Creativity is private

In his essay on nature and creativity, The Tree, John Fowles speaks to the tendency to ascribe meaning to the world by classifying it. The belief is that we can’t know something until we can see it, describe it, name it, and determine its use—as a resource, as a species linked to or distinguished from other species. Naming captures that species in time, even if it’s in the process of evolving.

Yet nature is inherently generative and creative. We cannot exist without creation. So where does our creative impulse exist? How can we label an act as creative or not? Fowles writes:

we cannot say that the ‘green’ or creating process does not happen or has no importance just because it is largely private and beyond lucid description and rational analysis.

Creativity is a private act, defies categorization, and does not have to be seen to be believed. The act of creating is as relevant as the output, despite its perceived lack of productivity. The energy of creativity does not need to rationalized, and cannot be itemized or replicated; as Fowles writes, “Such random personal creativity is offensive to all machines.”




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