Creativity Is A Warning

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

How many times to we discuss a real world event and compare it to something in fiction? “This is just like that book,” we say or “this reminds me of that movie.” Lost in these realizations is often the fact that we were warned and we should either be thankful for it or shamed we didn’t listen enough.

Of course we should also ask how many times did fiction and art help us head off even worse things in the world? We may have sudden realizations, but might want to ask how many times the creative prevented awful things.

With these inspirations of realization, shame, and wonder we should then ask how can we use our creative abilities to head off bad things. Sure we worry about the wars and tyrants of the present, but we should also work to warn and inform and help people prevent them in the future.

Those yet to come may be quite thankful we gave them enough warnings in our creative work.

This is a massive power that creatives have. Because we connect with our works, we can warn effectively. Because we inspire, we can get people to see future threats. Because we teach others to dream, we can produce new generations of creatives to carry on undermining tyrants.

We should also keep in mind how subversive our work can be. Yes people may invoke the warnings of certain classic books and films – but those are the obvious ones. It’s the inobvious ones that the oppressors current and future miss, and the ones they may either sweat over in fear or not even know exist.

So ask yourself this, how are you going to use your creative power to not just head off the dictators and oppressors of now – but of the future? Maybe you’re busy with the fights of now, but if you can prevent the fights of the future, give it a try.

Perhaps you create a predictive work to warn of what may happen. You may prevent a problem, or help people deal with a future one.

Perhaps you create a work that develops skills or views to face the challenges of the future. They become more creative, or introduced to new ideas they will use, and so on.

Perhaps you create works that let people see the present differently and make different future choices.

And even if you can’t prepare for the future, maybe your current activities can keep oppressors off guard by making them wonder what else you might be doing that affects the future. Keep them guessing with that imagination.

Steven Savage

The Creative Rebellion Of Finding Yourself

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Creativity is a powerful force that shapes worlds and shakes tyrants. Through it we connect ideas to find new possibilities. Through it we connect with others to understand them and share with them.

But more, creativity lets you connect with yourself.

A creative act teaches you about yourself. When you create, you find more about yourself, what inspires you, and how you work. Connections appear that you never expected, from parts of yourself you weren’t aware of. When you look at a creative work, you learn about the creator – more so when the creator is yourself.

A creative act teaches you what you can do. To write a book, compose a song, or finish a video game shows your power – to yourself. That finished work is a testimony to your capabilities, capabilities you might not have known. Who can take your power when you see it embodied?

A creative act teaches you what you can be. To create, to compose, to write, to code, to draw requires you to grow. The person that starts writing a comic is not the same person who finishes it. Every paragraph, chapter, or code module is a path to growth. Your finished song or cosplay is a testimony to becoming.

If someone tries to control you maliciously, creativity reminds you of what you can do.

If someone tries to make you their idea of you, creativity reminds you of who you are and what you can be.

If someone tries to rule you and others, creativity lets you grow – and perhaps “think around” that malicious limiter.

However, there is also an obligation to this power. If you can know yourself and grow yourself, share it with others. Don’t limit yourself or allow them to be limited. To share this “creative rebellion” is to help others, and to have allies in freedom and creativity.

To share this power also protects you from becoming a ruler, a controller, a tyrant. To care that others can grow and be themselves helps protect us all.

Steven Savage

Creativity And Rebellion

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr)

A simple work of fiction with a different hero or heroine can inspire legions of people to realize they can change the world.  A few dull economic statistics, presented in a new format, can reveal powerful truths and shake a business’. An eloquent speech creates an uprising that brings down a dictator. Creativity breaks us out of traps of ruts and changes the world; Creativity is rebellion.

All creativity is rebellion.  Creativity challenges and makes things anew – it is different, if only minutely, from what is known, a rebellion against what is.  Because creativity is change from the known, that is why it has such an impact.  It’s why we are enthralled by some new thing; creativity lets you see the world differently, experience possibilities that are new, think that which you never thought.

Every creative act is a bit of rebellion – perhaps a friendly one – but a rebellion nonetheless.  The power of creativity is not just in its differences, however, but because creativity is about connection.

Creativity is connection.  Even if it shocks or is unexpected, creativity relies on known ideas for context and meaning, much as a book relies on known words, or a tale shocks as it is different than familiar ones.  Creativity is a change grounded in known reality, with other concepts and ideas as signposts and guides to its meaning.

This is why Creativity shocks and delights – it is new yet is relatable.  The newness becomes part of the familiar.

Creativity builds new connections.  The creative is the idea seen in a new light, the religion reformed, a mirror-image of an old story.  It is accessible, but because it lets one see things differently, it creates whole new ways to understand the world.  New connections between ideas, new associations among people, new feelings occur when we’re exposed to the creative.

Creativity draws people deeper into the world with what it shows us. These new connections can make a new, creative idea even more true than past truths.  Because it connects to the known, yet looks at things differently, it creates a powerful web of understanding.  Truth is based on how ideas align together, and a creative thought or work can align powerfully, moreso than old, worn-out, smaller truths.

Creativity lasts. Because it is so connected yet new, creativity creates powerful changes, and these changes echo throughout time. The most powerful creative acts start with the known, introduce the new, and provide seed and soil for even greater connections and associations.

A rebel is a truly creative person, and rightly feared as the dictator and despot never know what they may do or where they’re coming from.  For all they know, the creative person has planted seeds unseen, maybe in the heads of those that hate them and would control them.  For all they know people are thinking in new ways, ways they can’t control.

To keep creating is to keep rebelling.

– Steve