It just happens, you don’t know why or how, it just does.
From nowhere you are somewhere, you’re moved. Not just physically (that’s important) but mentally (that’s even more important). You are in the same place geographically but you’re not emotionally. If an emotional GPS existed, it would’ve just mapped an orbit.
We’ve all been there – we’ve come across an old photo, we’ve seen a new piece of art, we’ve read a poem, been transfixed by a new novel or tuned in and been turned on by an extraordinary piece of music and we will never feel the same again. Or at least we will, but only when we’re privileged enough for our memory banks to release that moment once more and let us, however fleetingly, feel what we felt when the moment was at its most profound.
Something creatively special can move us, move mountains and, more importantly, move others. When something so potent is communicated, and felt so powerfully, it connects. It has the power to engage, to be remembered and to galvanise action. And, as communicators, that ultimately means job done.
Such is the power of great creativity.
The force of a logical argument will always generate understanding and engender respect but when it comes to making a difference, to changing an opinion or creating a cultural shift, you have to move people and that means going beyond understanding and getting to believing. And believing means an emotional, chemical response.
Creating a chemical reaction generates a physiological change that creates a feeling. A response that leaves the recipient in no doubt of the importance of what they’ve witnessed and ultimately makes them want to become part of it, whatever “it” might be. As Maya Angelou once said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel”.
Now, to unequivocally prove my case, I’d love to spend pounds and euros and dollars (and hours) with the greatest neuroscientists (they are people for whom my awe and admiration rates as second to none – they will be recognised as the druids of the 21st century). However, a surplus of time and money few of us have and who needs data based proof when we should just trust our feelings.
One thing I do have, though, is the essence of all that creative ideas and great chemistry come from and that is a fertile imagination. A state of recognition where all things are possible. That, and a desire to feed one’s head with an acceptance that anything can, and probably will, happen (it just may not be in the next half hour).
And who can predict the force of collective expression, after all, the chemistry starts, much like the idea itself from small, humble beginnings. But there is a process – individual interpretation, individual reaction yet, majestically, external, and at its most potent, collective celebration.
Once again, we return to the thorny issue of metrics (as highlighted in a previous blog). How much have you made them feel? And when is one person’s niggle less significant than another’s orgasm? I would argue that’s not the point. The point is that they felt something and, as a result, the buzz of the moment will be lodged as a piece of mental real estate for future reference in the brain.
And the significance of that?
Well, as the eminent psychiatrist R D Laing once put it “the inner consciousness has only one set of footprints”, how thrilling to imagine that, as a generator of ideas, your creativity and therefore your chemistry, could be an outside influence of that very personal, inner journey.
Remember, it’s not down in any map, true places never are.