Mind Your Creativity

Mind Your Creativity

We are by nature creative beings.  Creativity is innate to who we are, it is a fundamental part of our nature and important to our individual and community well-being.

Left Brain – Right Brain

Our brains are made up of two different sides, two hemispheres, with each hemisphere in control of different ways of thinking.  The right side of our brain is responsible for creativity, while the left side is responsible for more logical and fact-based thought.

Left Brain

Logical
Rational
Analytical
Objective
Looks at parts
Detail oriented
Fact based thoughts
Words and language
Present and past
Math and science
Order and pattern perception
Reality based

Practical

Right Brain

Random
Intuitive
Holistic
Subjective
Looks at wholes
Big picture oriented
Imagination

Symbols and images

Present and future

Philosophy & religion

Spatial perception

Fantasy based

Risk taking

Individuals may be more inclined to be more “left brained” or “right brained”, but we are all born with the ability to tap into each side and use our whole brain. You can try this short quiz to see which may be your dominant hemisphere (I’m about evenly split between my right-brain and left-brain).

Cultivating Creativity

Our culture plays a large part in how we develop our brains.  Our education system and workforce help shape and establish how we think.  In a society that values left brain thinking, logic, analysis and accuracy over aesthetics, feeling, and creativity, we end up developing the left side of our brain while our more creative side is underdeveloped.

In recent year there has been a lot written on the importance of creativity – researchers are trying to measure it, city leaders tout their creative communities and some state that creative capital is needed for global change.  We are beginning to recognize the value of creativity.

Creativity isn’t just about art, it is about original ideas and different perspectives.  Creative thinking stimulates curiosity and can generate new ideas, and as individuals and communities it is in our interest to be creative in terms of how we approach problems and develop solutions.

More Info On Creativity

If you are interested in learning more about creativity and our brain here are a few suggestions:

  • I highly recommend watching Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor speak at T.E.D. about her experience having a stroke, she offers amazing insight on how the different sides of our brain work.
  • Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind addresses the importance of right brain skills in the professional sectors, and it is a fairly easy read.
  • I also like The Cultural Creatives by Ray and Anderson, a Sociologist and Psychologist who conducted years of research and write on a growing shift in American culture.

Five Reasons Why We Need Art

“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.”
~ Edward Hopper

Edward Hopper - Eleven AM

Art, in its many forms, exists in every community, every culture, and every country. Art has been created since time began, evidenced in cave paintings and rock art, and in today’s world we know that art can be a major economic force, yet we continue to question the worth of art.

Often I have heard someone dismiss a work of art by saying, “I could do that” or “I don’t understand it”. Perhaps not placing value on something that we ourselves could make or expecting things to be easily understood speaks to the loss of thoughtfulness and creativity in our world and only magnifies our need for the arts.

Here are five reasons why I believe we need art:

1. Art is a Natural Human Behavior: Creating art is a primal behavior. Children, the world over, instinctively make. Every culture has art. Like language and laughter, art is a fundamental human behavior. Put very simply, art is a part of who we are.  We need art because it makes us complete human beings.

2. Art is Communication: Art, like language, is a medium to express ideas and to share information.  Art offers us a method to communicate what we may not necessarily fully understand or know how to express. Art helps us to share thoughts, ideas and visions that may not be able to be articulated any other way. We need art to have a full range of expression.

3. Art is Healing: Creating or experiencing art can relax and sooth us or it may enliven and stimulate us. The process of creating art engages both the body and the mind and provides us with time to look inward and reflect.  Experiencing art also gives us reason to think and be reflective or may inspire us to get up and dance.  Art provides a release, a place for reflection and away to engage our whole selves. .We need art to keep us healthy.

4. Art Tells Our Story: Art is a history lesson, an historical record, a preservation of culture, and an autobiography all in one.  Art documents events and experiences and allows us a richer understanding of history. Art reflects cultural values, beliefs and identity and helps to preserve the many different communities that make up our world. Art chronicles our own lives and experiences over time. We need art to understand and to share our individual and shared history.

5. Art is a Shared Experience: The creation of art is a collective activity. Art forms such as dance, theatre and choir all require a group of artists and an audience. Even the solitary painter or poet relies upon the craft of the paint-maker or book-binder to help create art. Art offers us a reason to come together and share in an experience. We need art to keep us connected.