Understanding Creativity Across Art, Science, and Religion Part II


Last time we came up with  a working definition of creativity as 1) connecting with the world and 2) affecting it in a meaningful way.   We also looked at the various ways in which we engage the world through  1) our senses 2) our thoughts (including thoughts about how we perceive ourselves) and 3) our spirit (our direct transrational connection with the world around us).    Now let’s see how these relate to the three broad categories of art, science, and religion.

Art is an expression of our individuality.   In any work of art we get a glimpse of the person who made the art as well as  the evidence of that person engaging with the world around them.   Picasso, for example, pushed paint around canvasses.   Bernini made stone flow like water.  Duchamp is best known for his thought experiments:  He placed a standard issue urinal on its side in a gallery, thereby questioning the nature of art itself.    By having an idea of what they wanted to do, and changing the exterior world around them accordingly, not only did their art express their message to others, it expressed the artists themselves, that is their own unique lens on the world, or at least a part of it.   In other words, the art (expression) was inextricably tied to the artist himself (the expresser).

Art links both the sensorial and spiritual world by creating something with a sense of beauty, virtue, or intrigue that allows another to experience the world in a fresh manner.   Science primarily engages the sensorial world, creating first an hypothesis (which is the most mental and spiritual aspect of the process) then testing that hypothesis through a carefully constructed experiment that can be repeated by others.   On the outside, science may be seen as a heady pursuit.   But at its core, it relies upon our ability to measure and test, which means that it must take place in the sensorial world.   Opposite science, but still just as important, religion is concerned with helping us get beyond our thoughts and beyond a purely sensorial experience of the world and to tie those experience to something much larger. In other words, religion is concerned with helping us to feel the ongoing interdependence of the universe that makes everything possible.   And though science stresses the objective nature of the scientific method, in reality, the experience of insight that leads to a well formed hypothesis is best described as a moment of insight, that moment of insight being best described as a religious experience.

When you put all of these together you can begin to see how all of human creativity has components of art, science, and religion in each and every undertaking.   The religious experience of insight is the spark of creativity that initiates the whole process.   Maintaining a felt sense of interdependence also leaves us open to new insights as we move along.   Science allows us to evaluate what we are doing as we go along, making sure our creative undertakings are aligned with the laws of nature.   The scientific mindset also allows us to step back and observe what we are doing objectively, which can help us to see our projects with more level headedness.   Finally, the artistic quality of creation involves the felt of the finite individual intersecting something much bigger than simply his or herself.   Something that is artfully done delights the senses, then the intellect, and points to something ineffable all at the same time.   In other words, art serves as a bridge between the objective world of science and the ineffable world of the spirit, drawing on the best of both worlds and bringing truth, virtue, and beauty that happens on all levels.

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