Saturday, July 30, 2016

New Ideas

There's nothing new under the sun.  We've heard that often enough and maybe it's true.  Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote The Big Magic and Eat, Pray, Love, contends that ideas are out there as part of the universe just trying to find a human to bring them to fruition if we would only pay attention and recognize them when they find us.  Ideas move among us, are part of us, are shared by us.  This is certainly true in any of the sciences where researchers create ideas, share them in their field where other researchers pick up their work to carry it forward with more research either proving or disproving their hypothesis and moving the knowledge forward.  Why would we think this wouldn't happen in the arts as well? Eugene Delacroix said, "What moves those of genius, what inspires their work is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough."   If that's true for geniuses then it must apply to the rest of us as well!

As Pablo Picasso explained, “I don’t have a clue. Ideas are simply starting points. I can rarely set them down as they come to my mind. As soon as I start to work, others well up in my pen. To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing… When I find myself facing a blank page, that’s always going through my head. What I capture in spite of myself interests me more than my own ideas.”   For Picasso, the key was getting started before he knew exactly what he was doing. Doing the work in spite of yourself.  Inspiration, then, comes not from the original idea — but from what happens when you allow yourself to start working without restriction or fear of “messing up.” In order to find a great idea, you have to start backwards: First start working.

I don't recall where I read this, but if you ever wanted to know what a creative person’s mind feels like, imagine a browser with 2,857 tabs open.  ALL.  THE.  TIME.