Are We Over-Inspired?
Yesterday afternoon in Central Park, I saw two folks practicing baseball. It might have been a father and son, or player and coach, but the practice was serious and focussed all the same. After a busy day, there was a calming rhythm to watching the ball being struck, caught and thrown back. I’ve been in […]
Yesterday afternoon in Central Park, I saw two folks practicing baseball. It might have been a father and son, or player and coach, but the practice was serious and focussed all the same. After a busy day, there was a calming rhythm to watching the ball being struck, caught and thrown back.
I’ve been in New York for a week and half now. The main purpose of my visit was a creative workshop, which I’ll write about at length soon. The trip has given me the chance to meet a lot of folks who work in the art and creative world, both during the workshop and in the days since. There’s a fascinating pattern I’ve noticed in many of the conversations.
Frustrations, disappointments and areas of discontent often come up, which is understandable, since any kind of creative work is hard. But, everyone is quick to mention a podcast, video, article or something else that “inspired” them recently. Even casually overheard conversations, especially in the cafes and bars of Brooklyn’s hyper-creative Williamsburg district bore this out.
This made me wonder; are we drowning our creativity in inspiration?
I don’t especially want to take aim at the inspiration industry, partly because I’m part of it, putting pout blogposts, videos and even a book! We all need ideas, reassurance and support from time to time. Many of the best voices in the inspiration industry share stories and experiences that can be like water in the desert for folks who don’t have a solid creative community around them.
But, how much is enough? Given the amount of inspiration available to us online, it’s pretty east to fill every spare moment with another podcast, blogpost, or social media stream, all while blocking out the sounds around us with safe, carefully chosen soundtrack of our own making.
It used to be that our problem was boredom, but now maybe the problem has changed, and our undiagnosed malaise is over-inspiration?
Perhaps boredom was better, at least because boredom gave rise to daydreaming and when we daydream, anything is possible. But, by digitally blocking the possibility of boredom, have we also blocked access to our own inner creative voice?
Today I walked through the Picasso Sculpture exhibit at MOMA. It’s an overwhelming experience. The restlessness of Picasso’s soul, matched with his productivity, is astonishing. His ideas were so strong, so clear, so powerful. Where did they come from?
I don’t have an answer. But, it’s a question I want to keep asking myself, unplugged, away from the internet. Maybe I’ll walk back to this balanced rock and think about it some more, or just watch the people practicing in the park, drilling the skills they need for their next game.