Monday, July 10, 2006

It hurts outside the box

"Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything."
- George Lois

The reference is to creative thinking, not so much creative art. "Thinking outside the box" is a current way of saying the same thing.

Why is it called a "box?" Not because everyone who acts within the box thinks the same way.

The box is more like a prison, confining people through social (peer) pressure to ways of thinking, acting, doing, buying and believing that are acceptable to a limited few who hold power few others recognize.

The box is not a line drawn in sand. Sand lines may be easily erased and redrawn. Or they get washed away with time.

Thinking creatively is an act of daring, sometimes equivalent to shaking your fist in the face of a police officer. Just as the cop could have you arrested, community pressure to conform can act to confine a creative person to a social prison of ostracism or rejection.

Part of the inherent problem with creativity is that, of necessity, the creative thinker must go beyond the bounds of social acceptability in order to discover what is possible (if not previously thought of) and what is socially within the bounds of community standards. Social standards themselves are only stressed when someone steps beyond them.

Creative thinkers are seldom venerated within their lifetimes. More often they are rejected or treated as pariahs who want to upset the established applecart. Albert Einstein, though respected by many during his lifetime, was abhored by many too. In the half century since his death, he has gained the status of a demi-god of physics.

My conclusion from this? If you want to leave the world something truly worth remembering after you die, be prepared to suffer rebuke, rejection and unfair criticism while you live from those who will leave nothing worth remembering.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to find a foothold on acceptance for a cause that is greater than any of us.
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