Chester Selorm suggested that I write an article on creativity and the link between creativity and music. I took some notes and let them aside for a few days. This morning, I came across an interview with Dr. Daniel E. Lieberman on the importance of the strength of our feet, which have become weak due to the use of shoes, and then another interview with Mo Gawdat on artificial intelligence. Mo Gawdat quoted a Sufi wisdom "To be at peace one must die before one is dead". After that the conversation turned to predictions about the future of humanity in relation to the use of artificial intelligence. It is there, between these two pieces of information, the Sufi quote and the projection on the future that I zoomed out. I focused not on the content I was listening to but on the fact that I was listening to two people exchanging information orally while I was statically seated on a chair. It is true that these informations named more or less tangible realities. On one hand: my feet and on the other: a "virtual tool" - can we define AI in these terms? which clearly has an influence on the prioritization of information disseminated collectively on a large scale (cf. The ecology of attention by Yves Citton) and can therefore end up impacting consumer behavior which in turn influences the economy and resources management which ultimately affects what's on my plate. But even if these two interviews addressed more or less concrete things, part of the speech ended up being focused on a hypothesis (a version of the future), and the way of presenting the information approached the assertion of evidence. The whole thing is therefore not far from the question of being right or wrong. True or false that our feet are weaker than those of our ancestors? True or false that AI will have such-and-such an impact?
Not far from there, walked on tiptoe… the notion of power, not intrinsic power, but power that depends on the force one operates on another.
Because if I have « true » information … then people will believe me … then actions will follow aligned with this possible new certainty.
I thought of the amount of human space-time occupied daily in receiving information in a static, not to say passive, way. In other words, how many hours of daily human presence are spent receiving information (podcasts, books, interviews) without mobilizing or engaging the body other than through our eyes and/or ears?
I then came to the question of the balance between the time-energy space devoted to consuming (receiving) information (or stuff) and the time-energy space dedicated to creating (giving) information (or stuff – let’s include in stuff also emotions).
Certainly new information can encourage movement.
For example, if in my current cognitive balance I assume that swans are always white and I learn that there are black ones, I will need a mental movement to reorganize my « cognitive » balance or my view on the topic, in order to create a vision integrating both informations.
In the example above, the cognitive movement that allows me to associate or re-associate concepts is generated by the arrival of rational information in contrast to what could be sensory information such as the change in temperature in the room.
So what about situations where it’s not just my mind that receives info? What about the body? And the heart? And one more thing that might exist such as the soul for example? Or the spirit beyond the mind?
Following the flatness of this moment experiences while listening to an exchange of information transmitted orally, pre-recorded (so there was not even the notion of live), in a context where my only action was to listen, I wanted to focus on what a creative movement requires, as opposed to a moment particularly close to passivity.
A few things to think about:
• A creative process, a creative action can only take place here and now.
Even if what I am building is a mental projection into the future, it is here and now that I am creating it.
In other words, the creative act depends on our ability to be present and how we are present. The more I have the capacity to engage in my presence the whole of my being and not only my mind, or only my body while thinking of being elsewhere, the richer my creative act will be, carried by a multiplicity of inspirations.
• The creative act depends on our power in the sense of the french word : puissance, closer to potentiality and not on our power in the sense of the french word : pouvoir, closer to power over others.
I suggest the following distinction between these terms: Power-Puissance as intrinsic ability and strength; Power-Pouvoiras a margin of action or power depending on my relationship to the other.
Example: the quality of a dance move will depend on the physical state of my body, my physical and mental abilities (ability to imagining a movement, for example), my proprioception, etc. but not on the influence I could have on the person looking at me. The quality of the gesture will be the same whether I move in front of an audience already acquainted and appreciative of my art or in front of a group of total strangers.
The feeling of self-confidence could differ depending on the context, but here again it will be my ability to manage my perceptions that will be at stake.
Another example: a CEO of a multinational company may have decision-making power impacting billions of people, that says nothing about the quality of what he or she can create.
It also follows that what I create will be determined by my power/puissance/ability even though my intention is power-pouvoir over others.
That is: I may want to create a seminar on a new teaching method to have power over a group of teachers, but even if my intention is power over a group, my creation will depend on my intrinsic abilities.
This point may seem insignificant, however in a socio-economic context where there is constantly the question of impact on others, on the market, on the audience, it seems useful to me to recall the distinction between power/puissance and power/pouvoir.
