Root of Creativity…Love?

Grunt, Snort, Bash

Even before early humans used sharpened stones as tools, we’ve been creating. Simple somethings at least. Maybe not the Mona Lisa or the Taj Mahal initially, but we’ve been producing, with our own two hands, things which would not otherwise exist.

Whether it was a spear for hunting, drawings in a cave for reference, or jewelry for rituals, humans, for obvious reasons, have been basically making stuff.

The obvious reasons are clear as day. Got to eat, got to get to where food and water is, got to make shelter, got to appease a Deity.

The mysterious reasons that unknowingly eluded me was why create art? Dance? Music? Why create sports, vivid stories, or sculptures?

I’m sure many had that answer, but at the time, me along with my eager shallowness, did not. Heck, I wasn’t even asking the question.

Damn Hipsters

What a pivotal time; in my thirties and back in school again. There wasn’t a better moment to reinvent myself and decide I was a rock star again. So in my spare time I picked up my guitar and started playing and writing again. I sucked, but with practice I got a bit better, or at least good enough to not get laughed out of the local coffee shop open mic. And with my groove back, a good time was sure to be had. An even better time when I managed to make a couple bucks on the corner covering “Mainstreet” among others, and praying somebody still remembered Bob Seger.

One day on that corner, a slightly disheveled intellectual looking Hipster (that was my nick name for him) came and joined me during a break, and I’ll admit, I was a bit uneasy. I had seen him around before, but unfairly labeled him “unfriendly”. Maybe because he was always carrying around a book with a title I didn’t recognize and he was about a half foot taller than me. Of course his “know-it-all” smirk didn’t help.Yeah, I had some insecurity issues.

After some surprisingly delightful banter, I picked up my guitar to check for tuning when he hit me with a bombshell. And I’ll never forget him for it, hence why I’m writing this eight years later.

Hipster: “Do you know why you write and play songs? Ya’ know. Why you perform them for people?”

Me: “No.”

Hipster: “Because it’s your way of saying ‘Look guys! Look what I’m doing! Please Love me!” … “It’s how YOU seek love and affection from the world.”

Me: ?

Hipster: *smirk*

Me: Ohhh.

He, in a few sentences, had explained something to me that I didn’t even know I was questioning. It has honestly helped me to define what love is over the passing years. Love used to be the only four letter word that I did not understand.

Repeat the Question Please

Why, for all those years had I drawn pictures for my friends and family? Why, during my rebellious teens, did I take the time to sit down and learn to play guitar with my father? Why, do I still create things and stress about the criticism I may get from others? Why, is seeing someone pleased about what I created so damn important?

Well what about money?

Sure, money is a bit important, and an obvious need, but what about the root of it?

Fear. Everyone says that fear is the root of many human emotions. But what are we fearful of? Rejection. Not being loved. Again, leading me to feel that Love and Affection are the foundations for creativity.

Who would have thought? Not a meat head like me apparently. At least not until that day. Love could possibly be the root motivation of creativity, of performing, of writing, of all art forms. The root motivation for wanting all of those things.

Hipster: “Because it’s your way of saying ‘Look guys! Look what I’m doing! Please Love me!” … “It’s how YOU seek love and affection from the world.”

So, there are some I’m sure who think that “Love” may be too strong a word, I mean come on, a lot of the people I’ve performed and created for were total strangers. How could I possibly expect “Love” from them? Well, thank the Ancient Greek peeps for clearing this up.

To best explain this I’ve chosen two out of the four words for “Love” the Ancient Greeks used. Agape and Philia.

Agape is the type of unconditional love you would have for your child, wife, or Higher Power (God, Jesus, Allah…) etc., and in turn the type of love they would have for you.

Philia is a more common brotherly or sisterly love, which is that kind of general love you have for your fellows. Here’s a little interesting tid bit – Philia means the exact opposite of the Ancient Greek word Phobia. Many have the exact opposite of philia for spiders and clowns. Makes sense right?

So as a creator of anything, to have and seek philia (love) from your audience doesn’t seem too far fetched. In fact again, this could account not only for the feeling and rush I get from performing, but also the pleasant feelings I get from observing another artist.

Looking back even years from now, I’m sure I will still remember the lesson I learned that day. And I’m very grateful that the honest, and much wiser than me Hipster had the guts to tell it like it is. Fore if he didn’t, I don’t rightly know if I would have recognized the feelings I had for a young lady whom shortly there after I began spending time with. She is now my lovely wife, and we share a beautiful daughter together. Things have truly never been better.

The one regret I do have from that day is never getting the name of that chap. Maybe I’ll just start calling him a fine upstanding young man.

There’s a bonus lesson in this.

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, or because it has a title that you do not recognize.

Today, I find more joy in the little things, deeper empathy for my fellows, and more time for creating … thanks to an open mind, and a friendly stranger.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please comment and share!


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