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Posts Tagged ‘society’

This isn’t a new video, but I watched it for the first time today despite having heard about the book it’s based on (Religion for Atheists, 2011) when it first came out.

Alain proposes that, rather than dispose of religion altogether, atheists should put aside the doctrine but keep the ritualistic, social and moral elements that make religion such a comforting and helpful tool for so many people.

He argues that we should bring back the sermon as much more effective model of communication than the dry lecture, and that we can use ritual, art and social spaces to encourage reflection on the big truths or virtues of life – love, generosity, compassion, for example. For me Alain’s talk makes a lot of sense on so many levels. He asks us not to reject thousands of years worth of social innovation simply because we don’t believe in the ideas that are being conveyed by it anymore, but to keep the infrastructure and instead infuse it with what makes most sense to us now. As he says, there is no reason why the mystery and wonderment of modern science can’t provide the same sensation as that of a “spiritual” experience, which helps us put our own lives and problems into perspective.

I would love to hear other people’s responses – are you religious? What do you think about his ideas? If you’re an atheist, do his ideas reflect your feelings… are you an atheist 2.0? If there was one positive quality in religion that you’d like to keep what would it be, and how would you use it?

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Yes, this sounds like the title of one of my course books this year (in fact I’m sure it is), but it’s also something that fascinates me, both as a creative individual and as someone who cares about the things that nourish goodness in society

A degree in creative writing was ultimately a lot of fun. It was also a lot of hard work, and incredibly fulfilling. It was cathartic, self-challenging and revelatory. The writing we did was creative, was a product of creativity, and the creative process was something that was discussed in the commentaries we submitted alongside our portfolios for assessment. The commentary that complemented a portfolio was supposed to illuminate the process of writing: where the idea came from, how it was developed, what reading was done to supplement the subject and style, what research was done, and demonstrated one’s understanding of genre, style and command of language.

The finniest thing about these dissections of my writing was that they were usually written in hindsight, rather than being the true depiction of the conscious process i went through when writing the particular poem or story. I would appropriate things that I’d been reading to say that they’d contributed to my narrative style, and justify it too. For when I looked into the heart of what I’d written, of what often came seemingly “from nowhere,” I could see the effects of authors, poems, knowledge and my own experience embedded in the work. This was obviously not coincidence, it was the product of a process of which I was not always aware.

It was in my masters degree in Creative and Media Enterprise that this “process” of creativity was explored more thoroughly in our Theories of Creativity module. Here, my eyes were opened to the theory and scientific work that has gone into explaining, or attempting to explain, creativity as a concept and process. As a “writer” (for I’m still weary of awarding myself that title) I was fascinated by the almost mechanical workings of the creative process, and yet also its effervescence, evading any concrete cross-disciplinary explanation because of the “pixi dust,” “X-factor” or whatever else people call the “eureka” moment that occurs when a creative idea is born.

My interest in the subject broadened with the management literature, societal theory and views of guest speakers on the course, and my focus has shifted from how people attempt to explain creativity (for that, in my opinion, is a discussion which will never really end) to the purpose of creativity in its social context.

Why is creativity important? It is the seed of innovation, and the reason for development, both on a technological and natural level. It is also something within the possession of every man and woman. Why is it, then, that creativity is often perceived as being something bestowed upon certain people in society? There are many myths surrounding creativity, which have given way to stereotypes and alienated some people from perceiving themselves as creative. What effects has this had on our society? How does a lack of creativity manifest itself?

I hope to pursue this topic in my course dissertation, specifically looking at social groups who are deprived of creativity, whether it be through opportunity or self-perception, and the effect of an input of creativity into their community. Is creativity something that is necessary to the well-being of everybody?

My ideas, as I am sure you can tell, need firming up, but I hope that this research will lead me somewhere interesting. I hope it will lead me closer to the essence of creativity and the importance of it in our lives, whatever exactly “it” may be!

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