By Aaron J. ShayÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â There are a number of things that are boons to creativity, and depending on which creator you speak to, youâ€™ll get a different answer as to what provokes the proverbial spark.Â But historically, what one finds is that there are three abstracts that have always stimulated the brain of the creator: 1) diversity, 2) competition, and 3) community.Â And these three things, once combined, have the ability to incite brilliant creations from the hearts of their makers.Â But they do have their dangers.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Diversity is a key component in the creative process because it challenges the brain.Â If there were no Haight-Ashbury, there would have been no CBGBâ€™s.Â Artists and writers and all kinds of creators need to remember that the creeds, opinions and cultures they are used to are not the only ones that exist.Â Just so, these creators need to remember that their creeds, opinions and cultures are not necessarily superior to others.Â Diversity allows the creator to meet those of different aesthetic and perhaps even to respect them.Â This can only challenge them to create beliefs which are strong; for that creed which is untested is frail, easily blown over in the wind.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Yet a super-abundance of diversity has its dangers.Â If the people in a pod of creators are too diverse, then there is nothing to bind them together.Â They will easily splinter.Â They must be strongly bound together by central, core beliefs so that they might diverge in their own growth, yet not grow apart from their peers.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Competition sparks the human desire for respect.Â If there were no Dionysia, there would have been no Western theatre at all: no Thespis, no Euripides, no Aeschylus, no Mamet, no Brecht, no Sondheim.Â To be given respect is no small gift; it is what many people seek their whole lives, frame their whole lives around.Â It is a very potent motivator, and it should not be overlooked in the creative process.Â The desire for respect through competition has, time after time, forced creators to work and practice to become better.Â Without this impetus, the creator might stagnate, content to be what he or she already is, rather than aspire to greater things.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Yet we are all too familiar with the dangers of super-competition, especially here in America, where competition is the battle cry of Capitalism.Â Time and time again, we see those who compete to be the richest, the most talented, the most respected in their field, break the trust of their admirers.Â They cheat, steal, lie, and defraud their way to greatness.Â These trust-breakers grapple to the top because the top is so high, the stakes are so great that the allure is hard to resist.Â This is not a healthy environment for any creative endeavor.Â We should be allowed to trust one another so that we can talk, debate and exchange ideas without having to fear.Â Only a fearless heart can create to the fullest extent of its ability.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Community is a place of trust, where one can create without fear of closed-minds.Â It is a place where the fearless heart can flourish.Â Without a community, what would Chelsea have been at the turn of 1900?Â What could have been created had it not been for the community of Bohemian London?Â One can bring their creation to the community and receive honest praise, or honest criticism for it.Â This allows the creator to learn more about their craft, and grow from it.Â What is created in solitude often lacks the context of the world at large.Â These creations can be abstruse, or even impossible to comprehend.Â Only with input from trusted peers can a creator grow.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Yet, here, too, community can be an oppressive force.Â Dependency on community means a dependency on others opinions, and can strangle the creatorâ€™s singular identity.Â Every creative person needs time to themselves to remind them of what they are compared to the others in the community.Â Solitude is a friend to thought and personal independence.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â And in this era of creativity, due to the power of the internet, we are seeing a massive explosion of diversity.Â Almost nothing is too distant to avoid the grasp of anyone with a PC and a phone or cable line.Â A person can reach around the world in an instant, learn about cultures far and wide, and allow those cultures to affect their own work.Â You can talk directly to the creator, and purchase directly from them and directly support their work.Â You can find countless group, communes, and pods of creators across the world that meet in invisible rooms.Â Itâ€™s never been easier to find oneâ€™s peers in anything from sexual practice to political opinion.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Also rampant in this era is competition.Â The stakes are enormous for those looking to make a living in the creative world.Â Rock stars, actors, painters and directors stand the possibility of making millions of dollars.Â This is especially true in music and film.Â And these are the people who are looked up to most by their peers.Â The respect that comes with going down in the history books of culture is more tempting than almost any other vice.Â So there is rampant cheating, defrauding, and backstabbing.Â It comes with the territory of high stakes.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â But what is missing is a sense of community.Â There is little trust between professional creators in this day and age.Â Everybody is all too ready to betray one another for a step up the ladder.Â The stakes are so high that a sense of community is impossible.Â Healthy competition is impossible in this climate.Â And those fabled communities of trust and creation exist.Â But what they need to flourish is a culture which focuses less on wealth and fame.Â This culture ought to focus on the community instead, and glamorize the act of creation, not its after-effects.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â So, all one has to do is radically change American culture from valuing materialism to valuing metaphysics and poetry.Â That should be easy, right?