Thinking of the daily life of some artists, the following comment comes to my mind from a situation in a rehearsal room: « Before taking 2 hours to make an Instagram story (impact on others) it would be good to work on the composition » (work on the creation dependent on intrinsic capacities)
• According to this idea, the toolbox of creation has its importance, because it is part of the creative power/puissance. Depending on the discipline, it will include: the richness of the language, the variety of knowledge, the physical abilities, the ability to listen, etc.
When we consider creativity beyond artistic disciplines and we talk about creating a certain quality of relationship to oneself, to others, for example or creating a work environment, or vacations, etc. the need for emotional and relational tools and abilities becomes even more evident.
In other words, it’s not just artists who need to listen to their imagination and emotions.
The ability to listen, perceive and treat the information we receive are essential for any type of creation.
• Non-association with the rules, or in other words: to consider the knowledge acquired as tools and relative realities not as limits to be respected.
Once upon a time there was a song I composed. When I approached a guitarist to create an arrangement, he considered that one of the chords was wrong and wanted to modify my composition. In his perception, he considered a rule of harmony that he knew as a limit to be respected.
I did not continue the collaboration.
Some time later, I found myself with another guitarist to whom I presented the same chord chart. He said nothing and we built an arrangement. Three weeks later he told me : « I finally figured out what mode your song is in » (musical mode).
Instead of sticking to a first rule (the one probably considered by the previous musician) to say « that’s wrong« , he remained open to discovering another perspective, until the knowledge was organized and he found the perspective from which my chord grid made sense.
What made him keep this openness, this curiosity? First probably his wealth of knowledge large enough for him torealizes he doesn’t know everything, then maybe, I should ask him, a feeling that the composition « worked », that it « felt » good and that there was therefore no error.
Thank you Théo Duboule for your knowledge and your devotion to music.
I find this example illustrates well what I mean by not considering a known rule as a limit to be respected, because you never know if there is not another rule from another perspective that would give meaning to what we created.
• Which brings me to the next point: extracting oneself from right, wrong, good and evil and welcoming what emerges in a contemplative, listening and feeling approach: what emerges as creation in front of me, from me, how does that make me feel?
• Seek alignment between freedom (or the lack of freedom of the creative process) and our goal.
If I want a song with four chords, a 120 bpm, a verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure, a catchy melody line, and an electronic arrangement because I want it on the radio, inevitably the result of my creative process will be pre-determined by these elements and anything that may emerge outside this framework will not be taken into account.
A problem ?
None as long as my goal is to get my song on the radio.
But if my goal is: I want to create a song that expresses the emotion of grief or simply: I feel like I have something on my heart and I want to get it out thourgh art then clearly the constraints imposed are not aligned with my objective.
• Trusting the intrinsic structure of living things: music is structured sensory information, frequencies (notes) have regular mathematical relationships between them as well as their harmonics, rhythm is structure. In the same way that the essence of life is mathematically structured, like the numbers of chromosomes by species.
This, it seems to me, is one more argument for valuing the need to be in a position of reception of what happens during the creative process. Trust in the fact that the structure of the different elements (words, notes, movement, images, according to the discipline then: relationships, events, places, etc. if we are talking about human life) is intrinsically carried by each component. Our role would then be to make the structure visible and/or to let it emerge.
To go further, it seems to me that it is a question of perceiving oneself in a dynamic of constant creation where being alert and present to the flows of information (whatever their type: conceptual, sensory, etc.) in a posture of contemplation, without resisting the flow of information, without associating with any of this information, simply contemplating it.
I’ll end with two things: some verses that arrived to me in a moment of inspiration which I just transcribed and an ending sentence with some etymological elements so you can have fun creating your own associations around them.
People say “For Ever” but people have no clue
For Ever is no a promise it’s a confession
For ever doesn’t speak about the future It reveals the origin
its eternal longing
For Ever doesn’t mean I will
it means I have
I have carried your image inside until today
the day you appear
For Ever means I am
every invisible ray of your light as you are mine
And the ending sentence:
Every moment of creativity is a moment of truth.
Etymology of truth: From Common Indo-European u̯erǝ- (« friend, trustworthy, true »).
Etymology of faith: (Noun 1) From Latin fĭdem, accusative of fĭdes, from Common Indo-European bheidh- (“to trust”).
Etymology of trust: From Common Indo-European bheidh- (« faith, strength »).
Faith in Sanskrit Shraddha (Sanskrit IAST: śraddhā; Devanagari: श्रद्धा; « faith, faithfulness »).
In Vedism, Shraddha is an intimate conviction which reinforces the efficacy of the rite (…) Possession of Shraddha can even make the help of the gods superfluous.
References from Wikipedia.