Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Emotions, Motivational Intensity and Confidence in the Creator.

I want to draw your attention to the assertions made in this Harvard Business Review Article:

The fact the author is pointing to emotions as causal is indicative of just how little pro forma understanding of the creative process actually exists.  

It's not emotions, they are useful, but not the cause of better or more creativity.  An understanding of the process itself is really the tool to use here, but for my clients, I just tell them - it's confidence. 

Emotions are relative in a few ways that I can tell for creators of all the creator types in the creative process. 

Emotion in creators are indicative of one, an early stage of a creative faculty maturation, two, a minority type of creator among the pantheon of creator types or three, the particular type of creative output being processed artistically by the creator at the time. 

The type of creator I speak of are your more emotionally responsive type of creator, and they can be quite fragile or powerful emotionally, or both.  This is proven by way of the powerful emotions expressed in their works of artistry - irrespective of discipline type.  

A example of this type of creator would be Sylvia Plath.  Frankly, another example on the alpha side of an emotional type of creator would be Earnest Hemingway.  However, anyone who has written poetry or produced another type of work with deep emotions in force at the time of creation are using the creative faculty to cope with or express through the feelings they are having, which words don't always provide description for. 

Their actions in life right up to the end of their life define them as such because the incredibly emotional act (sane, borderline sane, or insane per unique individual personality type) ending their lives substantiates the emotional creator type by behavioral choice - what they ended up choosing to do in response to what they were feeling.

Guernica by Picasso is an example of an emotional act of creation, yet Picasso was not always an emotional creator in terms of output type.  His range of creative representation was wide, not always limited to emotionalism.  Indeed, cubism by definition is the lack of perspective, and that should be a clue to us about the mirror like quality of perspective - or not!  Let's not have a watered down view of cubism like multiple perspectives for those creators who don't do the intellectual legwork necessary for understanding this school of artistic representation.  

That would be like writing a manuscript of the most disengaging topic possible with masterful technical manuscript mechanics execution.  The kinds of stuff we read often online, or tortuously hear on populist "public" media.    

The Death of Socrates could be an example of the emotional moment so overwhelmingly present in the great images produced around this critical moment in history.  

However, some of the artists painting this scene capturing the essence of the event as faithfully as artist's usually try to do, could have been quite in another frame of mind.

The artist painting this canvas, and I specifically refer to my favorite version, by Jacques-Louis David is 1797,  was likely in this frame of mind having observed, over study in preparation for the canvas, Socrates himself was not in an emotional state when he drank the hemlock.   

Up to his moment of death Socrates was steeling his friends and peers by appealing to reason - in himself, in them and to all of us by way of the message portrayed in the creative capture of the composition itself by Jacques-Louis David.  

Not that we have learned much subsequently but the teaching example is there to garner wisdom from nonetheless.

If ever there was a stronger case for reason among man to be made according to Socrates, then reason, one master of emotionalism in humans, then what more poignant and clarifying description of such than his final mortal moment?

Examples of differentiation among creator types are logical creators like coders, who create with almost pure logic process applications with almost zero emotion involved.   I have not completely identified in all the creator types in the array, but I am on the trail because what defense of creativity could the Defender of Creativity field without such intel?

On the other side of the coin for context, a dancer may have tremendous emotional connectivity while developing new dance routines.  The artistic inspiration could vary, such as an emotional experience the dancer personally had, or someone close to them experience that affected them deeply enough to have the need to process those feeling through an artistic expression, or, the dancer could have simply had a 'what if?' or 'What's that crazy idea doing popping into my head?!? - I better jot/draw/step this down' moment.  

Yet repetition, as part of the iterative process refining the work in rehearsal eventually creates emotional objectivity because that is part of maturing itself - whether the maturation is about one thing or one's whole life in contrast.  You can of course, make a spontaneous artistic response and just one off, it is your choice as a creator.  Indeed, there may be great dances out there that were one offs because the dancer can't remember the moves no matter how hard they try.  Discipline is tough for anyone, but it does have it's benefits.  To the self and to culture at large.  More on this in the book, though.  

Eventually the performance art is so well conceived, prepared and executed it forms a pattern of neural responses to call upon with clear, present mindedness of a precise mechanical execution presented by a professional performer.  

