A philosophy of creativity

2014_01_27_mh (134)_cropI have been made aware that parts of this recent post may seem like the product of a depressive mind. This part in particular —

Any work I’ve done feels dead to me. I feel no real connection to anything I’ve done, especially writing from more than a few months ago. My journal notebooks are no longer viable, unfinished, once all their pages are filled. I put them on the shelf and start another, unfilled one.

— may convey the sense of a negative, dissatisfied outlook on art and/or life.

But I wasn’t thinking that when I wrote that post, and I also don’t mean to make what some may interpret as a nihilistic claim, that nothing is good enough, that there are no right answers, etc.

Rather, when I wrote things like this

I think standards and comparisons are arbitrary, and so judgments are bullshit.


Words are bound to fail to capture or even fully reflect reality. Reality is beyond words, outside of words. If words and reality were infinite lines, they would neither intersect nor be parallel.

I wanted to communicate the idea that there are no words or ideas that are necessary, that cannot be questioned. I want to say that no existing idea, and no existing artwork, binds us or narrows our world. I feel like I’ve spent a lot of years feeling that there were certain models or rules of art and of creativity that had to be followed, and I have learned to question these rules, and I realized that they weren’t really rules at all.

When I say that there are no permanent rules and that ideas aren’t tied to reality, I see this as removing limits on art and creative work. Clearing out the old ideas opens space for new ideas. When there are no necessary ideas, there is always possibility. There is possibility to try any artistic thing one would like to try. Artists can be free to do anything — or nothing! If we are not bound by rules, we can feel comfortable in being who we are, and not feel we have to make ourselves into particular kinds of people, or make our art into particular forms of art, as if only these certain models were acceptable.

All too often, ideas may seem solid, inviolable. Seeing that they are not is like taking off mental shackles. There are always new ways to look at things; there is not one and only one right answer. Even a “best” answer may not always be best.

This sense of possibility is what I’d like to call a philosophy of creativity.

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