My friend Dan at Curmudgeon recently sent me a very interesting video of a speech by Sir Ken Robinson. He is a British educator committed to reinventing education to give creativity in our schools as much weight as we now give to literacy. This makes sense. One of the underlying principles of Serene Ambition is that we need intergenerational collaboration. No one has any idea what the future will be and, therefore, we need to collaborate in new ways. Collaboration isn’t problem-solving: it is creative dialogue and coordination of action. Creativity isn’t just the province of the young—it is a possibility for everyone—and we can continue to be creative to our last days.
I don’t think that means that the young and the old are or should be creative in the same ways. Creativity is about ‘Being’ open to possibilities and willing to engage in “What if?” and “Why not?” conversations all the time. I had dinner with my son and his girlfriend recently and we spent a delightful evening speculating on how the difference in our generations’ concerns and worldviews can potentially open up ways of thinking that are beyond what either of us have today.
For example, we’re learning from quantum physics that ‘reality’ at some sub-atomic level is something like ‘pure possibility’ and that the nature of matter and energy can be different and change depending upon how one observes it. This means that we can (and some would say we do) affect reality by how we observe and how we think. The glass really is half full or half empty depending upon how we see it. Many people throughout history have pointed to the power of human consciousness—particularly collective consciousness—to change the way the world happens. If this is true, then we might say that the ultimate expression of human creativity is life itself.
I am not trying to propose some metaphysical explanation here, nor am I suggesting that reality is some dream or illusion (as some would suggest). However, I am saying that, as a practical matter, whatever the world is, it is a function of how we see it. That is to say, our actions are always consistent with the way we perceive reality. If the connection between how we see it and the way it is is true, then we can change the world by changing who we are in relationship to our world and how we observe it.
In other words, if we can stand in the possibility that the future is positive, then we see opportunities in even dire circumstances in the world. If we are standing in a defeatist, cynical or negative space, then we will only see (in the same circumstances) more evidence that there is no possibility and no hope. The choice is how we choose to interpret the world and especially how we relate to the future.
More on Monday….