Creativity is an Act of Rebellion
Why do we create? And more importantly, why must we create?
Creation is in the very fabric of our species. We are builders by nature. It is our ability to imagine—to see a probable future in our heads and make it reality one step at a time—that makes us human. No other species can do this in the same way. While other species may build out of necessity (say, birds building a nest for example), humans create beyond simple needs. Otherwise, there would have been no reason to be a post-agricultural civilization which would gave us food, shelter, and clothing necessary to live. But we have far far surpassed that.
Beyond need, we have art, entertainment, knowledge, science. These are things beyond mere survival—they are curiosities and compulsions. We have questions about the material and immaterial world and we seek to answer them. (This very thing you’re reading is a creating out of no other need that an itch I wanted to scratch.)
Creation is how.
We find out what we can do, with the hopes that it might give us something in return: answers, satisfaction, euphoria. We toil through the difficulty and spend countless hours to make something which often we are uncertain would be fruitful. And yet, we must try. We dare to create anyway. We can’t help it. But why?
Because there will always be more. The world is an endless stream of possibilities, and new answers reveal new questions, and new technologies demand better ones, and new art movements inspire an opposing art movement. We say we create to justify our beliefs, but is it not possible that we manufacture beliefs so that we can create?
We have untapped energy inside of us that need to be bottled into doing. Mission is the lifeblood of our beings. We are perpetually unsatisfied, and perfection would be the death of our species. That there is more to do, more to attempt, more to learn, and thus more to create, is because…there is much to destroy. The status quo, the old way of doing things, stuck in tradition and ancient processes, outputting lackluster mediocre results. We believe we can do better. Which means there is much to remove and much to replace. And what we’ve created in place of these things, we eventually will also have to move and replace.
Creation need not always be grand. But it does need to deviate ever so slightly, otherwise, it’s just a copy. Creation tends to have an energy around it—an inner sense of quiet focused aggression because it requires strategic precision and mental faculties working in concert combining our skillsets, experience, and faith to birth something to life.
It is not always smooth. Often you’re learning something new through the creation process and it’s expected to stumble and feel uncomfortable as certain things don’t come naturally to you yet as your brain is creating new or reinforcing old mental pathways as you do new things. One mustn’t get frustrated as this is part of creation—you are not merely creating an external thing, the thing you are creating ends up creating you. The thing you’re creating is a reflection of your own set of strengths, experiences, background, and interests at their current stage combined. But also, you are a reflection of the thing you created yourself. It says a lot about you, the creator. And often this is what prevents us from creating, because we feel inferior, or afraid of what others might say, and most commonly, our taste does not match the current status of the output—it may not be to our standards yet. Every creator goes through this. No one creates a masterpiece from the moment they try something. Instead, you must stay on the path. You must channel that quiet aggression with continued focus and clarity and challenge yourself to keep creating because creation is what creates yourself. You want to get better so you can create something better? There is only one way: create.
There is so much more that goes into creation: the need to be patient, being stubborn in the face of frustration, having to juggle external factors that may affect the creative process. Yet, one must still create. The creation doesn’t care about your excuses. Rather, these are all fuel. Creation is an act of rebellion—against the status quo, and against everything that seeks to pull you away from creation. There is a price that comes with the opportunity to will something new into the world and every creator must pay.
The thing will not create itself. It needs your energy. It needs your rage. It needs your taste. It needs your sense of rebellion. It needs your persistence. Most of all, it needs you. And believe it or not, you need it just as much. Because all these things inside you need to be bottled up to manifest something you can call yours. It is a gift to the world for which the reward is the creation of the thing into itself. Yes, there are all the things it can do in the world. But that is outside of your immediate control. There are no second- and third- order effects until you’ve created the thing, and that is between you and the creation.
We must dare to keep creating. Our souls are no fools, it knows when we’re not, or when we haven’t poured our heart into something. Let our creations create us. Let us continue to be rebels. It is in our blood. It is in our DNA. Our species rule the planet only because of our ability to create. Everything is created through some sheer sense of belief and will and creation.
Something is calling deep into us. We know it. We may not know exactly what we will create next or the path to get there. We must feel into it. We must march on into the world to receive energy back so we can bottle that up into something unique and something that is truly ours. The world as it is this moment can’t be all there is to life. The world needs us. The world needs more rebels like you.
What are you going to create next?
June 20, 2022