Creative minds

I’m of the firm belief that all human beings are born being creative and innovative. It’s a survival trait, we have to be able to solve hitherto unencountered problems to grow up and we often have to make do without the help of others. As time and socialisation works on us we learn to shed or hide that creativity. We learn to conform, to do as expected. We learn that some solutions are NOT valid in this particular society. IF we are lucky we can see that this is not the case universally but we’re still encouraged to do it the way we do it here. So to speak.
This is of course also a kind of survival trait. It works to unify a certain community, to make that community walk in step. This is what the community needs, and often it benefits the citizens of that community.

Sometimes it gets too strict, though. In our present time we get told that being creative is childish and irresponsible.

I think this is one of the reasons the mainstream despise the science fiction genre. Only the other day I had a conversation were the other part said he had enjoyed SF when he was a kid but then grew out of it, then going on to tell that what had been so great with it was how it showed other perspectives, other ideas, other ways to organise society. And believe it or not but he was talking of Flash Gordon! Science fiction is, at it’s root, creative, and demands a mentality that wants to make that journey, to explore the unknown.

Contrast this with the kind of mainstream books out on the market who works to explore certain relationships or characters (mother-daughter, father-son). Those books work to establish which step to walk in, and to assure the reader that other people have felt that way and it’s only normal.

Society needs balance. Society needs both a solid ground to stand on and creativity. Society needs both kinds of literature/fiction.

But it would be so much easier if those reading confirmation lit could acknowledge that while the explorative stuff is not their cup of tea at least it’s not unworthy of a grown up mind.


2 thoughts on “Creative minds

  1. Although I rarely read mainstream literary fiction and confine myself nearly entirely to genre fiction like SF, fantasy, and horror, I think that there are important similarities between the mainstream and the fantastic. Namely, relationships and characters! Even the craziest F & SF is built on those fundamental aspects of stories. I think that one problem people may have is thinking that genre fiction is based more on ideas, objects, or technology (e.g. spaceships and magic spells, etc.), rather than the people who experience those things. On the other hand, it’s important for those of us who read fantastic fiction to keep in mind that those creative aspects are there to tell a story, and that a story is not made up of phasers and enchanted bric-a-brac.

    But that said, I think spaceships and magic spells make for much more interesting stories. Who wants to read about our mundane old world? I think it’s stinky enough without infecting my free time with it.


  2. While I agree with you I do think an ordinary piece of fiction tells about characters and their relationships as of this world while in sf &f lit these characters and relationships are used to tell about this other society – how it works and how it affects the people living in it. This extra element makes the story more interesting, from my perspective.

    Personally I’m not as interested in gadgets or spaceships as I am in other kinds of societies. Perhaps that’s why I enjoy the fiction of Cherryh, who often discusses, through her characters, what different technologies or societies do to us as sapient beings.

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