Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Where Does Creativity Come From?

In addition to the 2D Art classes that I teach (grades 9-12), I also teach a humanities class for 9th graders. My humanities students make daily journal entries, based on a topic or question for the day. The other day, I asked, Where Does Creativity Come From? I received an interesting reply from one of my students: "Creativity comes from the right side of the brain, from the creative gland, scientifically speaking."

If I recall correctly, the "creative gland" is located near the pineal gland. (If you have seen the film From Beyond [based on a story by H. P. Lovecraft], you will be familiar with the pineal gland. You will also be familiar with Barbara Crampton, but that's another story.)

I was talking with one of my colleagues (one of our music teachers) about this journal entry regarding the creative gland. He asked, "So where does creativity come from?" My reply went something like this:

In general, "creativity" and where it comes from is in large part mysterious, but it seems to me that there a couple of main things that we can look at. One major factor would be comprised of the totality of everything that we have experienced throughout or lives-- everything that we have perceived with our senses, all of the emotions we have felt, our dreams (where do they come from?), various random thoughts, etc. The other big thing is something that is more difficult to pin down. A religious person might refer to "a gift from God." A more generically spiritual person might refer to "being in tune with the universe/cosmos." Freud, the subconscious. Jung, the collective unconscious. Some will try to find creativity through altering their consciousness, through drugs, meditation or other means. That's it in a nutshell.

Ultimately, creativity, what it is, and exactly where it comes from remains a mystery. I think that many creatively-minded people look to the arts (consciously or not) as a means of exploring the mysteries of existence, to find ways to make sense out of life.

Opinions are, of course, welcome.

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