An epidemic is occurring in our country; creativity is on the decline and battling for its survival. Cuts in funding for the arts, standardization in schools, and modifications in our national priorities have caused creativity to be at an all-time low. Europe saw this decline and made immediate amends to try and improve the situation, but the U.S. is not addressing the problem on a national level. If the deterioration of creative thinking is not a priority, what is? Standardized testing? Homogenization? Personally, I am not in favor of a compliant drone-like society. We need audiences who can handle complexity, and artists who challenge us on a deep level if we want to advance our national culture.
Since I don’t have kids, I cannot comment on changes in education or in the home. However, this national crisis reaches far beyond our schools. There is a general decline in the ability to think creatively, deeply, and for oneself. As the Shift progresses, we must strengthen our capacity for creative problem solving and independent reasoning. For the sake of our creative evolution, consider these ideas for breaking the habit of low-energy (non-creative, passive) thinking.
Disconnect from the hypnosis of modern practices
Turn off the TV. Seriously. Give your mind some space. Bombarding your thoughts with messages and images produced by a complex network of media and marketing corporations is the primary enemy of the mind today. So many people are out of touch with what they truly think or feel. How can you know what you truly care about, or want to create, or want to accomplish, if you regularly absorb the reality that corporations want you to experience? TV is a device which diminishes deeper thought and critical, creative thinking. Corporations can sell anything these days, from a news story to products, because so many passively accept whatever is presented without question or investigation. It’s dangerous for artists because it shapes your reality and opinions. Turn off the programming.
Limit your scanning. Notice what you feed your mind. Do you scan everything? Can you think about what you have read and make connections, associations to other information you have received? Or is it all tidbits of scanned information in your mind? When you read something online, do you ask yourself what you think about the ideas presented, or quickly make a judgment and move on to the next scan? Are you scanning this post? What is happening in your mind as you scan: are you categorizing, making assumptions, looking for the sensationalist terms that the media uses to activate fear and excitement? Creative thinking is fortified by depth, by approaching things with perspective and exploring topics with curiosity.
Limit your exposure to nonsense. You are in control of your hours. Clicking on low-energy news stories (celebrities, “shocking” headlines, filler videos) only encourages fear-based and compliant habits. If your friends on Facebook whine about silly moments of their day, complain rather than formulate solutions, or talk about TV, celebs, scandal, rumors or other low-energy topics, then log off. Or challenge them to think; ask a question that requires more complex thinking. Post something useful or deep and ask for their input. If you are embarrassed to do so, observe this reaction. Is Facebook just for adolescent exchanges? Are you engaging in passive thinking every week as you “catch up” with friends? Every day? Several times a day? Do your friends discuss things on an adult level, or post quick opinions and abandon deeper consideration? Reinforcing low-energy thought strengthens that part of your brain. It steals your time, energy and ability to think independently. We know whatever we encourage grows, and the rest withers.
Abandon time-suck traps in favor of abundant creative thinking. Allow space in your day for brilliance to get in. Filling every spare moment with cell phone chatter, email, twitter, business, blogs, Facebook, news, and social networking perpetuates a scattered mind. The plethora of marketing, business and social media advice keeps us frightened to do, do, do, less we “miss out” on an opportunity by not conforming to the standard rules of engagement. Artists need to be free of this influence in order to create unique and genuine expressions. Spend several moments of your day pondering, experimenting with your creations, journaling your ideas, feeding your higher mind. Meditate; it really helps to turn off the static of outside influence. Cook real food, walk, breathe, observe. Don’t go shopping or be around corporate messages.
With daily practice, creative thinking becomes effortless. Observe your thoughts as you disconnect from old habits. As you activate the higher energy of your creative mind, your outlook will change. The experience of life becomes richer; possibilities open wide and original ideas flow. If we want to embrace our new stereotype and be inspiring leaders, we must break the chains of bland, blind compliance. Doing what everyone else is doing won’t serve our art. Be a role model. Spread awareness of deep thinking and creative thought. We are responsible for nurturing the survival of art, and insuring our legacy of creativity.