Ideas and Musings

On Creativity, Morality and Information Overload

Recently, I was at my writer’s group and we were talking about the barrage of information given to us by the media. I’m in an Artist’s Way workshop and I had taken my “artist date” at the local Barnes and Noble. I let my inner child artist free and we wandered the aisles looking at anything I took a fancy too. I spent time in the comic book section, looking at journals and checking out all those all-in-one how-to books that teach you how to juggle or knit. I ended up over at the artist section where I looked at books of works of art and photographs. Then I saw a book with Pulitzer Prize winning photographs, and I pulled it out and opened it up and there, my little inner child artist saw images of despair and executions.

My Inner Child Artist saw these images. The one piece of myself that I needed to protect at all costs. The one who trusted me when I let her out to play in that bookstore. The one who I had already abused so much in the past and who had a hard time trusting me in the first place.

Well, my artist date was pretty much ruined. I tried to get it back by going over to the drawing section and looking at books about how to draw vampires. But my mind kept coming back to those images. I ended up crying there in that bookstore. I’m crying now as I write these words.

I realized something that day. I don’t need to see these types of images. I don’t need to know everything that is happening in this world down to the tiny detail. I already know that somewhere, some little kid is torturing a cat. I already know that somewhere, a group of people are planning on doing away with another group of people. I already know that somewhere, some father is abusing his four year old daughter because he’s convinced himself that her innocence is sexual flirtation. Oil and blood is being spilled. People are losing everything they have. We are destroying ourselves and this planet. I already know these things because they have always been there.

So I’m at my writers group and I relay all of this during our check in and one of the group tells me that it’s important to see these things. To know what’s going on in the world. To some extent, I agree with her. But we are barraged with information and images. We see almost everything there is to see in this world now. Even terrorist post live feeds of their executions. We are in information overload and most of it we can do nothing about. I personally feel extremely helpless and depressed when I pay too much attention to the media.

I’m of two minds when it comes to what is going on in our world. The part of me who sees what’s going on says that there is not enough good in human beings to make up for the bad. That we are truly a parasite and one that needs to be extinguished. If I were to pay too much attention to the media, this is where my mind would go. In my heart of hearts, I already believe this.

My other mind says that human beings have been given a great gift, the gift of creativity. For what is all of this activity in the world, good or bad, but human beings trying to create something. Whether it’s a fine piece of furniture or a utopia of blond haired blue eyed master race members? We are creative beings, created by a creative being, and we are compelled to create.

As so we come back full circle to human beings as parasites. In order to create, we must destroy. Nothing is created from nothing. Even those creations that exist only in our minds have a cost, sometimes it’s our sanity. The greater our creation, the greater our destruction. They are different sides of the same thing, that which makes us what we are.

Plants are stressed, inbred, genetically modified, and then cut in order to create beauty in our homes and workplaces or to create the perfect salad. We imprison populations to create a semblance of security. We take fat from our thighs and put it on our ass to create comfort when sitting or to create a hot looking butt. We hurt other people to create a sense of self-worth. The depressed and anxious take drug in order to create some peace. We are constantly creating.

When I think about human beings being parasites, the answer is easy. Terminate them. When I think of human beings as creative beings it becomes more of a gray area. What can be more moral than a being doing what it’s meant to do? Do we demonize a tiger for hunting the deer? We do when that same tiger hunts us. Where is the line?

Some vegetarians would draw the line between being a plant and being an animal. Animals seem to be closer to us and so it seems immoral to harm them. It’s ok to do whatever we want to plants. But just we don’t really understand the reality of a plant, it’s experience, does that make it moral to destroy them in order to create? It’s an interesting question.

I once was talking to someone about flowers. I like flowers on the bush, where they belong. The woman I was talking to said that yes, they were beautiful there but when you cut them they grow even more. You get many more flowers. I said that yes, you stress them out. They are trying so hard to propagate and when you cut them they have to work even harder. Let me ask you, just because lizards can grow their tale back, does that mean we can keep cutting their tail off? Humans can create more blood, can we keep taking it without end?

What is the line? Can morality be applied to creativity? Is destruction, in and of itself, immoral? Or are all of these questions meaningless? The human parasite has been exponentially creating at an alarming rate. We may find that our ultimate creation, will cost our ultimate destruction.