I’m reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. TweetSpeak Poetry is starting a discussion series tomorrow on it. The book, now 20 years old, is about creativity, artist’s block, and how to break artist’s block, and structured over a 12-week course.
Bah! More work! Who cares?
Well, I do. This may be some of the most important work I’ve done.
Part of what’s included in the introductory material is the “three brains” we deal with in life – Logic Brain, Survivor Brain, and Artist’s Brain. How many places have I worked where Logic Brain and Survivor Brain (doing only what’s known or safe) institutionally gang up on Artist Brain to kill off even small lurches toward creativity? And how many places have I worked there that turned out to be a terrible mistake?
The answer to both questions is the same. It’s not that Artist Brain is necessarily superior to the other two; I suspect all three are needed in any organization. But when faced with an overwhelming challenge, Logic Brain and Survivor Brain rarely come up with a solution.
Those three brains may explain most of my professional career.
In 1992, email had finally reached critical mass in the organization here I was working. We proposed doing an email newsletter for employees. The people responsible for our email system predicted the end of western civilization if we published even a text-only email newsletter. The discussions went on for months, until I realized that, short of shutting down the system, no one could really stop the newsletter. We launched our newsletter, and nothing happened to the system. Western civilization survived.
Three years later, something similar happened with the organization’s first web site. Western civilization once again survived.
Organizations, even artistic organizations, aren’t by nature kind to Artist Brain. Organizations tend to take on their own dynamic, and perpetuation of the status quo can become paramount, even when the status quo is falling apart and something new is called for.
Julia Cameron (not to mention Lyla Lindquist) would be amused to see how far I’ve already moved from creativity and artist’s block, and this is just the first week. I plan on having another post on Thursday on the first lesson – “Recovering a Sense of Safety.”
Come join us at TweetSpeak Poetry.