Thursday, December 2, 2010

Creativity Can Come From Ignorance

Suppose I show you an object you've never seen before.  It is a rod, about two feet long, with a five-foot string tied to one end.  What would you do with it?

Maybe you would try to use it like a whip to spur on a horse.  Maybe you would use it like a fishing pole.  Maybe you would use it like a ribbon to twirl around gaily.

All of those are perfectly viable uses for it.  But as it turns out, it is the handle and string from a pulley system, used to get heavy objects off the ground in order to load them onto delivery trucks.

Since you had no idea what it was actually for, you were able to imagine uses far beyond its intended one.  Your ignorance gave you the freedom to go beyond the standard scope of an item.

It's hard to see a stethoscope and think of it as anything but a doctor's tool to hear heartbeats (and sometimes as a safe cracker's tool to hear tumblers fall). But what could it be if you had no idea what it was?

I think it is interesting,  the complete difference between the song Mad World as originally done by Tears for Fears, and the cover of it done by Gary Jules.  The words are all the same, and there is musical similarity, but the emotional tone of the two are opposite: one being cynical and the other being depressing.  How do you hear one version and think to create the other?

Well, it would certainly help if you saw the lyrics to one version, but never heard it performed.  You would have no idea what it is supposed to be, how it is supposed to sound, or the exact message it is trying to convey.  But in doing so, it frees you to take a song that is taking a jab at modern society and turn it into an anthem for the disenfranchised.

I suggest doing the same.  Throw yourself into some ignorance.  What do you know nothing about?  Now start telling me about it.  If you don't know the real answers, start BSing. Use that ignorance to be creative.

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