The Creativity Dilemma: The Dangers of Replication and Validation
I’ve been thinking about a paradox in our society. Originality is rarely rewarded and often shunned and yet our culture is said to prize creativity. The New York Times recently published research on this dilemma. But that’s the catch, new ideas are only venerated when other people believe in them, yet for them to be new, they have to come from somewhere. What happens instead is people look for ideas and words that are familiar to them. They validate what they can see in themselves, and this often stops our society from seeing something new. Validation is given to regurgitators, to repeaters, to amplifiers. It is not given to transformationalists and alchemists. So I asked myself why does this happen to us? and how can we begin to move towards a way of thinking that can move beyond repetition? I looked far back in time and far into the future for the answer, DNA and Cryptocurrency:
One of my favorite features of the validation that happens in cryptocurrency is the lack of communication between the validation of nodes. When the money is being authenticated, that is the transactions and the users, instead of each computer copying each other because an answer is popular, each node takes the information in and matches it against its own records, validators don’t affect each other. When each of us can take the time to address claims and explore ideas, we are expressing discernment. Discernment is one of the most challenging features to have in work and in life. We like to validate our peers and especially figures of authority, with psychology experiments showing how unlikely we are to act like nodes, making decisions highly based on what those around us believe to be true, and the limiting effect this can have on our own growth.
Our DNA gets copied a lot and it also gets copied incorrectly a lot. It’s very much like people in this way, if it doesn’t get copied correctly sometimes, it can have a meltdown. Too many mutations can prove to be a real problem. It’s like when we take actions. If they don’t validate our sense of self, our DNA of the mind if you will, we tend to get upset. In this way we need to move away from this construction. Just like DNA is made of nucleotides, proteins, and at the base level elements, we too are not the identity we’ve constructed in our minds. We are simply a collection of experiences, with meaning attached to them, partially by ourselves, and partially by the world, and the interplay between them.
When we can begin to separate experiences into elements and energy that exists in a second in time we can begin to remove the need for validation. Because when we validate there’s a chance that fidelity won’t always be there, that mutations will occur and spread, into this cancer of being, this need to always be doing things that validate our sense of self. What if we were free to act, to create, to ideate, without this need to tie back to the self, what could we accomplish?
There’s this magic that can exist when we move past this stage. Creativity is at everyone’s disposal. We just need to be our own validators, and not be so rigid in what we are trying to replicate.