Leading up to the 90th Academy Awards Ceremony is a great time to honour the 1968 winner of the documentary short subject – Why Man Creates.
We watched Why Man Creates every semester when I was an undergraduate and graduate student at the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College; from September 1977 through to December 1983.
Students and faculty at the Center quoted lines from the film because it was shown with such regularity, ‘I’m a bug, I’m a germ, I’m a bug, I’m a germ. Ha – Louis Pasteur, I’m not a bug I’m not a germ.’
Creativity Principle: Look beyond the obvious
Every semester when our professor, Dr. Ruth Noller, showed it, I’d moan.
“I’ve seen it already,” I’d say.
“Then find something new in the film,” Ruth replied; like clockwork, every semester.
And so I did. Ruth modeled an important principle you can use to fashion your WCID and WCIW celebrations. I learned to look beyond the obvious, to dig deeper, to see new things in the old – skills I use to this day.
Creativity Principle: Harsh immediate judgments are like a shot in the gut
One scene, in particular, stood out. An artist, who, in creating a sculpture, experiences an insight of grand proportions. He adds this new idea to his artwork and then, puts the sculpture on show.
We see a crowd gathered, commenting on this piece of art. Each utterance is a criticism. “It’s unAmerican.” I can’t say what I think because I’m from Nebraska, and you know what we are like.” “It will never fly Orville.”
We see the artist dressed like an American cowboy, receiving the comments as if each is a bullet. With each comment, he buckles over as if hit in the gut.
This scene profoundly moved me. Still does. Every time I hear an immediate ‘no’ to a new idea, it feels like a shot to the gut. From that I generalized this must be how others feel with rejection, immediate harsh criticism to their new thinking, that, in turn, discourages them from using their creative imagination and contributing new and different ideas, thinking, or potential solutions.
Wouldn’t it be great for people to inquire about new ideas rather than judge them harshly and critically upon first learning of them? That’s one of my wishes for World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21, that the portal for considering new ideas opens wider to enable free use of imagination applied to create a decent life for all on a sustainable planet.
Prepare for World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21: An Invitation
I invite you to take a step back in history and to participate in the worldview of the times. Watch the 1968 film. Highlight your connections and insights in the comments section.
What principles emerge for you?
It’ll be interesting to see the meanings we make today.