5 May 2008

Creative Boundaries

8.45 on a fast local to CST, huddled among the hoards of women in the tiny 1st class compartment, some clad in corporate attire, while others were middle- aged women dressed in floral, block-printed salwar kameez, listening to Malishka on 93.5 Red FM, and hanging onto the bars for their dear life-squashed and suffocated.

I, who generally dashes for a seat, to sit down and read a few lines from a book, chose to stand near the door, for a change. There was a thought running in my head.
“ What is this life if full of care, we have NO TIME TO STOP AND STARE! "

What is this life if full of care
We have no time to stand and stare?
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep, or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this, if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

- William Henry Davies 1871 - 1940

And as I stood, looking outside, wide –eyed (I have big eyes), I was thinking of some creative concepts for an on-going project at work. I playfully asked myself, and then, since I found it amusing, challenged myself to take the ‘ULTIMATE TEST OF CREATIVITY’.

I said to myself... God (or nature, or whoever) is so creative. He created air, water, wind, fire, intestines, hearts, grass, giraffes, aliens (if they exist), planets, mud, sharks, moods, trees, attitudes, sunflowers, elements, grains, cotton, tea, light, sound, senses, dust, dawn, moon, genes, DNA, love, youth, old age, life, death, oceans, pythons, frogs, lizards, asteroids, fish, sea horses, amphibians, reptiles, carnivores, herbivores, water melons, strawberries, weed, plankton, wood, mushrooms, etc out of nothing!! What an example of complete originality and creativity that WORKS!!
Let me try and invent something completely new...something that does not exist in this world at all!
Something that is made on the basis of nothing!!

I tried to test my imagination for a few weeks, staring away at anything and everything, that could trigger off my imagination. After a few attempts, I realized something …and what made me smile was the fact that to come up with something entirely new, I would have to create it out of something that already exists.

For eg. I tried to create a new element, like silver, or bronze,...but I would have to combine two existing elements to create a brand new one, and give it some properties, and elements already exist in nature. It would not be entirely new.

Another try: What about a new four - legged animal that flies when wild animals chase it? But four- legged creatures already exist in nature. So what I would create would not be 100 % original.

Here’s another go! How about creating a fruit which you need to eat only when you are born, and you don’t need to eat for the rest of your life (that would solve the hunger problem as well). Again, fruits or grain are abundant in nature. They are already created by somebody.

How about creating the scariest insect ever -which shrieks when it sees a human!! But insects, as a species exist.

Few more attempts later, I realized, that I was unable to create a brand new species- one because I was unable to give it non -existing, new characteristics or properties, and two- I was struggling to describe what does not exist .

What I feel is that even though our knowledge is so vast, it is limited. Yes! We can certainly create something from something -
like technology, or gadgets, or something materialistic, but it is nowhere close to this world that was created from nothing at all. Much as we advance in the field of science- we are far, far away from being the Being!
There lies around us, an invisible creative boundary which restricts us to being humans!

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