From Sarah:

Creativity is the skills, and ideas that help us survive as well as better the quality of our lives. There were many other points made in class but I have chosen to harp on this one because I relate very strongly to it. I am part of a culture and a nation that has been persecuted more time then any other nation. Annihilation has been attempted many times, against my nation. My nation has seen more history and world changes than any other nation. We are the oldest living nation. How did we survive?
After our first class I came to the conclusion that it must be because of our creativity. On the surface this seems like a contradiction that a nation that has barley changed in thousands of years is creative.
Judaism has a very deep understanding of the importance of creativity. The old testament, describes twelve sets of gifts brought as offerings by each of the twelve tribes in honor of the dedication of the Tabernacle . There are rules to learning biblical texts and one of them is that the old testament does not waste words. The description of the tribes bringing gift is written like this "Reuben gave..., Shimon gave..., etc.", rather than simply saying "Reuben, Shimon,... and Benjamin each gave...". The reason for this is because each tribe has their own personality and their own unique aspects to add to the world. They are all creative in a different way. At the same time they are all working to create a common goal, the tabernacle. They strike the balance between conforming and individuality, creativity.
This is the same balance that one must have in order to survive in the world. Societies have rules and ask of its members to conform, but at the same time the members of the society must feel appreciated for who they are and their contributions. Otherwise there will be chaos.

From Tasha

I found the class a refreshing, interesting lecture regarding the nature of human creativity. Keiko gave an overview of what this class is and isn’t. It will not be a sole focus on Art and the Artistic creative process. It will be a study on human nature, history and the creative process as it manifests in us all. I strongly agree with her insights of our current culture; the disconnect from our sensory system and diminishing value of Art (and culture). The current trend in the Art world, that ART = MONEY
Art is primarily viewed as an investment or product.

With a slide show we were walked through Western History of Art, focusing on the perspective of the people and events that were unfolding during different Eras.
I wonder about these stages in time, It seems that there were cycles of connection to the natural world, art and philosophy. Alternating with periods of controlling structure and war. This is worrisome as our current state of the world seems to be at a breaking point; corrupt government and under-planned future. And a period of unrelenting Wars. Things are starting to unravel.

I cannot help but mull over a name for this new age

The Age of Media
The Network Age
Globalization Age
Age of Design

Having submerged myself in the study of Graphic Design, I’ve found so many designers I’ve spoken with strongly state Graphic Design is not ‘Art’. But I wonder, is it Art and we are not ready to admit it? Because Graphic Design is primary commerce (client) driven we discount it, it’s not organic. Project Briefs are complex process usually a team of designers produce and fine tune the Design. But couldn’t that in itself be the byproduct of this ‘age’ the disconnect of self, commerce is what drives our society, perhaps more and more the disconnect of senses and hyper-consumerism would evolve our culture into this type of ‘Art’.

This one is from Diana.

The class “Decoding Creativity” was suggested to me, or should I say recommended, by my mentor at ESC. I have a wide variety of credits in the sciences and social sciences, but none in the arts. Not being an ‘artsy’ type person, I was never drawn to take an art class. I had no idea what this class would be about, but I knew that I needed the credits. Much to my surprise and delight, shortly after registering, I received a description of the class. It appeared the class was designed to explore the notion that creativity or the creative process was in many instances a reaction to challenges and changes that we face today. Creativity as a function of evolution! Wow! It was a new idea that I hadn’t been exposed to. I was lucky to have registered fairly early and had several weeks before the class started to think over what I thought the class would be comprised of and what I would ultimately want to do as my final presentation. I was really looking forward to the first class; looking forward to delving into my own actions and reactions regarding challenges, and how I used my own creative power to respond to those challenges.

One day I would really like to take an Art History course. To be able to understand art through the ages and how each segment, time period and style fits into the larger world. That’s something I don’t know anything about. I know that I like to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the NY, but I always feel like a spectator, like I am disconnected from each work of art because I don’t really know anything about it; I don’t have any in depth understanding. The first ‘Decoding Creativity’ class was an interesting introduction to Art History, if somewhat superficial. It seems the purpose of the first night was to illustrate how art has gone through various changes throughout history. But what caused the changes? Did change come about because of religious or political unrest? Was it because of changes in philosophy and how people view the world? Did the change in art styles come about because the artists themselves felt penned in and restricted by what was considered acceptable during their own time period? I suspect that in most instances, change came in fits and starts and was due to all of the above listed reasons. Change itself is never smooth and seamless. It is sometimes painful, but sometimes can be the answer to the questions that are consuming us at our times of greatest challenge.

