“If at first you don’t succeed… so much for skydiving.”
Contrary to what some of us creative artists might like to think, creativity is not the monopoly of the creative arts. It exists in virtually all walks of life and—at least in my opinion—the world would be a better place if we encouraged it more. Vastly more.
But could we? Surely we need social order for society to function—and social order demands predictability and conformity to function—and is innately resistant to change. Further, those in charge of social order tend to be authoritarian and well equipped with the necessary policies, laws, rules, regulations, and prejudices needed to keep us from stepping out of line—or to keep creativity to an acceptable minimum (which in fact is how society tends to operate).
Society doesn’t so much kill creativity as distract, delay and exhaust it—or otherwise channel it into an area where it will be minimally socially disruptive. The creative arts comprise just such a sector. It’s not a foolproof solution—because every so often some free thinker comes up with an idea that changes the world profoundly (Karl Marx being an example) but mostly it is effective. After all, if creative talent is channeled into something like commercial TV, the movers and shakers are not only less likely to be questioned, but gain a powerful tool to keep society in line.
If Marx had been kept busy writing TV drama, communism might never have happened. We’ll ignore the fact that not only was communism originally a Christian concept, but practiced with some success for while.
It’s my belief that creativity should not be ghettoized—but applied to society’s ills and opportunities as a completely normal practice. After all there are very few problems which cannot be resolved if you have a creative brain, an open mind, perspective, and the courage to look.
I would argue that creativity—even if misdirected—is not in short supply. Open minds, perspective, and intellectual courage definitely are.
The good news: These issues are cultural and can be changed. After all, we’ve had the Renaissance and The Age of Enlightenment. It’s now time for The Age of Creativity.
That’s an interesting creative problem—and a solvable one.
WHAT MY READERS THINK
Dear Mr. O'Reilly
I am huge fan and constantly scour the Net trying to see if any additional works of yours have been published.
How fortunate I feel that I came across your website, now I can ask you directly about any upcoming projects that I can expect to see from you in the near future.
I own Games, Rules and Footprint and have turned so many people on to these amazing novels. Can you tell me if you have anything in the works and are there any other books that you have published that I can purchase? If so, where?
Thanks in advance.
Long Island, NY