Friday Notes #101 — The Need for Creativity in My Life

Creativity: its place in my life, where it comes from, why is it so important to me.

Friday Notes #101 — The Need for Creativity in My Life

Creativity is central to my life. It takes many forms and is experienced in different ways. Writing has been one way of creative expression since maybe I was a teenager. Even today, I’m certainly more into words than pictures, but I constantly go from one form to another.

I recently cleaned up my blog and deleted many old and irrelevant posts. From 766 posts, my blog is now down to 330. Posts were dated from the end of 2018 to 2023. Of all deleted posts, the vast majority were older ones. I’m still unsure if it was a great idea because I don’t like the principle of content disappearance on the web.

My blogging journey has two eras: from 2009 to 2013 and from 2015 up to now. When I returned to blogging in 2018, I had this urgent desire to write about anything daily, even if I didn’t have something worthwhile to share. Some blog posts looked like tweets in content and length. They were destined to be short-lived, ephemeral.

The motivation for all this writing was, in fact, a pretext for feeling creative. It was like practicing to stay in writing shape.

A blogger recently wrote this on his blog, which resonated with me a lot:

Making things and putting them out into the world is something that makes me happy.

For the same reason, I spend so much time in front of a computer, creating things more or less worthwhile for others but immensely worth it for me. From photography to written words and, more recently, to videos, these immaterial pieces are spread on an infinite digital canvas I like to play with. I find satisfaction in the results and the tools I use to create them. This explains why I care so much about evaluating them, testing them, experiencing them, writing about them and sharing my experience doing all this.

This creative habit comes from my parents, especially my mother. My father was a creative person too, but his creativity was directed toward his work as an architect. On the other hand, my mother used her creativity in her leisure time. She had many hobbies at different times (enamel on copper, loom, elaborate gardening, macrame, etc.) Just like her, my spare time is, for the most part, spent on creative activities.

Following a recent heated but amicable debate with my wife about AI, ChatGPT and how humans should consider and use AI in their life, I decided to ask the following question to ChatGPT: “Is creativity something only humans are capable of?”

Here’s the answer I got on the first try:

Creativity is not limited to humans. While humans are undoubtedly highly creative, there are many examples of creativity in the animal kingdom.
For example, birds build intricate nests using a variety of materials and techniques, and some primates have been observed using tools in innovative ways to solve problems. Dolphins have been known to engage in playful behavior and create bubble rings, and some insects create complex patterns in their webs or tunnels.
However, the extent and complexity of creativity may differ between species. Human creativity is undoubtedly unique in its ability to produce highly complex and abstract creations, such as music, literature, and art. Additionally, humans are capable of imagining and creating entirely new concepts and ideas, which may be more challenging for other species to achieve.
In summary, while creativity is not limited to humans, the scope and complexity of human creativity are likely unparalleled in the animal kingdom.

Not bad. It’s an answer that I can live with. If many living species can be creative, humans exercise it in the deepest and broadest possible ways. Of course, not everyone experiences creativity at the same level and intensity; I’m certainly one who does it intensively, thanks to my genetic baggage and the environment in which I grew up.

One last thought. I recently went to see a multimedia exposition on the impressionism art movement. During the presentation, there were many short films of Paris in the late 1800 or early 1900 (like in this video) showing mundane scenes of people at cafes, walking in streets or playing in parks. One thing that came to my mind while watching: the apparent slow passing of time in people’s lives back then. I thought it was both fascinating and destabilizing. To create is to accept to slow down our lives for a moment. Maybe I’m just discovering another reason creativity is such an essential part of my life: it gives me the impression of slowing things up a bit.