A while back, I wrote about what I called the “Three Marks of Humanity.” In there, I mentioned Wisdom containing Creativity. However, the subject of Creativity is vast and worth delving into.
It is important to not confuse Creativity with Wisdom. The relation between Creativity and Wisdom comes from the aspect of order. Creativity uses the order seen through Wisdom and plays with it. It makes use of the imagination to create worlds and ideas. Possession of the former does not necessarily mean possession of the latter, especially in various fields. Also, the portrayal of the order used in creation can also be wrong. Creativity is a tool. As a result, Creativity is not the most important aspect of humanity, even though it is perhaps one of the most important for it.
The reason for why it isn’t as important as the “three marks” I mentioned in the other essay is what it does for the individual. Growth in creativity can be helpful later in life and help progress, but it doesn’t necessarily do anything for the person’s character. The greatest artist can at the same time be evil or turn to improper methods for “inspiration.” If a wise man becomes evil, it is because he saw the truth and chose against it.
So how is Creativity important? While it might not necessarily do anything for the artist, it can do a lot for the people who see the creation. While the artist may not possess the “three marks,” he can create characters who do possess them. This is important for humanity as a whole, because it makes it possible for the public to see heroes to emulate, despite that they may not exist in reality. While there are plenty of excellent models throughout history, everyone has flaws but a fictional hero can be “perfect.” The ability to create a “perfect hero” allows people to grow in character through example.
I have seen this work in reality. Through my own experience, I know that the main reason why I was able to perform some good deed or push through some trial is because of the example of fictional characters. Sometimes it was even my own characters that inspired me. While this could serve as an example of growing the artist’s own character, it is important to realize that some creations are used to inspire evil actions as well.
It may appear that I am only discussing stories in this. However, this does apply to the rest of the arts. While an instrumental song may not inspire Wisdom, it can enforce courage or help the spirit of the listener relax. Likewise, a piece of art can help the viewer to recognize and appreciate beauty in the world. All forms of art can help lift the spirits of another and by doing so, give hope or energy to perform a task. At the same time, one must be careful because creation can likewise be used for vice.
The fact that Creativity is a tool means the audience needs to be careful. Just like works of art can be used to inspire good, it can be used for evil. Yet, even the black and white paintings are not simply good or evil. Many virtues and vices are mixed in a single work. It’s actually because of this that the liberal arts, though tedious, are important. When everything is confused, the audience needs to be able to sort it out. It is also important because sometimes the audience places evil where it did not exist in their interpretations. Creation is a great tool, but also a dangerous one.
Creation is a neutral tool that depends on the artist’s, and sometimes the audience’s, representation of the work. It may not be the greatest of human attributes, but it is to be admired, for it can inspire all of the great virtues. At the same time, we must realize that not everyone can be creative, but everyone does have the potential to be good. If we are to encourage Creativity, it is important that we encourage proper use that inspires the good of men and progress.