Saturday, March 26, 2011

Principles and Programme of a Creative Activist

This article is excerpted from the new free ebook Social Creativity and Revolution: by Cage Innoye. The article presents principles, attitudes, programme and strategic ideas. book link:

The creative activist thinks and acts in a very different way. These behaviors are contradiction to a legion of obsolete behaviors of no use to the 21st century. The list of dead attitudes would include:

Dogma and fixed ideas – proceeding from concepts that are inflexible, immutable and not subject to change, criticism or improvement.

Group think and uniformity – behaving in opposition to individuality and free thinking to promote unity around some “sacred” idea

Singular perception – using thought methods that deny diversity and multiple perception. Singular perception is a mode that grasps only one aspect of a complex phenomenon or creates only one solution to a problem. (another term for this attitude is “iso-think”…)

Hierarchy and command – what follows from dogma, group think and singular perception is a rigid top-down organization based upon elite control, this suppresses free thought and creativity.

Anti-diversity and anti-difference – opposing difference in ideas and differences in people. This method only sees uniformity and commonality and leads to social discrimination, suppression of subcultures and schools of thought.

Material Reality – there is a tendency for the anti-creative to anoint external reality as the “true reality” and to diminish the power of the inner realm of ideals, morals and spirit. This is done to justify a physical system which is unjust and hypocritical.

Destruction – the uncreative have a natural talent for destruction with no corresponding construction

Cold ideas – the anti-creative have their principals but they differ in nature from the ideals of the creative, these principals are “ideology” and they are devoid of human feeling.

Fixed future, inevitable future – those that oppose creativity do not have a view of an open future, the future to them is already decided, it is a matter of fate, there is nothing you can do about it, it has all been seen by the party or the great leader

And there are more of these behaviors. Also, there are a host of emotions that parallel these attitudes and perceptions above. There are fear, insecurity, hostility, sectarianism, anger, hate and more. In the heart of the anti-creative is a kind of conservative mentality that is repulsed and terrified by all difference, diversity, individuality, innovation and the new.

From the discussion in previous articles of this book, we can list briefly some traits of the Social Genio:

Diversity and difference – the creative activist sees the world and Humans in terms of difference and diversity. Further this person thinks in these terms in the analysis of all things, always looking for and appreciating the individual, particular, unique.

Social diversity – The Social Genio sees a social world of many demographics and strata and revels in the rich variety. Diversity, inclusion and equality are essential principles.

Flexibility – The Social Genio is highly flexible in methods, she or he does not believe in fixed ideas or ideas that are immutable, beyond criticism and modification. Flexibility leads to new perceptions and new solutions and more complex thinking.

Experiment – A creative person is never certain whether an idea will be successful, all is subject to experiment and testing. This is all part of the creative process. A Social Genio may not be certain that a particular idea will work but is quite certain that the process of repeated experimentation will eventually yield results.

The New – Creative people have no fear of the New. Often the new provides innovative ideas and technologies that can give a new solution to a problem. Those who stress the old are attempting to hold back change and put up a roadblock to evolution.

Schools of thought – A creative activist does not accept there is only way to look at something, in the course of social change there will arise many schools of thought on a subject. This is natural, very Human, and yields many solutions. This process is educational to all, can be very humbling and leads to individuals combining schools of thought and thus looking at the world more in terms of synthesis and diverse wholes.

Multiple solutions, Contradictory solutions – We live in a diverse world, multiple perception is a fundamental law of our realm, the Social Genio accepts this, thrives in it and relies upon it to provide a toolbox of concepts and methods and strategies. And further, the wise person will grasp that even contradictory tactics can be used at the same time on a complex problem, and this does not mean one is a hypocrite but simply that one is a practical and sophisticated thinker.

The Practical – What goes along with multiple perception and multiple solution is a higher view on strategies and problem solving. When the “practical” becomes a guide, then one is free to mix and match solutions. The goal becomes success in managing a problem rather than allegiance to any concept or paradigm.

Evolution – The world, society and individuals are in a state of constant change. Differentiation is the force of the cosmos, the power that creates difference. One form of difference is difference over time, this is change, process and evolution.  The social activist accepts that society is in state of motion, this is actually what History is. More, the creative person finds out about these forces and guides them toward humane and ethical ends, rather than letting evolution run amuck and hurt people and benefit a cruel few.

Chaos – Chaos is a natural state of creativity, for the individual and social groups. Within the individual are competing ideas and a lack of a definite plan. To some degree the creative person is lost and confused at points. In Social Creativity, chaos arises as many people and groups pursue differing ideas, experiments and solutions. But this chaos is highly productive because it yields useful creative products and closes off dead ends. More, this chaos is not a pure chaos it is organized to some extent and guided also to some extent. This is the job of a leader of social creativity – to engineer the paradox of organization and chaos so that the creative process is as productive and “efficient” as possible.

Competition – if we have a world of diverse approaches and multiple perception, then the natural relationship will be that of competition. This will drive ahead innovation and individual thinking. The difference however with old style competition is that in the new era competition there will not be one winner, for we will be open minded and flexible in our use of many of the creative products.

Transitions and continuity – A creative person is more likely to be less destructive toward old institutions and practices, she or he will discover ways to use some old elements putting them under new organizing principles. One who is not flexible will not see the possibilities in the old, and will automatically declare everything obsolete. This would leave society with no institutions, no transitions. Gaps would appear in providing some essential service or function. This kind of revolution leads to dysfunction and paralysis because the old has been liquidated but the new has not been generated to replace it.

