My musical genius friend Garrett Hope sent me the link to this great Wall Street Journal article on the origin of creativity. There’s cool mention of research revealing the exterior part of the right brain is overactive when creative decisions are made. We are most creative when we are relaxed (no wonder art is being cut from schools…there is no time or need to relax in school). At the end of the article, there is a list of 10 “Creativity Hacks”. The last one is move to a metropolis.
This idea is not really earth shattering, and you may even be asking, “So what.” A few weeks ago I reviewed Beauty Will Save the World, a book exploring the ways the Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection, and unconditional grace undermines the worldly powers of violence. One aspect of the book I failed to mention in my review is the journey mankind takes over the course of the Bible. In Genesis, Man is in a garden. In Revelations, Man is in a populated city.
Regular readers of this blog know how I enjoy drawing connections between God, faith, and creativity. I’ve asserted before that creating, in itself, is an act that makes us like God, an act that conjures Christ. This “move to metropolis” comment strikes me because creating is not entirely complete until the creation is perceived. A poem isn’t fully realized until it is read and discussed (and often revised). Art moves us towards each other, towards community, towards the metropolis. It’s no shock then that the metropolized (according to research) often show more creativity.
I’m not discounting the importance of nature and solitude and their role in creativity. I love being in the mountains, spending time alone in the cool breeze listening to the squawks and scuffles of the world. I love writing in these situations. But I also like to come back to civilization. The artist in me drives me to be a hermit, and drives me to be a neighbor. Such ambivalence. Such beauty!