[box options]You’re in for a treat today… from the UK! Today’s post is a guest post by Ayd Instone. Ayd is an international speaker, philosopher and entertainer on the subject of creativity. He’s the author of a number of books and writes regularly on his blog ‘Ding!’ When you’re done reading his post, head on over to his blog. [/box]
Instant coffee. Horrible and pointless. Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to make some coffee, boil off the water and freeze dry the gunk that’s left so you can pour hot water on it and have a horrible ‘instant’ cup of coffee.
‘Convenience’ they call it. Convenience foods – so you don’t have to cook, don’t have to chew (and with most, almost don’t even need to swallow). You don’t get any flavour, nutrients or vitamins but at least you didn’t have to do any work. God forbid you’d ever have to lift a finger.
For the past sixty years or so our society has been obsessed with convenience. We invented fast foods so you don’t have to wait and savour the anticipation. You can then eat in a rush, on the move, while you’re busy doing something else.
What exactly have you got to rush off and do? Everything has been made so convenient with all the enjoyment and experienced boiled and freeze dried out of life that there’s actually nothing worth rushing off for.
Convenience is a creeping pernicious evil that destroys life and creativity. Creativity is by its very nature inconvenient. It’s about not rushing off, but stopping to ponder. It’s about being obsessed with the tiny details. It’s about taking the long way round and to do it the hard way.
Take the iPod. No seriously, take it, take it away. So, you’ve got the whole of humanity’s recorded music in your pocket, digitised (so you only have part of it) compressed (now you have even less of it) and you play it through cruddy little headphones while you’re busy doing something else.
What’s wrong with you? If you claim to love music, get a record player and some vinyl. Hold the sleeve in your hand and slide out the record. Notice that it’s precious, fragile. It has value. Look at the microgrooves on the surface of the disc. You can actually see the music, see the length of the tracks. Put the record on the spindle, setting thirty-three and a third if it’s an LP. Be careful lowering the stylus – you could cause irreparable damage to the needle and the record if you rush it. Now sit back and listen, looking at the wonderful artwork on the 12” sleeve while you do so. But only for 20 minutes, then it’s the end of side one and you’ll have to turn it over. So don’t leave the room, you’ll have to stay and listen. After all, you don’t want it playing to an empty room knowing that it and the needle are slowly wearing out with each play.
I’m not suggesting we reject technology, far from it. I am saying that it should be chosen and used appropriately to enhance experience, not remove it.
We already do it in a few areas of our lives.
We should all be sleeping on beds with foil blankets, much more efficient and sanitary than duvets. But we prefer the cosy feel of the duvet.
We should be wearing thermal jump suits. But we prefer a variety of fabrics and styles and choose what to wear to compliment the weather and our feelings.
We should get all our nutrients from a condensed pill. But we prefer taste and texture.
So our civilisation isn’t finished quite yet. There’s some hope. There’s still some signs of life.
In fact vinyl record sales are on the up, year on year over the past six years with 310,000 units last year. It’s predicted that they’ll overtake CD sales within just a few more years.
Fountain pen sales are on the up, year on year over the past six years. Retailers noticed a 10% rise during 2011.
Why? Because more and more people are realising that it’s the experience that counts. If you’re going to do something in this short life we have, do it properly, get the most out of it and enjoy it.
If you feel you want to be more creative, then start to jettison convenience and go for experience. Because your creativity IS your experiences, rewired. Take the long way to work, to the shops. Go for a walk without a destination in mind. Listen to new sounds, look at new sights, smell new smells, taste new tastes.
Get creative: choose real life.