“In our accustomed surroundings we notice only change, not what remains constant. Only change convey’s information to a person who inhabits a dwelling; the permanent fixtures of his life are redundant”

Vilém Flusser

Vilém Flusser

Vilem Flusser wrote that in his essay “Exile and Creativity” (1984). We only truly experience moments that force us to forge new perceptions and memories. We need to consciously focus on thinking and less on reacting. Flusser also wrote:

“Habit is like a fluffy blanket. It rounds off all corners and damps all noise. It is unaesthetic because it prevents us from perceiving information such as corners or noises. Habit is felt as pleasant because it screens out perceptions and because it anesthetizes. It is comforting. Habit makes everything nice and quiet … Discovery begins as soon as the blanket is pulled away.”

“He may discover that a human being is not a tree. And that human dignity may consist precisely in not having roots. That the human being becomes human only when he hacks off the vegetable roots that tie him down.”

Acts of creativity are one important way for people to process stressful environments. People who remain fluid to change are often creative. In the same respect, habits and dependability work to inoculate creative souls. Creative thinking requires a sensitivity to problems, fluency, flexibility, originality and elaboration. It relies on a person’s capacity for divergent and convergent thinking. When confronted with enormous amounts of change, creative thinkers carry a great capacity to process and survive it. They thrive on it. On the other hand, people who are less capable of creative thinking are exposed to becoming severely ill from overwhelming challenges. A creative person is motivated by processing ideas and change for innovative acts, sometimes accepting great risk by challenging current assumptions with entirely new ways of thinking.

3 thoughts on “Vilem Flusser

  1. Bernadette Scharpen says:

    For those who are less confident in their ability to confront the unknown, creative thinking may generates fear and stress. One might think creatively but to be open to acting on a creative idea takes a certain level of self esteem! It’s my opinion self esteem is the basis for being able to generate creative ideas, make change and exerience personal growth.

    • I agree, levels of self esteem, more specifically one’s sense of self actualization, is connected to creativity. Self actualized people show a high tolerance for ambiguity and an attraction to spontaneity, which are critical to the creative process. However, countless people have groomed great artistic talents while afflicted with anxiety, sadness, anger, irritability or confusion. One theory suggests they’ve got a “special talent” form of creative thinking that transcends the need for a high sense of self worth. Regardless, if mankind as a whole only created during times of prosperity and indulgence, would we have adapted so well? Throughout our existence, periods of great innovation followed periods of great adversity. The Black Death led to a time of high spiritual creativity. American colonists routinely found their ability to meet their most basic needs threatened. Nonetheless, they created a new nation. They fought the bloody American Revolution, while continuing the Age of Enlightenment, introducing massive advances in science. After the 20th century’s world wars, our industrial and technological accomplishments exploded.

      The theory of evolution supports change during stressful environmental conditions. Similar to physiological changes, when organisms are stressed mentally, are improved cognitive abilities favorable? In 2005, researchers at the University of Chicago found genetic evidence that humans acquired their spectacular cognitive abilities through an enormous amount of mutations, driven by an intense and unprecedented natural selection process. They suggest that’s related to our progression as a more social species. Plenty of evidence shows that people who create to solve community problems produce the most meaningful outcomes — so, perhaps, our ability to act on a creative idea isn’t so much tied to our own self worth, as it is our motives. During the creative process, if we pass the stages of preparation, incubation and illumination (ah-ha!), what’s most likely to stop us from seeking verification: our self esteem or self purpose? If you had an idea that never saw light, was it framed as a personal agenda, or something that could change the world?

  2. Bernadette Scharpen says:

    Your response illustrates critical thinking and I’m moved by another way to think; again this is not something to read and put it away. It stimulates me to want to reread and think more.

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