Creativity Vs Comfort

There is a great scene in Dark Knight Rises where Bane delivers a monologue detailing why he will win. His point is that he comes from a place of despair and it has made him resilient, his resilience comes from his adaptability, from his creativity.

Creativity thrives only where there is space for it. Beneath creativity is desire, beneath desire is need.Where there is no need there lacks the impetus for action towards fulfillment.(curiosity, hunger, avoidance of danger etc)

Those operating within a system who are supported by the system have their needs met by it. Those operating within the system who do not have their needs met will seek to modify the system so that it fits their needs(innovation).

Those operating outside the system will be not act upon the system as long as their needs are met outside it but will seek to enter(inclusion) or alter the system if they can not sustain themselves beyond it’s borders(disruption).

Privilege begets, satiety and comfort which slowly mutes the instincts that aid in creation. Creation is stirred in a primal place within us. Our intellect may act upon it but it is sparked in our intuition. Similarly our ability to move is tied to our need to seek food. For example plants that produce energy by photosynthesis have no need to hunt or forage because the sun provides their food source, they are at once privileged to not need to move but are also limited by their immobility.

The same applies to people living in our system of society. It is not to say that innovation does not occur where there is privilege at all. It is that the impetus to alter one’s self or environment is greater when there is imminent threat. Observe radical social movements and their relationship to the ruling class. The fringe groups, are usually ignored until they have proven to be a legitimate threat. Comfort is quite literally an insulator from shifts in the environment, it helps us maintain homeostasis but it also dilutes our sensitivity. When this sensitivity is sufficiently diminished an artists is known to have lost their “edge”.

You will see how far disrupters are willing to push against specific points of a system that are not serving them as those that are working properly will seek to be protected. Just as hacker must bend some rules, and break others in order to develop innovative methods, a visual artist must challenge know aesthetic rules. A social institution has it’s rules and we will only seek to change or shift institutional paradigms where they are not serving us, thus social innovation can only be achieved by opposing existing systems as well.

An artist may criticize the dominant institution of the gallery structure in the art industry and academia only if it poses some sort of threat or discomfort. Few artists defy the institutions that support them whether or not they are in ideological alignment ie. biting the hand that feeds you.  This is because the artist can conform to academia, be accepted and supported, and survive. Creativity is a inherent in us all as a tool of survival. It is our our instantaneous adaptability that makes us creative and systems that are too rigid or insular reduce our need to use that adaptability so we rely more heavily on static comfortable environments and are more susceptible to shock.

The tricky part is realizing that the comfort can exist in many forms, it doesn’t have to be monetary though it certainly can be. Being surrounded by people who do not challenge your ideas limit your growth, never leaving your neighborhood keeps you from new experiences. One of the most common ways we stay comfortable is by avoiding introspection. In the same breath it must be said that too instability is detrimental too, so there is a balance that must be achieved.We must alway be looking for that edge, as going over can be destructive but standing too far from it deprives us of the view.

Privilege can be abandoned or risked, for creative pursuits but until there has been a detachment from the existing paradigm creativity will be stifled. Creativity is essentially the synthesis of all available stimuli (information) to produce a desired result, whether that be the alleviation of psychological tension (expression), or more simply, the acquisition of a food source (wealth). While we all thrive in privilege and comfort to an extent, we must maintain a level of sensitivity to our environment that can only come from living a relatively non-sheltered life.