creativity Versus Creativity, What’s the Difference?
You’ll see throughout my site that I refer to “creativity” in two different ways. At times I use the “little ‘c’ creativity” and in others, I use the “big ‘C’ Creativity”. So, what’s going on? Well, in the time-honored tradition of capitalizing words in order to give them importance, or a “name”, I have separated two different “modes” of creativity. While both modes are important, I’ll explain why I use a capital “C” to create that difference.
When someone says the word “creativity” to you, what comes to mind? Maybe artsy “stuff”, skills and talents and the like, such as being able to draw or paint or take amazing photos or making crafty things like jewelry or fabrics. Or maybe creative fictional writing, or dancing, singing or playing an instrument. Dictionary.com gives these definitions to “creativity”:
As an aside, I’m always fascinated by when looking up words in the dictionary or trying to define a word for someone else, just how difficult it is to define or describe a word without using the root word, in this case, “creative”. I mean, then what does “creative” mean?
Okay, total /facepalm there. Do we have to go look up “creating” now? Don’t worry, I won’t do that to you as you can totally go down that rabbit hole yourself (I might after this). However, I think we can see that it is a difficult concept to describe to someone else. But I think we can generally agree that #2 might be the closest to what a lot of us would use to try and define those words “creative and creativity”. Maybe. Maybe it’s just easier to say, “Doing art stuff. You know, for artists.” Because apparently only certain people can be creative and engage in creativity (more on this later).
So this brings me to my first “c”, the little one. When I use “creativity” with the “little ‘c’”, I am referring to these generally “physical forms” expressions of creativity that we can engage in. I call it the “doing” of creativity. Let’s list some of them:
- Drawing, painting
- Dancing, singing, playing an instrument
- Creative writing
- Crafts – jewelry, crochet, making cool stuff
Okay, now I’m going to start broadening the scale of those expressions, ones that might not often be included in the list of “creative things humans do”:
- Spiritual practices
We could, of course, add many more to these very brief lists. But these are a sketch of the various ways we engage the “doing” of creativity, the ways we engage that (as our dictionary tells us) “ability to transcend traditional ideas… and to create meaningful new ideas… and interpretations” (sure, okay, I’m cherry picking a little here, but you get my point). This ability of imaginative interpretation is a pretty amazing human gift. And curse. And we have some odd ideas about it. I’ll get to this later. But first, WHY do we engage in creativity? Who cares?
Well, that’s the “big ‘C’” of Creativity. If “creativity” is the “doing”, then “Creativity” is the “Being” …with a capital “B”. We don’t just engage our imaginations and create amazing things out of those internal worlds just because they are pretty or because we just can; no, we create because of “Meaning” (yes, another capital). We create in order to make Portals (sorry, I just can’t help myself) for ourselves and for others through which we can access a deeper sense of Meaning, through which we can touch an internal sense of the divine (notice no capital there). Now this mode of Creativity is probably a great deal more difficult to describe than creativity because “Being” is a hell of a lot harder than “doing”. No, seriously.
I associate Creativity with Eros. Yes, the Greek word for “romantic or erotic love”. BUT… and there’s always one, isn’t there, hanging out on the backside of every concept? Freud, yes, THAT Freud, considered the concept of Eros as our “life force or even the will to live” (“Eros,” 2018). BUT he was basically taking that idea from Plato who began to understand the concept of Eros as being something other than sexual love. “As Plato expresses it, eros can help the soul to “remember” beauty in its pure form. It follows from this, for Plato, that eros can contribute to an understanding of truth” (“Eros,” 2018). To me, that’s describing the Portal into the Divine Self (or however you define such a concept). So, Creativity (big “C”) equals Eros in this sense of the term. And this is why I use a big “C” to denote the importance of this version. The “doing” versus “Being”, the engagement of some form to reach and inhabit this sense of life passion, to connect more deeply to inner worlds and to Spirit (however you define such a concept).
So, no pressure or anything.
So let’s go back to that idea that somehow “creativity” is just for the artists (or similar folks). It seems there is often a belief that creativity (the “doing”) is just for people who are able to “do” those sorts of expressions. People who can just naturally draw amazing stuff or paint beautiful things, or create wonderful crafts, or sing and dance as if they popped out of the womb doing it. And that those who can’t do these things “naturally” just aren’t “creative”. Not taking into account the people who are so amazing at these things had to work and practice their talent and skills too! But along with that belief of “Oh, I can’t draw, I’m not really creative”, comes a cutting off from the Creative. As if this experience is somehow reserved only for “some people”. And this just isn’t true. We as humans are all capable of creativity and Creativity.
In fact, it is my very solid belief that it is, as humans, our, let’s say, Sacred Duty (capitals again!) to engage our creativity and open Portals into the Creative for ourselves and for others. In other words, you got a gift, so give it. While in nature, there are species that seem to be creative, (look at these nests of the Osmia avosetta bee or the nesting displays of the bowerbird), they don’t seem to approach this with the intent of creating Meaning. Beautiful, yes, absolutely. But humans can offer that intent and Meaningfulness behind everything they do. And because each human is Unique (sort of, I’ll write more on this in another entry), they are, in my eyes, basically obligated to share that Uniqueness. I know a lot of people aren’t really into the idea of “shoulds” but I have a unique perspective on this as well, which I will also save for another entry.
So (leaving that “should” for another time), personally living in Creativity (the “Being”) is often described in very positive terms. I’ve heard the words, “calm, juicy, deep, spiritually connected, quiet space, flowing, full of opportunity, and open” (among others) attached to this experience and it often seems to be something that people aspire towards, seek (or even Seek) towards. This also is a whole other entry especially because this is getting a bit long! But suffice it to say, for now, that there is no need to Seek this space, it’s right here, right now. You just have to get out of your own way.
And I’ll talk about that more later as well!