In this way, the emotional power of the dance originally experienced by the dancer as they composed it through trial and error, iteration and revision now becomes a gift of feeling through movement, perhaps representing a great truth like Swan Lake can, or stark visions of future reality like dance created for the film Metropolis, released in 1927.   

This gift of feeling is transferred to the audience via the engagement of the faculty(s) in interpretation, and the audience member can have visceral, immediate emotional response to the presentation of the work of art.  This is why we cry at the movies sometimes, or in other types of film artwork less intended toward  evoking emotionalism have us talking intellectual possibility with our significant others while walking out of the theater. These are two examples of the transformational power of creativity itself. 

Much like a person can learn in visual, auditory and kinesthetic terms, creators come in different types, and emotion is not always the gateway as the article author suggests.  They do construct themselves an intellectual loophole to point to the key of the article which is actually motivational intensity, leaving emotional causality far behind but then, Mr. Kaufman needed a powerful, attention grabbing title to stimulate social media response, even if he ultimately didn't back up his assertion.  

The old headline intellectual bait and switch; ever an arrow in the quill of a writer not fully prepared with research to make a conclusive offering.  Not that it is easy and well he probably has mouths to feed.

So, this confidence characteristic of an individual's creative maturity, not an emotional gateway like suggested, is what not really makes us more creative.  A motivational intensity can be more easily a character based trait than having to spawn from an emotional state. That is not to say feeling strongly about something will not make you highly motivated to do something about that something.  But we're in the intellectual phase of evolutionary development aren't we?  Emotional development is a social/civilization responsibility.  Nature already did her part giving us feelings capabilities to begin with.  Actually we're in another phase of evolutionary development altogether, but my lips are sealed.

What it does do I believe, is make us more capable of working with the creative faculty process model on bigger memes with maybe or maybe not more flow states involved in the development process.  

I mean, lets be real - if you are pumping out something in a couple of hours, it can be highly creative but pumping out something that is a new meme in a domain can take you a lifetime in most cases; if you get there.  But not always.  Because we don't know as much about creativity as we'd like to think we do.  We'd rather quote hundred year old stars in one artistic discipline or another as if fame is de facto proof of creative expertise in comprehensive terms. 

That's the thing about creativity, it's not an either/or faculty as far as we can scientifically, psychiatrically or philosophically tell.  Fortunately, the neural physiology route is providing some solid clues; but would you not plus me if I told you studying brain science is making me a better fiction writer?

This creative character maturity is developed in the young or old, and is representative of the confidence one has in one's faculty in general, and confidence in the working relationship the concept capture mechanism residing in attentiveness response bordering the creative faculty with the conceptual prototype construct output area of the creative faculty itself.  

It is why master artist's boldly draw fat lines rapidly with little regard for the final output because they know the output will solidify as the concept evolves over development.  Who here hasn't written a story they were quite clear about from the get go what it was about, and in the middle of the manuscript realized they couldn't make it work or we found out there was another story this writing led us to that is a better or the more intended work to produce?  

We are flexible as artists.  

I call it trusting in your talent in my fame consulting business, because its easier to wrap a client's intellect around without confusing them or steering them in the wrong direction, like so many creativity authors do when they are about just dipping a toe in the ocean and believing they can confidently navigate to the New World that way.

This confidence is brought about by character solidity in the creator permitting giving up rational control and accepting the incongruous, unstructured and seemingly disconnected feedback the creative faculty provide to consciousness at particular levels of either creative maturity in most cases, or in creative feedback sophistication in creators with a more mature faculty. This is not the process all the time in every type of discipline.

Really, the key as far as I have been able to tell so far is twofold: one highly structured and one apparently (but not really) rather unstructured.  

But please, Mr. Kaufman, emotions leading to motivational intensity the route to being more creative? Stop nibbling around the edges of creativity in your work and challenge yourself with a Gordian knot issue in culture.

Confidence, it even has the ability to channel motivational intensity. That's solid character. Intensity? It can cause you to cut off an ear or your breath if you don't have the confidence of character to see a work through no matter what may show up in the end product.  

Confidence will see you through almost anything you can describe, even if you can't describe it yet.  Welcome to the paradoxical and simultaneously certain and oft blind to what's ahead incredibly creative mental process. 

The Lone Comic TM
Defender of Creativity and Entertainment SM

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