Creativity & Entertainment

I recently heard a playwright describe her preference for theatre over movies in terms of creativity.  She told how the audience watching a play must creatively participate much more fully to imagine the settings than does someone watching TV or a movie.  This made me think of other forms of entertainment and our degree of creative participation.

So I threw together this diagram for dialogue purpose.  The red lines show the range of creative options with any given activity.  For instance, conversation, has varying degrees of creativity.  Most conversations are not creative at all and are instead  perfunctory, mechanical, and predictive.

Question to readers:  What would you add or change?


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

19 responses to “Creativity & Entertainment

  1. In activities column, singing, playing a musical instrument (a big range depending on amount of improvisation) composing music, songwriting, dance, painting, sculpting, did I mention dance?

  2. Dreaming can be pretty creative

  3. Dan Gurney
    Indeed !! And the list goes on. I will try to add some without getting too cluttery. Thanx. But as you see in my note below to JS Allen, “creativity” is not all that I am after. Creating this chart helped me to see this. I am sure you know what I mean by mindfulness. 😉
    Now, how to integrate the two in a chart? Any thoughts?

    @ JS Allen
    Indeed — but I realize that I am kind of mixing up “creative” with “mindfully intentional” . The mind is a creative thing without us even being mindful — it is her nature. Conversation with mindful-intention can be amazingly different from reflexive waiting turns to rattle off your own stories. I will be working on integrating this with the issue of “intentionality” that you pointed me too on your site. Thank you!

  4. Well, conversations have to be predictive. If you dare to talk about something different, no one wants to listen. Look at interviews of famous people. They have to answer in clichés, to hide the truth at all cost. The risk of saying what they really think or feel is way too high. So the art of conversation is one in which we must constantly struggle to hide what we really think and what we really feel. We must listen and imagine what the interlocutor wishes to hear, so we can say just that. Where is there room for creativity?

    Yes, colour me frustrated with interpersonal relationships.

  5. @Lorena:
    Your criticisms are spot on – both social and personal! 🙂
    But on a positive note. I am sure, over time, you have found you blogging to improve your creativity in conversation with your many commentors, no?

  6. Ah, that’s true. There is something to be said for letting go of control and allowing the subconscious to guide the creative process, but most people would see dreaming as being practically unconscious.

  7. @ JS Allen
    Part of “creativity”, it seems to me, is simply giving one’s time (focus) to the effort. I often wake with writing projects partly done by my mind while sleeping — I dream them. I have heard the same of those who compose music. Many artists say that their works just “come to them”. Of course I don’t think a holy ghost is involved, I think the mind makes stuff for us — either we listen and write it down or it is gone.
    So how can “we” claim to be creative? Again, this gets at the classic misunderstanding of self. In fact, many make gods out of this surprise by the brain.

  8. i dunno about the sleeping part. my dreams are crazy creative and i get a lot of stuff from there. but i think i’m rare in that aspect as i remember my dreams pretty vividly, keep a dream journal, and also lucid dream. so for me, i would pop that higher on the creative scale. but i’m prolly the exception to the rule.

    also the listening to music can really open ya up to creativity. i would put that higher as well. otherwise, i like it.

  9. in reading the comments, i see you think there are no holy ghosts involved. this episode of Radiolab seems to think otherwise. great episode that i can totally relate to about r doing battle with your muse, and why the muse wants you to fight back. great comment in there by Tom Waits who i am a big fan of… that reminds me of a quote by him i’ve been meaning to post on your sound does not exist post. brb.

  10. Mike aka MonolithTMA

    I’d add video games, or perhaps just sports and games, which would include video games.

    it’s interesting, I’ve been thinking about creativity recently, there are certain movies that I have enjoyed more than others, and I think part of the reason is that my being a creative person allows me to sort of fill in the cracks that other people trip over.

  11. @ Ghost :
    A) Confidence Intervals
    I don’t know if you are familiar with Confidence Intervals as expressed in graphs. Bu that is what those red bars are in my graph, with the word for the graph lying at the mean. (wiki, but my graph (as I agree with JS Allen above) allow for a variety of creativity in dreams.

    B) Talking to Yourself
    I listened to the Radio Lab bit — had heard it before, I think.
    It is good.
    In my post on the “Endurance Prayer“, I explain how this happens without a “Holy Ghost”. But sure, since you were born in a Christian culture, you will give your inner voice the name “Holy Ghost” and if you were born in India, she may be “Shakti” and the list goes on. Sure you may explain it as an “external” thing, but that would be wrong in my view. My post explains what I feel is the real phenomena without using spooks. But even without a supernatural world to explain it, it is still fascinating.

    @ Mike
    Yeah, video games would have to have a place but since I don’t play them, I didn’t add them — not sure how to think about them.

  12. Mike aka MonolithTMA

    @Sabio I’ll have to think about that and see if I come up with anything.

  13. sorry for the lag in reply, i was reading about A.) Confidence Intervals. that was extremely helpful. cool beans.

    as for B.) i disagree. as does the RL segment. there’s a story in there about Waits yelling at a song for his album stating “if you wanna be on the album, you better come out now! you have 15 minutes!” and he totally did it. or the time an awesome melody was coming to him while he was driving home and he said to it “listen, i was working all day waiting for you, you could have come then. you know my office hours. if you’re really serious about coming into the world, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow.” and it happened. i have started doing this too for sermons, blogposts, and other creative pursuits. i talk to it as if it is an external thing and i’m seeing results. can it be explained without spooks? i’m sure it could and you’ve done a great job with the endurance prayer post. that would be one method to deal with it. one i do not subscribe to.

  14. @ Ghost :
    Confidence intervals and confidence are incredibly important in understanding science and thoughts about causality etc. Glad you enjoyed.

    I don’t think RL took a stance. Instead, the author of “Eat, Love …” did. Right?
    She felt that the magic happened because she believed it. Maybe for her, but not for many. So by you logic, everyone hears a god when they feel creativity outside of themselves, right? Even us atheists.

    I would imagine you would want a softer stance like, “Well, sometimes when you feel creativity from outside, it is simply your brain but sometimes it is actually a god.”

  15. Earnest

    I would elongate the conversation bar.

  16. you’re right, i need to be more direct and clear in my writing. RL didn’t take a stand, and in fact Robert Kurlwich questioned the method used by the author of Eat, Pray, Love and Waits. i would soften that and say “everyone can feel creativity outside of themselves and some will never have that experience.” and i would also add that sometimes it’s God, and sometimes it’s our own brain making the connections on it’s own (like your story about the billboard in Arabic, i forget the name of the post). i have had both experiences and how I tell the difference is simply knowing myself and how i think. sometimes there are things that come to me that i would have never connected or thought of in a million years; it’s simply not me or in line with my thinking.

  17. I contend that we don’t know our brains at all. Thus surprising stuff most certainly must feel like it is coming from a god.

  18. @ Earnest
    The conversation bar is pretty long. In fact, some people may feel their conversation is very creative when actually they are just listening to their own monologue and considering that a dialogue.

  19. and i contend that you could be right.

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