Is creativity the next debacle?

Posted by Tandarin Nike Sunday, July 17, 2011 11:58 AM
I read someplace that the brain needs some boredom during the day to process thoughts and generate creativity. That sounds right. My best ideas always bubble up when I'm bored. And my period of greatest creative output was during my early living abroad when I had very few friends.

So what would happen if everyone in the world stopped being bored? You might be there already. I know I am. If I have access to my phone, or my computer, I'm never bored. If I'm watching TV, I can fast-forward through commercials.

If I'm standing in line at the store, I can check email or play Angry Birds. When I go for my daily walks, I listen to my mini player cum radio (MPCR). I wake up in the morning and walk straight to my MPCR to browse the headlines while my coffee is brewing. The last thing I do before shutting my eyes at night is browse the news again on my MPCR.

As recently as a year ago I would drive my car in silence and cook up all sorts of ideas on the go. Now I have satellite radio and can always find some auditory diversion. The only reliable place to be bored these days is in the shower.

Now let's suppose that the people who are leaders and innovators around the world are experiencing a similar lack of boredom. I think it's fair to say they are. What change would you expect to see in a world with declining boredom and therefore declining creativity?

I'll take some guesses.

For starters, you might see people acting more dogmatic than usual. If you don't have time to think for yourself, and think creatively, the easiest opinion to adopt is the default position of your political party, religion, or culture. Check.

You might see more movies that seem derivative or based on sequels. Check.

You might see more reality shows and fewer scripted shows. Check.

You might see the bestseller lists dominated by fiction "factories" where ghost writers churn out work under the brand of someone famous. Check.

You might see almost no humor books on the bestseller lists except for ones built around a celebrity. Check.

You might see the economy flatline for lack of industry-changing innovation. Check.

You might see the news headlines start to repeat, with nothing but the names changed. Check.

You might find that bloggers are spending most of their energy writing about other bloggers. Check.

You might find that people seem almost incapable of even understanding new ideas. Check.

To be fair, there might be lots of reasons why the world appears to have less creativity. Some of it is simple economics. A movie studio can make more money with a sequel than with something creative. A similar dynamic is true in every industry.

And also to be fair, sometimes things seem to be getting worse when in fact you're only noticing it more. It seems as if folks are more dogmatic than ever, but maybe that's not the case.

Still, it's worth keeping an eye on the link between our vanishing boredom and innovation. It's the sort of thing that could literally destroy the world without anyone realizing what the hell is going wrong. If it reaches critical proportions, we probably won't recognize the root cause of the problem. A lack of creativity always looks like some other problem.

Do you think the world is becoming less creative?

2 Response to "Is creativity the next debacle?"

  1. shivani Says:

    Hmmm...each time i come across some marketing gimmick that in a way is promoting consumerism and conspicuous consumption i feel creativity is not dead.
    Then all the unique ways people and celebs try to stand out...err something like Lady Gaga wearing ham all over or someone having a unique marriage ...under the sea...over the treetop in the sky that too in a gas balloon... and the likes i often wonder at the new ideas.
    Also something like a morning walker which entails no real walking but still promises great results i wonder if creativity is at a low ebb.
    It seems that creativity has taken a new turn...rabid/vulgar song and dance moves...can't miss fashion out but of course i might be dismissed as old fashioned.
    Yes and i am my best creative self too when i am utterly bored.
    So point noted...it is alarming.Has life become so interesting/hectic that people are not getting bored enough??
    And sure the shower room is not that bad for the germinating a new brilliant idea...Wasn't Archimedes in his bath tub when he came out naked running crying out Eureka!!(twice) for he came out with that principle that relates buoyancy to displacement?
    :) Gr8 to read and greater still that i had something to say this time other than just agreeing.

  2. Tandarin Nike Says:

    Thanks Shivani for going through my post and commenting. Am on a five weeks holiday in India and am presently in Mumbai after a very hectic tour of south India. Am preparing for a bag pack tour to the center of India starting day after tomorrow. Will surely keep posting whenever possible. Have not really done justice to your posts since some time, but will be back to my normal ways in three weeks time. Tkcr

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