It seems lately that everything can be explained through brain research. Why am I focused? Why do I drink coffee? Why is my sister so witty? Why can’t my son sit still? Why can he make such beautiful music? Scientists are studying the answers to all of these questions by watching how our brains react to every circumstance we find ourselves in.
Just yesterday in the car, we listened to a podcast that explained how the brain functions when people are being highly creative. It explained that certain parts of your brain actually turn off in order for your creativity to flow. For example, the lobe of your brain that normally warns you to do things the right way, or to worry about the end results, actually takes a nap in a way. This allows the other part of your brain, the creative part, to be uninhibited.
I found this interesting. I liked knowing that there could be a way that I could be more creative. It backed up some things that I already knew about creativity. In order to be creative people take risks with their thinking. They stop worrying about what others will think. They let go of judgment. And, people who are creative, do. They make things, tinker, play around, without purpose. And in the act of doing, time after time, they become more adept. I like the idea that creativity is not a gift or talent, but a practice. It is something that we can all do.
However, I also hate knowing. I despise the thought that creativity can be explained with data, with proof, with figures, numbers, chemical equations and a colorful brain scan. I hope and wish that it could be more elusive than that. That it could exist in a world that is more mysterious, ethereal. I worry that if we can name it we can market it, create drugs that help us to obtain it, make apps that trigger one half of our brain to shut off and the other half to exercise. That we will create standards of creativity that will be measured in school. That we will publish books and the next wave of parents will compete to see whose method of parenting leads to more creativity. That we will lose the awe that surrounds creativity.
I’d rather look at a piece of artwork, read a poem, listen to an amazing song, watch someone do ballet and be astonished. I’d rather appreciate their uniqueness and their ability to think beyond, then to think to myself: Oh yah, I could do that. I just need to train my brain.