Creativity #1

“I was born out of love, it’s the only way you come into this world”
- Blur, Ambulance

Over the next few weeks I’ll be blogging some thoughts about creativity for anyone who may be interested. (Disclaimer: I imagine that many far more intelligent people than I will have written supremely better researched scientific theses on the subject of creativity – I am not trying to join them in the academic stratosphere, nor claiming that any of the following is entirely original thought – rather this is just a few ideas I’ve had over the last few months that I thought I’d share to see what other people responses may be…) Please feel free to participate, to disagree and enlighten me by posting your comments below!

So to start at the beginning – I was struck by the above line from the opening track of Blur’s latest album Think Tank. Damon is on to something! It is my opinion that every time something new is created or ‘birthed’ be it an almond croissant, a programmer’s algorithm, an allegro con brio or Avatar, believe it or not, it is born out of love.

Two sayings I’ve heard along the way that have informed my thinking on this matter are “Hate is not the opposite of love, indifference is.” and “Love isn’t an emotion, it’s a decision.” I agree with both. Given all the resistance to genuine originality in our culture and the market’s pressure to simply be a comatose, passive consumer who lets external factors and opinions wade in and dictate and dominate our existence, I think it is amazing that people are able create things at all! To actually be motivated enough to have a go, to make something new, to create and to do something with your life, in this day and age, is so remarkable and commendable that, in my opinion, the only possible explanation for such an unlikely transformation from passive to active is that its catalyst be what we might generally consider our most meaningful and precious resource.

The feelings that we can get when we connect with something of artistic brilliance, be it the paintings of a legend, the song of a sincere young woman or the winning goal on a hero’s return (1:43 – what a  spiritual moment and I don’t even particularly like Arsenal!) are often indescribable. It’s as if someone has made a connection with us somehow that reaches deep inside and moves us in some way. Even the most simple everyday things display genius of invention and usefulness with which we could marvel. Creativity certainly is a very powerful force; the story of which is manifested in all the different things that we have made over the years. The world is full of incredible stories, but in my opinion the most extraordinary part of each is that they begin in the first place. That someone cares enough to have a go at making something.

The big question for me in all of this thinking about the source of creativity is not ‘is it all love?‘, but rather ‘love of what?‘.

We all love lots of different things, some of which are very good some not so. Off the top of my head here are a few different types of love that may motivate our creativity:

Love of Art
Love of Making
Love of Others
Love of Justice
Love of Discovering
Love of Comfort
Love of Success
Love of Money
Love of Reputation
Love of Power
Love of Empire.

Fear is also a big influencer in creativity: when we bought our house in a nice quiet street it had bars on every window, an unnecessary security porch and a barred security gate on the inside of the back door. The previous owners were certainly fearful of something, which led to a lot of invention! After I thought it about a while I decided that fear is actually a masked version of Love of Self – we don’t want us or people we care about to be in any danger because we love ourselves!

There was a great show on at the V&A last year called ‘The Power of Making‘. It was amazing! Over 100 different objects that had been made by means of addition, subtraction or transformation (or a combination). It’s what triggered all this thinking about creativity in the first place. I concluded that the power of making is dangerous, but I’ll get onto that next week! In the meantime here’s Ambulance by Blur.

I ain’t got
Nothing to be scared of,
No I ain’t got
Nothing to be scared of
No I ain’t got
Anything to be scared of
‘Cos I love you

I was born out of love
It’s the only way to come into this world
I know I’m not all there
But I’m getting, getting, getting there
If you let me live my life
I’ll stay with you to the end
And I know, lord
I’m nearly there
I want to tell you this

I ain’t got
Nothing to be scared of, no
No I ain’t got
Nothing to be scared of, no
No I ain’t got
Anything to be scared
Cause I love you



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