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Cut, Save Or Create? – The Ternary Approach To Creativity

“What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past.”

– Victor Hugo

While watching the documentary “The Simulation Hypothesis” I was struck again by how our choice to either ignore or observe something or someone influences their behavior. This is known as the “observer effect”.

You know, kind of like you’re running on autopilot at work, picking your nose and then the boss comes in? You immediately sit up straight, extract your finger from your nasal cavity and look busy as hell.

Well, that’s kind of what electrons do as well. Take a look at the video below (excerpt from “What The Bleep Do We Know!?”.

What boggles the mind is that even if we delay observing the particle to the point where they almost “hit the wall”, it influences not only the outcome, it also influences what came before it.

The electron basically says: “Oh, you’re looking at me? Well, fuck the space-time continuum, I’m gonna retcon the shit outta this experiment!”

It proceeds to alter the past. Let’s just let that sink in. It doesn’t even need a souped up DeLorean to do it.

BTTF - DeLoreanWhere we’re going, we don’t need to abide by any established rules of science!

It was interesting to hear about the Bohr-Einstein debates and how they could so completely disagree on things yet still have such admiration for each other.

This got me thinking again about the post a couple of weeks back on Google’s new logo & typeface.

Especially the quote:

“The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.”

Marcel Duchamp

Now, each of us have our particular set of tastes and while it might be good for us to open our minds up to various types of views, people and experiences, what do we do with it all?

Let’s say for argument’s sake that we’re looking at the world of art. There are some who dislike contemporary art, some dislike old art while some just like art that appeals to them regardless.

We could draw a hard line and say that we only like one or the other. This is highly subjective of course, but does everything have the same value?

If we’re completely honest and aren’t just patently uninterested in art we probably do have preferences. It could be the choice of color, motive, style etc.

Piet MondrianOh, for Piet’s sake!

While we can still respect the work regardless of what genre it belongs to, it usually leads us to make one of three choices.

  1. Cut – We don’t like it, so we simply cut it out of our sphere.
  2. Save – We preserve it because we feel it brings us something of value.
  3. Create – We want to bring something new to the table.

To be fair, the vast majority of us oscillate between these three states. But far too often when we’re working on autopilot we tend to gravitate toward one of them.

If we’re cutting we might be throwing away something valueable. If we’re saving we might become hoarders. If we’re creating then we might miss out on the external world.

So, take a minute and reflect on where you feel you fit in.

Could it be a good thing that you belong to an “extreme”?

Also, now that you’re observing yourself, how is your past influencing your present? And how is your present influencing your past? Is your story slowly changing?

Let me know in the comments and hit me up on Twitter.

Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!

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