Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos; the materials must, in the first place, be afforded: it can give form to dark, shapeless substances, but cannot bring into being the substance itself.*
I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances without our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.’**
As I was reading about curiosity and curation and creativity, the word curativity came to mind. I googled it and sure enough, it’s a word that’s already been put together, most likely because of the rise of the Internet.
The Internet is probably a good description of the kind of chaos Mary Shelley points to as a context of our creativity. We’ve had to find some way of navigating everything it is in order to find the valuable amongst the non-descript.
This will be different for different people. We each are curious in different things. When we bring these different things together then we begin to imagine what we can build.
Here is movement, and in it we see something of the distinction Joseph Campbell is imagining. The question, he says, is not what is life? but am I alive?
We may hate made up words – though all words are made up – but we are moving into what may be the most enlivening and most deadening time for the human species to be be alive.
One more thing that makes things really interesting is character. Character is something that happens when we get creative and is something that shapes our future creativity:
‘Character is formed in the crucible of faithfulness and refined through the gauntlet of perseverance. Remember the shape of our character is the shape of our future.’^
I take faithfulness to be the habits and disciplines we shape to contain the talents and things our worlds contain. Character is the best container of all for being curious, curating and creating.
(*Mary Shelley, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: ‘Frankenstein’ author Mary Shelley on Creativity.)
(**From Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers’ The Power of Myth.)
(^From Erwin McManus’s Uprising.)