Reasons for Creativity
According to the psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, creative activities are part of our self-actualization. They are at the top of the pyramid of the needs that have to be met to secure our well being and happiness.
There are many such endeavours that fall under what we call hobbies: writing, painting, music, cooking, and photography. There’s a certain satisfaction in producing something that our minds have imagined and that reflects our perception of the world. These things are really meant for our personal satisfaction. Some people are more consumed by their art and wish to make a living from it. However, they might find that their product is not sufficiently appealing to others and as such not commercially viable.
I have met people who make things solely to please themselves, and yet they would like to have others pay them for their efforts. The thought of asking what would be of value to others never crosses their mind or else, if it does, it is dismissed as “selling out” and “commercial.” These people often apply for government grants to have their hobbies subsidized. Now I’ve done it – I’ve spoken fighting words!
Luckily, the majority of artists find ways to be independent. Many artists hone their craft to produce pieces that touch the hearts and minds of people in the general public. Others who are practical engage in commercial endeavours to earn a living. That can mean, amongst other things, producing work that is meant to please their audience rather than themselves.
Many very talented people will never have the reward of making a living from their art. Most of us are happy to steal a few hours a week to find some expression of ourselves. I think everyone has it in them to find an outside manifestation of their interests. Some people are so exhausted trying to provide for themselves and their families that they never find the time and energy to put out a creative labour of love. I wonder if the benefits of trying your hand at a hobby might just provide you with more satisfaction than something else you might have done with your time. I’m not saying you should give up washing dishes and doing housework for the pleasure of writing a song or brushing out a painting. I’m just saying maybe we should all be judicious and make sure that we find the best use of our time. Rather than watch television, play video games, or scroll through pages of meaningless social media posts, maybe we should dream up a project that would be a good expression of what is inside of us. Goodness knows I’m guilty of vegging out on Facebook, which, of course, appeals to our wish to express ourselves, but in the lowest form. Is there something that I could be doing to provide me with pleasure in a more constructive way?
Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.