Monday, May 11, 2009

P.S. (Latour, thanks)

A few quick words to reiterate my appreciation for the discourse that transpired this semester: the readings and conversations offered focused perspectives at things I have felt strongly about and I’m finding their insights helpful to my approach, as I’m eager to dive into more. Also, it was a lot of fun (in an odd sort of way) too. As one example, for a call for papers, I reworked some of my previous work concerning creativity and incorporated specifically some notions borrowed from Latour into the mix. I’m interested to share Latour in particular with my mother, who’s always worked as a naturalist and environmental studies teacher – I think she’d find his work helpful in supporting her own passionate views. – N  

Creativity has long been seen as something mythical denied to all but a few select individuals. Effectively this notion has disenfranchised people from engagement in their own lives. They ask, “Why should I care?” as it seems their actions are insignificant and of no consequence.

A new definition is required: Creativity is the conscious pause where all our experience, instinct, and imagination dance together to create a novel response to a stimulus. By putting creativity in such terms, rather than having to ascend to some other plane of existence, we can instead look inside ourselves at what’s been there all along. Creativity is therefore not an elite privilege possessed by a few, but a birthright inherent in all.

By acting creatively, engaging in the conscious pause, we take responsibility for and ownership of our actions, and as such invest our care in what we do. Creation creates ownership and ownership engenders care. Reaction, on the other hand, is to be but a link in a chain in a series of events. “Reaction” is “I Care Not,” whereas “Creation” means to put “Care Into.” By pausing, careless apathy is transformed into creative empathy, and each moment is a chance to create possibilities. Thus, there is no such thing as “just” a grilled cheese sandwich. Every action, no matter how seemingly mundane is an opportunity to bring forth our creativity. From this perspective, we are empowered to take ownership of our own thoughts, and look differently upon ourselves and our actions. By putting our care into every moment and interaction, we can transform our world and can’t help but be changed along the way.


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