I don’t consider myself talented, and consequently, I didn’t think that I ever developed the creative side of myself. But thinking over this course has shown me that creativity happens over the course of our days and our lives. It seems this course will spark much self analysis and introspection. I am already thinking through my daily routines, trying to find where I am using my creative skills. I am interested in politics, sometimes to the exclusion of all else. However, I happen to think that every thing in our lives is political; much the same way that I am now starting think that everything in our lives prompts our creativity. I like to read; in fact the only thing that I collect is books. I like books on every topic and of every kind. Fiction, non-fiction, sci-fi and sometimes even crime drama, I like it all. I am mostly interested in politics on a national level. I am very concerned with the issues that I am sure most people are concerned about. I am trying to learn as much as I can about global warming, safe food, equality, peace and sustainable living.

Because of my interest in sustainable living and food safety, I recently joined the Poughkeepsie Farm Project. I was interested in community supported agriculture in general, and the benefits to be had such as lowering green house gases, supporting our local farmers, and having access to organic safe food. I chose the PFP which is run by Vassar College because of the work they do, in addition to the farm, with local teens, and because they donate to the local food pantries. Here is where the description of ‘Decoding Creativity’ has helped me to focus on what it is I am doing in my life. I am interested in making my life and the lives of my family better, and in making the world a better place. My way of doing that was to join a farm coop. I am now working with foods that I have never been exposed to before. I am learning to cook new dishes. I have my whole family involved and they are having just as much fun learning as I am.

That to me is the most creative part of my life. I have been battling weight issues most of my life, like many people around me. I am also a nurse, so much of my interest is in health and healthy living. Joining the food coop and learning so much that is new has been very gratifying. I do have to say, however, the most gratifying part of all this is watching my grown up kids talk about the same issues that I do. It isn’t that they are just parroting, but that they are beginning to realize that there is so much that is going on in the world that they don’t know about and that they have a lot to learn. They are beginning to pick up my concerns about food safety. My daughter and I are both vegetarians now and my son and husband both are now such healthy eaters. So when I had to think about my own creativity, in the beginning I was at a loss. What on earth could I do? Now I recognize that my talents may reside in the kitchen. I think I would like to make my final presentation on food. Perhaps a paper, perhaps a cooked dish; I’m not sure, but whatever I do, I think that I have found the topic that may best illustrate how I use my own creativity to respond to the world around me.


Decoding Creativity
Class Reflections-Paper One
For the practical reflections of this class: It is rich in information! I love that it is easy to follow and note friendly. Nothing moved too fast. I very much appreciate all of the above. I feel it makes the learning experience complete.
For the soul reflections of the class: It was interesting to contemplate that the art world of each time or era reflects the spiritual or energetic wave of those times; the oppression; the movements; what was predominant in religion or spirituality. I can see the depth of what can be studied there if one was so inclined. …
I very much resonate in understanding that ours is a culture that seems to be disconnected to what is important. For the most part, it is based on past-times and distractions. There is a love and race for money and riches, but not for life’s true riches; for status (or false status), but there is no overall motivation for spiritual substance; only the superficial transparent ones that feign happiness; for they are merely shiny tokens that will so easily crumble. …Food shelter and clothing are no longer a necessity, they are a commodity. There is no respect or appreciation for what the Earth offers us. We rape her. We use her. That said, I know there are those of us who can see the transparency and who stand for something real and work to offer it to others. I feel that is the true wave or movement of our times. It is for those of us who know, to teach and to practice.
I find it interesting that the human race is being scientifically compared to bacteria because my son always said that the human race follows the patterns of a virus; and to a swarm. In his book Balance Point, Joe Jenkins compares humans to bees. He discusses an occurrence among honeybees called the ‘robbing frenzy.’ Usually bees have one door where the residents of the hive fly calmly in or out. Under normal circumstances bees will not bother each other’s hive, and will be respectful of each other’s space. They will not sabotage another hive, but if a hole happens to form in another hive by some other force, bees from other hives will swarm the hive and steel honey through the back door (the hole). Jenkins said that there is a ‘robbing frenzy’ going on in our society today, but most of us were born into it, so we cannot recognize the difference. For the bees simple duct tape will work. For us? I don’t know.
In the news this week came the final demise of Yankee Stadium; although I am not really a baseball fan, I was sad for the nostalgia; not for the destruction of the brick and mortar, but in the disregard for nostalgia on the whole; for the pursuit of bigger better faster. Baseball used to be a game; now it is a business; all just a minor a symptom of our disconnection. Unfortunately, bigger symptoms are at large. …
To offer a twist of hope to the situation- is to perhaps say “ours is a culture who is merely young and learning the error of our ways.” Maybe evolution will bring us to a point where we actually live both worlds at the same time; they spiritual world and the physical world- flitting about. …In some less obvious way, maybe we do that already.
For personal reflections: It was interesting to note that all human beings are compelled to proudly share what they have created. …So many attributes of this class bring together past classes and experiences for me. It lets me know I am in the right place at the right time. I look forward to what is to come this semester and beyond.

