In the course of my day job, I occasionally come across students who can articulately and eloquently write about topics so that I learn something new. I was privileged to read a paper one student wrote about the role of creativity in business. The student provided some background information about how creativity became so valued within business and in all parts of our lives. In short, this is a function of the Industrial Revolution: since we no longer have to spend all of our time growing our own food, making our own clothes and producing other necessities, we have more time to be creative.
Of course, this got my analytical brain going. Not everyone has to perform these chores, but someone has to. What about those who are the ones who produce our food, make our clothes and produce other necessities we need in order to get by in life? I know from experience that working in a factory or doing other kinds of physical labor can be just as mentally exhausting as it is physically. I know that I am lucky that I do not have to go forward with this kind of daily grind in day to day life.
Still, I am not expected to be creative with the work I do. Furthermore, I do not have the credentials or connections one would expect in order to pursue my more “creative” or “artistic” endeavors. With this in mind, I had to ask myself why is there a formula for creativity? Why are you expected to go to certain schools, pay a particular price and forge the right connections if you are in an area in which you are supposed to think outside the box? Also, if you are one of those people who has to work so that others can get the necessities they do not need to produce, are you not supposed to have any artistic ambitions?
I asked a similar question a few weeks ago about love. I asked if it is supposed to be a luxury outside the reach of the working classes. Is creativity supposed to be off limits to those society values least? Is it supposed to be a pipe dream held out like a rabbit driving the greyhounds to run toward an end with no real goal? What role is creativity supposed to play in our lives?
For me, writing has always been an important part of my life, but it never occurred to me before recently to try to make a living for it since I was supposed to be something great in my life. How can you be great, have a great impact, doing something that you love even if it does not produce the means you need to live? How can you put a value on creativity? All I know now is that it is something that I have to do for my very survival. Whether or not I make a living is yet to be seen.