safer option is, of course, not compatible with the idea of being creative.
Dilution of the term?
But creativity has also become a term that is loosely tossed around.
Any task done well or in a surprisingly novel way is called creative. But this is a dilution. The word creative describes out of the way solutions to problems. Problems that remain unsolved by using other methods. Creative individuals are aware of a wide set of things in an effective way. This process is faster and more surprising than what methodical processes do.
So wouldn’t it be ideal for individuals to discover ways of being creative while they study? Wouldn’t it be the best skill to have for any discipline or profession? There is a lot of mythical beliefs about the notion of creativity. First, it is a widespread belief that creative individuals are born that way. People consider it difficult to learn or practice the tools of creativity. Second, people prefer to work with methodical and rigorous individuals. They find them more relatable. So, many creative individuals get excluded and get pushed towards entrepreneurship. So that they can control their conditions of work. But this is not a very good reason to start a business.
Creativity can be acquired — but not through a methodical effort. Because it has something to do with both: what we do and who we are. It requires lifestyle changes. For someone looking at acquiring skills in a purely rational manner, there are not very many options.
Memory of your life makes you. Whom you become depends to a large extent on what you remember. And what you remember is partly a choice. All that we have pursued and tried to have but failed is not worth remembering. It does not make us into someone confident of thinking very much.
Negative — positive space: perception
*What do we have in our lives? How did we get to have it? *
If we focus on these questions, and even if it is nothing, we are free of any belief of incapability or incapacity.*
I am not talking about a kind of positive thinking here. I am identifying perspectives that allow us to become the most creative we can be.
Positive thinking is a flawed concept. The key idea — of discerning the positive from the negative — cannot be done in most cases. How do we know what will be good for us and what will be bad? Something thought to be good can be bad and the other way round too. Only instinct and insight can guide foresight.
Choosing to remember life differently is, after all, aiding a perspective. That is the difficulty about acquiring creativity skills — perspectives are difficult to teach. Perspectives have to be negotiated and adopted by individuals on their own.
Too often, the kind of creativity considered possible to develop is of the analytical type. People wrongly believe that all other forms of creativity are intrinsic
Students need to aspire to have a generative mind. One of the ways to develop such a mind is by spending time with other such minds. We have followed this method for a very long time. People follow it because it works. It works but in a very unpredictable and inconsistent way. For some, it happens soon, for some not at all. Which are the other ways to develop such a mind?
I will develop this idea further, of how our memory effects our capacity to think. It will become an independent method that can become a self-learning tool for many.