New and Old together--The creative person stresses the New but not to the exclusion of the Old, the past and the future are united in the present. Our first consideration is the case where the new has not been created yet, so we might continue with the old practice. The second consideration is that it is unlikely that ALL old practices are wrong. A third consideration is that the new may be immediately possible but that people are not ready for it psychologically.

Ambiguity and uncertainty – When you are being creative, you are working toward a goal but often you are not clear on what the finished product will be, because there may be many surprising twists and turns to come. In this initial phase of creativity you are in a state of uncertainty. Your ideas are vague and ambiguous though you compensate with idealism and ambition. A Social Genio must have the ability to stand higher levels of ambiguity and uncertainty than the average person. If you cannot, you will jump to a quick and premature solution to hasten closure and expediency. For the creative individual it is the uncertainty itself that drives activity and determination, and feeds endurance and desire.

Certainty does not drive us toward creativity, it sits self satisfied in a serene stillness with no motivation or fire. Preconceived precision and its love of systemization and details halts the creative process because ambiguity dominates in the early phase of innovation.

Faith and confidence in creativity – Though in a state of ambiguity and uncertainty, the  experienced Genio will develop a great faith in her or his creativity. Time after time, while initially lost and confused the individual will triumph and solve a problem. With repeated success and results, an attitude and feeling begins to grow. It aids when there are setbacks and during the dark doldrums that characterizes some periods in the creative process. This emotion and knowledge is rooted in positive experience -- one aspect would be called “faith”, the other “confidence”, another “optimism”, another “hope”.

Those who have faith only in dogma cannot go the distance, they will panic at the divergence between their dogma and the world. They cannot survive not knowing, not having all answers.
But when those who have faith in their own creativity encounter difficulties they remain composed and keep working, and they ignore the hysteria that others have for History and its evolutionary development and its unknown paths.

Directness  -- This is about direct action, direct participation, direct connection, direct knowledge, direct communication, direct relationship, direct obligation, direct control -- these are all forms of directness. Directness is a highly essential technique and attitude for a creative mind. When we are removed from direct connection with the world then middle men and institutions, bureaucracies and academic theory will deny you information, control and dialogue

For Social Creativity to be effective an individual must be directly in contact with her or his realm of work, with all those people who are important in this area. For facilitators of Social Creativity, they too must be in direct contact with their work and those engaged in the work.

We cannot have relationships obstructed or made one-way, we cannot have communication filtered, delayed or censured by middlemen. The path of “indirectness” offers buffers, “representatives”, agents, go-betweens and more. If this situation develops then one loses control and knowledge. Directness stimulates dialogue, diverse opinion, true information, intimacy, fidelity and trust. And directness stimulates creativity because one cannot do creative work if you are removed from the subject of your work.

Universal application of creativity – Creativity should be applied to everything. Nothing is perfect and all can be improved and further all is in a state of evolution. Fields, disciplines, institutions, theories, practices, behaviors, economic systems, family, education, businesses, government, media, international relations, community, the environment and animals, art, psychology, medicine are all realms for creative work. Even the best institutions will need creative development. Each individual and each generation needs its creative task. Creativity is the highest f purposes.

Positive, builder, helper  -- The Social Genio is not a negative personality, she or he is constructive. The creative activist is a builder, a builder of new cultural lifestyles and new institutions, and a builder of new politics. And most of all, the social creator is a helper and does not postpone relief for suffering people at some point later when the “great revolution” occurs. The Genio tries to help people right now, for compassion and care are immediate affections that cannot be delayed and rescheduled , they demand action, active love.

Reality is plastic – the one thing that unites both matter and ideas, the physical and the mental, the abstract and the concrete, the internal and the external is that all of these dualities are Plastic. All are subject to evolution and change. All things are malleable. Creativity is the core law of the cosmos and all things. The artist is the primary personality.

Material illusion – Social Creativity looks at the world and sees physical things and systems and concludes that they are all illusions and fantasies having nothing to do with Human reality. Social Creativity declares that these entities are “external illusions”, they are false and immoral and harmful. Social Creativity returns to idealism and goes inward, it holds that the inner illusions are the true reality, the truly Human way.

The Future is art – History does not really repeat as we have been taught. Moreover, history is creative, it is evolutionary, it brings new things never seen before, and sets itself new tasks never undertaken before. We have no models to work from, where are the examples of modern direct democracy or mass creativity? These phenomena have not occurred before. The future is a work of art. So let us be artists of the Future.

Development of personal creativity – A Social Genio will try to maintain her or his personal creativity, for it is here that most of us have learned about creative technique and attitudes. And in this realm, we deal directly with creativity free of social issues and this results in sharper realizations about methods and skills.


Creativity is bound up with difference, diversity, democracy and directness, and this leads naturally to a general kind of social programme:

·         Social diversity, the multi-cultural and equality

·         Direct democracy by the people

·         A healthy mental Diverse of emotions and sub-minds created by education, psychology, media and personal philosophy or spirituality

·         An economy of diverse goals, multiple values and multiple measures

·         The creation and defense of a culture with multiple values and multiple institutions of power

·         Acceptance of a Diverse planet of many cultures, religions and races; the creation of cooperation, peace and mutual institutions by consent

·         The repair of the environment, the harmony of Human and Nature, and the love of animals

·         The creation of a media system that is fully open and democratic, that promotes dialogue, learning and synthesis of ideas.

·         The creation of Diverse Wholes in society to bring together the diversity and complexity into a unity that is flexible and free.

·         The creation of a Human being as a Diverse Whole of emotions, mindsets, perspectives, skills and needs.

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