Creativity and The Divine

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Creativity & The Divine

“Is there a relationship between creativity and The Divine?” I asked a co-worker (whom I’ll call George) today. I am given to asking people around me questions I ponder to get a glimpse into what others think. This was my question of the day.

When I asked this of George, I was expecting to hear something about the spiritual nature of the creative act. That isn’t the answer he gave me.

George told me that he did see a relationship- that the two are opposed to each other. Let me explain.

In George’s view, creativity is about being open to new ideas and new ways of thinking. The Divine, in his view, is restrictive, prescribed- in short, closed.

I was caught off guard. I thought about my own views of creativity and The Divine and how it was that he could come to such different conclusions. And I wondered…

I wondered what George connects the term ‘The Divine’ to. Bad experiences in Sunday school as a child? A rigid religious system in a church he was forced to attend? I wondered what made him think of The Divine as closed and restrictive. If he thought differently, would this broaden his definition of creativity?

I wondered if his view of creativity is too closed to make room for The Divine…

 _______________________________________

Today’s 4 Minute Writer      

The Key

You have your pre-determined concept of who I am. So you lock me in a box and hide away the key. I try to speak, you cut me off. I smile at you, you turn away.

What will it take for you to put the key in the lock and let me out of the box? Maybe then you will see that I am not that different from you.

Image source

Use the comment field to suggest a topic, submit your writing on today’s 4 Minute Writer topic (The Key) or to comment.

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8 Comments

Filed under Creativity, Writing

8 responses to “Creativity and The Divine

  1. There is a difference in perception around the Divine and Religion. I believe they are very different. In my beleif the Divine inspires creativity, man made religion, perhaps not.

    • What a great way of putting it- the distinction between The Divine and man-made religion. In my mind, the tricky part is deciding what is truly The Divine versus what man/we perceive The Divine to be.
      Thanks for your willingness to comment on such a ‘charged’ topic! And why not? Don’t those make for the most interesting discussions?

      • You are so right in that they make for interesting but also dangerous discussions. However, if we are not willing to explore thoughts and ideas we are not accessing the creativity and intelligence we have been given, no matter where we perceive them to come from. We all must respect every person’s perspective, but only if they have explored and then affirmed the beliefs they have. If it is a simple matter of closed mindedness, and an unwillingness to open their minds to possibility, I won’t respect the decision. There is no such thing as right and wrong beliefs once explored. Someone once told me “If we disagree that doesn’t make either of us right or wrong – it just makes one of us unnecessary. ” I love that perspective.

      • The quote at the end of your comment does give a great way of handling disagreements, and shows a healthy dose of humility- a willingness to be the one who is unnecessary.
        I do confess that I appreciate a good controversy. It makes for good entertainment and an opportunity for growth, regardless of which party is unnecessary 🙂

  2. Wonderful post, and I love Helene’s take on things. Ted Hughes wrote a book which I found in a second hand bookshop once. Such a poetic writer. I’ve lent it to my Dad and can’t remember the title but I think it’s The Dreamfighter And Other Creation Tales. It’s a book of creation stories.

    In it, God is very much an engineer: one of my favourite creatives, with a scientific perspective on making the globe and all its occupants. If I recollect correctly, he even has a shed to work in.

    That’s how I see it. We were created to create, it’s built into our blueprints.

  3. “We were created to create…”
    Just today I was talking with someone about how creativity (creating) is core to who we are as humans. I wouldn’t have talked like that before this blog. Isn’t it amazing how our blogging obsession- I know both you and Helene can relate to that!- affects the way we look at the world? And being able to bounce ideas around in the blogosphere solidifies them all the more.

  4. Michael

    Thanks for your post Zoë; I appreciate your engagement with and attentiveness to life through your blogging. For whatever they’re worth, here’s a couple thoughts:

    – At some level I think we can define the Divine as “Other” or “not human,” or “mystery.” The creative process seems to be one of reaching out, and being receptive, in order to grasp and make seen something unseen, something beyond us. There is a sense in which the Divine cannot be fully articulated, grasped, or defined, and so the process is never-ending and as varied as the people searching.
    – At the same time, I believe the Divine is who the Divine is, and therefore not necessarily reflected in every creative search and expression. Certain creative avenues seem to be at cross purposes with a Divinity who created and sustains life. For example, there is an artist in Quebec being investigated for his works in horror cinematography (http://www.montrealgazette.com/mikeholmes/cooling+costs+improve+quality+seal+leaks+your+home/2772795/artist+faces+obscenity+charge/3679266/story.html). While his work is creative in the sense of bringing into being something that wasn’t before, the content of that creation is destructive and life-shattering.
    – Have you followed up with George to see if your guesses at his divide between Divine and creativity are accurate? I wonder what creative ways you or others around him could engage him and offer a different perception of the Divine (if he is truly committed to open mindedness).

    Wow…that was longwinded. Thanks for sticking it out.

    • Thank you for your well thought out comment. Have you considered becoming a blogger?
      Your point about The Divine “not necessarily [being] reflected in every creative search and expression” is giving me something to chew on. I feel tonight’s (Oct 21) post coming on- thanks for the inspiration.
      As for George. Poor George. I think I’ll wait a bit before getting him into another deep conversation- there’s only so much men can handle at one time.
      Did I mention I like stirring up controversy? 🙂

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