Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Day in the Life followup -- Recognition

Here are a few of my most favorite flickr photos, note that none of these are mine, and by clicking on each photo you will be taken to the photo in the owner’s photo stream.

Albert Einstein said, “To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play and the childlike desire for recognition.” It is interesting to note how often our most basic desires and wants are those that we had when we were little children. Children don’t assume, they don’t pre-judge, they ask a lot of questions, they love unconditionally, and sometimes in their mind the very world revolves around them. Christian religion teaches that one should become like a little child.

Einstein says that creativity is stimulated by childlike play and want for recognition. The thought is quite insightful. To be creative, one must think outside the preverbal box. Truly new and unique ideas do not come along every day. Perhaps one of the reasons that Einstein suggested that creativity was dependant first upon childlike inclination to play is that one must see things as if they were looking at them for the first time if they are to find interesting angles on a traditional something.

The second point was desire for recognition. Children yearn to be recognized, and they especially love positive feedback. However, if they can’t get it positively, negative would do as well. How many times has the common anecdote been quoted: “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” The young psyche thrives on human interaction. Even as adults, people still feel a need to be connected to something. The notion of childlike desire for recognition does however raise a question. It gives cause for one to wonder if somewhere in the forming years of youth that people are taught to not seek recognition. Is it conceivable that the idea of seeking recognition is not socially acceptable? Yet at the same time, it is a primal human desire. By learning that outwardly seeking recognition is not politically correct, is one shut off to creativity?

Perhaps not. Some of the greatest minds in the world produced their works in solitude and well beyond the reach of other human interaction, maybe by choice, maybe not. The question still remains, were they doing it because they wanted to out of pure self motivation, or was there something bigger serving as the motivating factor?

My involvement with flickr has brought some of these thoughts to a front for me. Do I take pictures because I want to have a remembrance for myself of how I saw the world at a given time, or do I take pictures because I want others to see the world the way I saw it, hoping that they will find it pleasing? Honestly, I think that it is a little bit of both. I love recognition as much as the next person. Getting comments here on this blog, seeing a photo was marked as a “favorite” by someone on flickr, or even seeing the hit counters go up does my little heart good. Maybe that is part of “feeling connected”, even if at the outset it sometimes feels a bit like the Dr. Seuss book: The Sneetches.

Creativity is a good thing. Childlike curiosity is as well, and I suppose that recognition also has its good place. I try hard to recognize the strengths in others. Maybe it is just another place where the application of the golden rule goes a long way to making the world a better place .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kate's theory is and will be:
Creativity is survival.
Photos are survival.
Survival is adaptation.
What is creativity if it is not adaptation?
Without adapting, without creating, how will you survive? How will anyone survive?
Genius is the child of necessity.
Creativity is your need.