I think the word ‘creativity’ is having its moment. But like anything having a moment, the word’s meaning is redefined by popular culture.
People claiming to ‘love’ creativity and self-expression often seem to only love it in theory. When they think they’re supposed to love it. But there’s a big disconnect between what people say they admire and encourage…and the reality.
Take this article, for example. What’s the point of it? It’s one of many, about many things today. It’s the equivalent of high school lunch tables, and for a culture that otherwise claims to be ‘embracing creativity’ and ‘freedom of expression’ – the reality is, it doesn’t.
The media, like any herd, is often quick to ostracize anything that does not fall in line with the popular narrative.
I remember when the world was suddenly drawn in by the hype over Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty retrospective, and lines stretched around the block. Who were these people, most who never likely sought out McQueen’s work before? And why were they all there? What did so many come for, that they couldn’t be seen or experience in ‘the real world’?
What could they have seen and learned and taken away?
Instead, how many left that show, exclaiming the virtues of breathtaking creativity, or the courage of self-expression…only to then return to the norms?
Or to ostracize others who otherwise did not fit into their own norms or match their ubiquitous Pinterest pages?
How many missed the point of McQueen’s entire life’s work?
There are two approaches we can use when encountering anything not identical to our own dogma and norms:
Encourage and support it – collectively creating an atmosphere where personal creative expression can emerge to bring about new ideas.
Or criticize and malign it – causing the formation of ‘subcultures’ that otherwise tamp down on real individuality.
I don’t care which one we claim we believe in.
Which one do we actually live?