Creativity Is Being Alive

Have you pondered about why you have this desire to create? In asking, I take it you are pursuing creativity in one form or another—otherwise you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog. I also presume you find some pleasure in creative endeavours, again, in whatever shape and form you fancy.

Plenty enough people think that art and creativity is for pleasure only. It’s something some people do when they have enough time to spare and don’t need to brawl for survival. It’s an activity out of luxury. Those who create do it for some pretentious urge of self-expression. These people may think the world would go on without art and creativity for its own sake.

I think not. I think being creative satisfies a basic instinct in most people—if they haven’t shut that door completely down. Yes, biologically, our basic needs are threefold and quite mundane. Being able to find food, having a habitat to thrive in and, finally, being able to reproduce. However, there is more to life than these bare needs. One such is the drive to make.

When I create, I am happy. But it’s more than that. I feel in touch with something bigger. I immerse myself in a sea of ideas and inspirations and a void of unlimited wonders—a path in which nothing is fixed or set. Everything is possible. What more is, something tangible comes out on the other side. In creating, I make something, something of which is all my making. It makes me feel alive. I live when I make.

Why are human beings driven to make?

There is a mundane answer, which is we need to expand and develop—which we do by making—in order to survive the threatening world we find ourselves in, whether back when we were hunter-gatherers and needed to protect ourselves from saber-toothed tigers or now as the contemporary human needing to solve the climate crisis (albeit induced by ourselves).

But there is something more fundamental to it.

Since the beginning, the universe has bend towards entropy—ever more chaos and disorder. Every act of creation on our part is an act of defiance in the face of that evolving disorder. It’s almost like an intuitive response, long before science gave us the language to understand what universe and entropy mean.

When we pick up a paintbrush, or compose elements through our camera viewfinders, or press fingers into wet clay to wrestle form from a shapeless lump, we are bending things back toward Order and wrestling them from Chaos.

There is satisfaction in making this Order. But making things is often not enough in and of itself.

We also want the things we make to be filled with meaning. We’re each trying to describe what we know about life, to create a collective sense of “safety in numbers.” When we reach the end of our traditional descriptive powers, it’s time to weave meaning from poetry, painting, writing, dancing, photographing, filmmaking, storytelling, singing, animating, designing, performing, carving, sculpting, and a million other ways we daily create Order out of the Chaos and share it with each other for a deeper and more fluid understand.

Finding “the meaning in the making” is the ultimate fulfilment. That’s bliss and that’s when we feel alive more than ever. Thus, keep creating!


33 thoughts on “Creativity Is Being Alive

  1. YES! YES! YES! So true, Otto! I was feeling… almost depressed, for the first time ever, and my therapist pointed out that it wasn’t because I am a “do-er who had nothing to do” because of the pandemic, but an “artistic/maker” who wasn’t making anything to offer.
    I began to create offerings; greeting cards from my photos, and I feel engaged and fulfilled again. Plus, the learning curve kept me (keeps me) very occupied. XO

    1. Great to hear from you Donna. A very belated thank you for the feedback. I am glad you have found your way back to creativity, and hopefully, you have continued more in the same directions since writing this comment.

  2. I checked the etymology and found that the Indo-European root *ker-, meaning ‘to grow,’ gave rise to Latin creāre, the source of English create. The meanings of the Latin verb included ‘to bring forth, beget, produce, make, create.’

    Following a different train of thought: mathematics is one way of bringing order out of chaos. Whether mathematicians discover relationships that are already out there in the universe, or whether mathematicians make up things that never existed before, remains an unresolved question.

    1. Thank you for the interesting information about the origin of the word creative. As one who has always enjoyed math (and even taught it back in the days) I totally follow your train of thoughts.

  3. Love your last picture, an awesome portrait picture! I completely agreed with you when we are creating it is a happy time but to get the creativity going is sometimes painful 🙂

  4. Great photos and interesting words. There are times when ot keep creative requires me an effort, but in the same time it is somethiong keeps me alive. Feeling alive, feeling I have been able to do something new is a great satisfaction.
    Thanks for elaborating the process Otto, I had never thought of creativity and chaos/order relationship.

    1. The effort that goes along with being creative, is part of the process. It’s inhibiting at first, but eventually becomes painless when I get sucked into whatever I do. Thank you for the feedback, my friend.

  5. I love the photos you offered in this post, Otto. The last one is really intriguing. And creative!! I think you are so right when you state that being creative makes you happy. That’s it! Without a creative outlet there is something lacking until we find it!

  6. Yes! I totally relate to this too, dear Otto. I have due to health issues not been able to venture out with my camera as much as I used to, but I have replaced it with music, and learning how to play the piano – and having fun improvising pieces, and letting the musical muses inspire my creativity!

  7. I agree with you, Otto. I think it is in our innate desire to create ~ similar to the natural state of always evolving. There are many things we need to do in order to survive physically (eat, drink, move, etc…) and also mentally, which is where our creativity steps in. I create, therefore I am.
    Also, great photos ~ 🙂

    1. Thank you for the poignant comment, Randall. Yes, in addition to any animal’s biological needs (food, habitat and reproduction) we human beings certainly have mental needs as well, such as creativity.

  8. Wonderfully expressed Otto. To create is to tap into something higher than ourselves, becoming almost one with the Universe as we make something out of nothing.

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