Creativity is a paradox
Creativity appears self-contradictory. For everything that's true about creativity, the opposite is also true (and all truths in between).
Practicing creativity involves seemingly opposite modes and approaches:
- Be slow, strategic, and careful / be fast, fluid and spontaneous
- Sketch out the rough outline / dig into the fine details
- Generate a bunch of ideas / identify the best ideas
- How does it work? / How does it feel?
- Let's get organized / Let's make a mess
Seen through a binary lens, these modes might be roughly sorted intoand . This view is useful for practicing creativity to identify skill areas to practice. It is also illusory—in reality the "opposites" are integrated and fluid, a spectrum of seemingly contradictory truths existing all at once within the creative cycle ( ) and within multiple layers of experience.
, so practicing creativity is an exercise in becoming more fluent in the full range of creative states and integrating them in the full creative cycle by intuiting when to shift perspective ( ).
This paradoxical nature reflects the generative power of creativity. Because creativity happens on the boundary of existence and non-existence, self and not-self, it operates in a "both/and" context in which multiple possibilities, patterns, and realities can co-exist that appear to negate each other. ()
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These are my draft notes on creativity—as a skill, a practice, and a mystery