Session 1
I drove home from class with seeds, some new and some familiar but never germinated. I felt I could spend a week ‘day dreaming’, letting my mind take any one of a number of thoughts for the shear joy of nourishing it toward fulfillment. Now, a week later my mind filled and emptied for cycles unlimited, I return to this garden and these are some of the seeds….

I loved knowing that I was hard-wired to create! I thought my passions were something else. Not sure what exactly, but nothing as righteous as that. This “hardwiring”, this human trait is evidenced in the fact that it and we have survived throughout and to our current evolution.

Yet just recently I have had the thought that engaging in our creativity, and the ‘pleasure’ that is generated when deeply engaged with it has a great deal to do with the expression of, for lack of anything close to a better term, one’s higher purpose. The pleasure derived from engaging in creativity, I theorize, is similar to sex and orgasm. It is a biological gift that reminds us of a physiological or even spiritual oneness with what is otherwise considered “other.”

Creativity is a birthright.

It is only in reclaiming,
as a culture who sold it for a golden calf,
our creativity which,
(along with greed)
propelled us to where we are now
that we can begin to put to use
this trait toward sustaining the environment
in which we can survive

our bodies don’t lie
we can read the truth in others
and flash our shadows without trying.
Connection’s presence or absence
cannot be denied.
But words? Words are what lies are made of.
Words are what let us know nothing.

We can trust what we feel, it is truth in experience.
Can we be what we feel, be our seeing, tastes and smells?
Then, can we be responsible?

“The lack of creativity and sensory awareness causes the lack of connection to others and the planet.”
We, as a culture are suffering an addiction to sensation. Consumerism and materialism, our false gods, demand that we reach outside ourselves for pleasure and identity. It teaches that it is outside of us, that it is something we deserve to have for we are good and hard workers and oh! the new spring colors! It reminds us that we are not safe - that outside our demons, our enemies will threaten us, thus ignoring the characters that do inhabit our interior. There is nothing of value on the inside, this doctrine says. Nothing but sadness, and emptiness and a shadow that only the light of a multitude of antidepressants can push to the side.

I really enjoyed the brief history of art. Art is a reflection of the current culture. Art can be used to sell a story or to convey an idea or message dictated by the ruling party, be it courts or church. But when oppression is lifted art becomes more about life and passion and we see evidence of pleasure in the creation of art. Eventually came the beginning of the American art movement with the founding of the Hudson River School. And though Frederick Church may have been serving god by rendering the purity and perfection of landscapes, I was to understand that this was the beginning of the spectacle of art and eventually the ownership and dealing of it in America.

I was interested to find out that Modernism is defined by artists’ desire to find objectivity, to become separate from one’s personal intention and have the medium create. Followed, just as interestingly, by Post Modernism arguing that there is no way an artist can be separate, as they exist within the equation of the creation.

“We will try not to exist” evolved to “how can we possibly not exist?” Right brain, left brain. The soul and the ego. We are one, we are alone.

The summation of the class perhaps is thus:
intuition + sensory knowledge + the guiding hand of aesthetic = can we say….creativity?

Session 1

When you hear the word “creativity,” what is the first thing that comes to mind? For most, including myself, you think of someone painting a picture, knitting a sweater, weaving a basket or some other form of artful expression. But creativity is so much more than that. Creativity can be anything that involves new ideas or concepts. It comes from intuitive insight, creative thoughts and from the things in our lives that inspire us.

Although creativity is often associated with art and literature, it is also and an intricate part of innovation and invention. Creative minds bring new possibilities to businesses and industries. Creativity helps us connect with others. It stimulates our curiosity, motivates us, provides us with opportunity for choice and discovery and so much more.

The ancient Greeks believed that the muses were the source of all inspiration. What inspires you? Renaissance artists gave voice to their independence and creativity through their paintings. If you take time you really look at the art of this period, it actually speaks to you. During the period known as Impressionism (the late 1800’s) artists painted in a light, spontaneous manner through the use of new color pigments. This was in reaction to the restrictions and conversions of the dominant Academic art of the times.

The word creative comes from the Latin creates, which literally means “to have grown.” The world is our oyster, however to open the shell we must allow ourselves to release the creativity within. Open your mind, your senses, be open to the experience, allow yourself grow. This way, we can get the most out of each and every moment and find balance in our lives.

"The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself."
Alan Alda