Consuming Creativity

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Tyrants and those that would control us fear creativity. They can be out-imagined, out-thought, and thrown down often by means they didn’t foresee. Tyrants fear creativity.

Though tyrants may try to ape it, or own it, or redirect it, tyrants also try to hold people in their iron grip. Those they cannot deceive or bring over to their cause, they gladly terrorize. Indeed, such people revel in power anyway, and will do so until overthrown and thoroughly broken.

That terror can consume creativity.

When you are afraid, your resources rally to survive. In the terror produced by tyrants, your creative abilities easily focus on simply getting through the day. This can sap your creative powers, as you are spending so much effort surviving, you can’t imagine what is needed to overthrow a tyrant and give them the fate they deserve.

I don’t think tyrants entirely do this by design – terror is the coin of their realm. But they certainly are glad to have you so worried you can’t scheme against them.

Therefore it is the duty of a creative person to maintain that creative spark at all costs, because losing it costs all.

The simplest way is to make space for creative work – to draw, to write, to speak, to joke. To keep that area of your life where creativity is more than survival doesn’t just keep the flame of imagination going, it powers it. As long as you can see new vistas and make new songs, you can find new ways to survive the tyrant’s rein, and do your part to end it.

A creative should also remember that by keeping their creativity going, they help others. A song can soothe those terrorized by would-be rulers. A joke can lead to laughter and release, giving people a moment to see how small the tyrant is. A game can inspire and lead people to new ideas to resist and defeat a dictator. Remembering what your creativity does for others aids you.

But there is one other path – to use survival to inspire you.

Turning your creative energies to survive and prosper under a tyrant, to work towards their just reward, can be a great motivator. To dream of ways to communicate to others, to undermine evil, to free the imprisoned harnesses your creativity. It also gives you a sense of power – you have gone from surviving to finding the potential of triumph.

We should take joy in the ways we creatively battle the evils of the world.

But one should always cultivate a diversity of creativity – we should sing while we scheme against the king, the acid words of a good joke can be turned to the clever worlds of a good polemic. We should always keep that raw fire of creativity burning, not only taking pleasure in the eventual defeat of a dictator. Keeping that primal creativity keeps the infinite potential at the ready.

Besides, if one focuses only on the overthrow of a tyrant richly deserving defeat, then one may loose touch with all the creative things they can do. If you do that, you might become a tyrant yourself as you loose that vital, human, imagination.

Steven Savage