Creativity is a complex phenomenon we are only just now learning to understand in all its dimensions. This human trait is developed early on in childhood when a specific number of games activates and cultivates the imagination, the inventiveness, and creativity in children. Unfortunately, the majority of games do not fulfill this function. However, with the right kinds of games, a child can discover the different uses for the objects used in the game and develops confidence through the pleasant feelings evoked in the process.
It’s been scientifically proven that upbeat pleasant music activates creative thinking in children in contrast to silence. Each type of activity triggers different areas of the brain.
There are two prevailing brain functions directly associated with generating creative thoughts. On the one hand, creative people tend to roam in their thoughts in complete freedom and generate spontaneous ideas. On the other hand, they have perfect control of their attention. When we think of nothing, we are in what is called a state of nirvana during which our thoughts roam freely between new ideas and correlations without a clear aim. It is a particularly important phase for the generating of creative thought. In this phase the human brain exhibits an intense electrical activity of a different kind than the one demonstrated when we focus on a particular task.
Absentmindedness and the existence of seemingly insignificant stimuli while we are preparing for a project at hand, in actuality constitute a rejuvenation of thought, classified as disruptive creativity. Distraction is nothing but mind wandering. It’s no accident that many pioneering ideas come to us when we are not forced to do something and when we are thinking of absolutely nothing, like driving or lying down or staring at the ceiling.
In all of the above our education system plays a very important role. School has never made it easy for the development of creative thinking; on the contrary, it’s stood as an obstacle to it via rigid learning. By studying human creativity, new ideas for teaching paradigms can evolve.
Cohesion is a fundamental element of social life. However, this can also become a dangerous trap to the health of its members when it is too rigid to acknowledge individual choices and behaviors. This is what happens when our attitude in different situations in life remains unyielding because “that’s how it should be,” regardless of whether that is a source of stress, pain, and frustration.
So, desires and impulses are blocked in the name of social cohesion from which we draw no pleasure whatsoever. In order to survive, however, we don’t need this social cohesion as much as we need a spiritual flexibility and a great openness to change. It is no accident that there is a direct correlation between the absence of cohesion and creativity when it comes to deriving pleasure from life. It is very important to see the world from different points of view and to feel free to allow our desires and impulses voice and the room necessary to grow.
Allowing ourselves the right to change, however, does not mean that we cease to be consistent with our fundamental values. It is through this concept that we must assess and acknowledge ourselves for what it is and not through the material things we desire.
When the individual is in a creative process, he or she feels enlightened and material possessions are of no particular value. The individual then is in the state between reality and pure creativity and is overwhelmed with a feeling of completion and contentment.
Being creative means, one is enjoying every moment of his life and is not subject to monotony, routine and to a meaningless life. This is a very personal process and a lonely path.
Those close to creative people receive the satisfaction that emanates from them. But this satisfaction comes mainly from the journey towards the aim like Ulysses’ journey to Ithaca as Kavafy described.
The poet assures us that creatures like the Cyclops or the Laestrygonians are nothing but our personal demons, figments of our own fear. They are problems that we pose to ourselves while in reality there are none. Ithaca, aside from a destination of life, also symbolizes the great task we set for ourselves.
I’ve come to the end of my thoughts on creativity and I wish to everyone creative journeys that make our life more beautiful.
Spyros Metaxas, psychiatrist/psychotherapist www.anotropia.gr