Friday, January 6, 2017

Creativity for dealing with existential dread.

Turns out creativity might be linked to the shedding of existential dread.
And a study published earlier this week in the Journal of Creative Behavior added another perk to the list: Creativity can be like an existential security blanket, helping those who possess it to get over their fears of their own mortality. The more creative you are, it seems, the less concerned you are about death.
I just think it's more about acceptance, really. If being creative is linked to self-reflection and exploration, then you're more likely to think about death and mortality, and as such, you're less shocked that it exists, and that it's coming for ya.

Some people are "level 1." This is a loose translation of something my friend S and I use a lot in conversation. "C'est premier niveau," means "it's on the first level." Contextually we'd use it to refer to someone who has a basic understanding of something. Like a movie, for example. A movie might be rich with symbolism and deep themes, but someone might watch it and think "it's just a movie about a guy buying an orange." Sometimes folks just see a guy buying an orange, and not a metaphor for life and death.

There's also the possible correlation that those who are more open to thinking about death, dying and fragility, are then drawn to art and creative mediums as a way to understand those notions, or in order to ease into the acceptance of the nature of existing.
The findings here are complicated but interesting: For people who prized creativity, having more creative accomplishments under their belts meant they were relatively chill about that whole death thing, even after they’d been forced to imagine themselves passing away.
Maybe that finding says more about the notion of "accomplishment." Those with creative pursuits might be more likely to feel as if they've expressed themselves, and left something behind. The researchers conclude something similar:
“The current findings support the notion that creative achievement may be an avenue for symbolic immortality, particularly among individuals who value creativity,” the researchers wrote.
I'd add that having an exploratory nature that asks questions and communicated through art means dealing with the big themes of sex, love, mortality and death. You can't navigate art without thinking about death. 

Well you can, if you're a level one type.

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