How to Cultivate Creativity

Hi there! Not sure this belongs in this category, but I sense it could be a good conversation for our community.

I’m presenting several pieces of media here, organized on this theme which I feel is crucial to Cosmos. If, as a community and functionally as a platform co-op, we want to encourage mutual skill development in the realm of creativity, how would we accomplish that?

"Divergent thinking is an essential capacity for creativity": I came across an article so striking that I had to investigate further. Jumping off of this talk by Sir Ken Robinson, it explores the development and inhibition of creativity in children. The suggestion is that divergent thinking is developed out of us by public school systems (a claim implying that children who go through other means of education have more creative outcomes…?) and that this is managed in such a way so as to protect the social order which privileges the ruling elite. The author’s biases are bare in the piece, though however provocative his language, I don’t think he’s wrong. (He cites John Taylor Gatto’s The Underground History of American Education book… has anyone read it?)

Here’s the article:

I wanted to confirm the research cited in the piece, but lacking handy access to the original publication by Land, I did find the very same statistics cited in a Psychology Today article.

This article suggests that ways to cultivate creativity include: 1) foster opportunities to practice divergent thinking, 2) practice lateral thinking (incl. visioning activities), 3) avoid labeling (or leaning too much on the labels attributed to) people’s personality, 4) practice boundary crossing*, and 5) prioritize play.

*Which at first made me recoil in reaction to its seeming to encourage colonizing (nonconsensual, appropriative, “taker”) behavior. But what the term means in context is more about developing fluency in a variety of ways of being: cross-cultural, cross-lingual, cross-practice experience so as to be able to “translate” across various modes and contexts. (A great embodiment of multimodal divergent expression: the intensively divergent, profoundly expansive, outrageously creative, mind bending performance of Reggie Watts.)

Meanwhile in Finland, their professional educators take a sponsorship approach to educating children–championing each–and see much finer results:

  • As a community of practitioners, how could we meaningfully support the development of creativity among our members? What are the limitations and opportunities presented by this platform?

I have my own thoughts on this, but would rather hear from others first… What do you think?

I’ll share one final note that struck me. “We shouldn’t be putting them asleep we should be waking them up to what they have inside themselves.” Sir Ken Robinson in the video I linked above talks about the Aesthetic experience (when your senses are resonating/you’re fully alive) versus the Anesthetic experience. This framing makes a provocative parallel to something I learned in my studies of sustainability about colonizer versus indigenous mentalities: whereas indigenous people tend to open wide the senses to take in any information from the environment and experience communion/relationship and meaningful insight through the beings & patterns in their environment, colonizer cultures systematically endeavor to shut off people’s feeling, intuition, sensitivity, to degrade their innate intelligences in this way, because their culture (agriculture and societal structure) is based on oppression, subjugation and exploitation: one cannot perpetrate the violence/abuses required of one’s societal norms/structure if one’s senses are wide open and attuned to wild and living patterns.

  • Is creating an immersive aesthetic experience inherently awakening/enlivening? Could we aspire to that as a collective?

Another takeaway of that video is "collaboration is the stuff of growth."

  • How do we want to see this platform enable & foster collaboration?

  • How would we measure individual and collective growth in creative capacities?

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I really look forward to exploring these links and thanks once again for the rendezvous n New York. A wonderful conversation and welcome back from your journey. I hope you learned a lot.

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