Bill Cleveland, in the initial post of the “Wild Caught Stories” blog, wrote about the need for balance between the safe and the challenging, the material and the transcendent, tradition and modernity, opportunity and responsibility, chaos and order. I would like to explore a bit further this necessity for balance and how it relates to our moment in time.
It is my belief that creativity requires tensions
On the one hand, as creative humans we need to see the world just as it is, face it squarely, and accept it without filtering out the uncomfortable. We must accept both the beauty and the ugliness, the gentle and the violent, the wise and the stupid, the just and the terrible. We can’t move forward unless we have the courage to take it in without flinching.
On the other hand, we must imagine what is possible. As creative humans we’re compelled to create images of what the future could and should be. In my opinion, we need to nourish this desire, learn to articulate this imagined future’s attributes and qualities, and share them with others. By doing this we can create a shared understanding of what our future ought to be.
Without this ricocheting back and forth between what is and what could be our creative ability diminishes. It’s easier for us to resolve the tension by becoming realists or idealists. But when the tension is released, we lose our ability to figure out the immediate steps we need to take to move toward our ideal future. We forget about the relationship between the small acts and the big picture. In short, we get lost.