Terence D’Costa is a dear friend and a top-notch creative in the Himalayas.
Appl_s and _ranges. I’m not insulting your intelligence. Just making a point. Even a toddler can fill in these blanks. Our ability to recognize and derive information from patterns forms the cornerstone of human intelligence. Cognitive skills meet intelligent thought processes and together they help us arrive at conclusions. Consistent and repetitive exposure helps us get there even faster. Because this is the way we are programmed to be, we’re taught to learn no differently. Learn the alphabet before you learn how to spell before you learn how to form sentences before you learn how to compose a paragraph before you learn how to write an essay before you learn how to appreciate one.
We use knowledge to build on knowledge. Comprehension to build on comprehension. So much so, everything we know becomes basic to knowing anything we don’t. You’re alone in a forest and you hear a growl but you react differently than you would if you were in Ason when you heard one. You’re in a forest in Chitwan and you hear a growl and you can put a face to the sound instantly. But if you were anywhere in Fiji when you heard it, could you do the same? A set of givens help us assimilate and make sense of the world around us. Experience, knowledge, rules and formulae help us process data and derive an understanding from it. Yet it is this wonderful facet of our human minds that limits our ability to be creative.
Creativity stems from the ability to think out of the box. The box being the givens, our cognition of patterns in the givens and our preset responses to them. Out of the box thought is only possible when you change the way you look at the givens, when you recognize patterns you’re not programmed to see and when you respond in a way you’re not meant to respond. The bulb of creative enlightenment lights up only when you break the pattern of thinking they way you were taught to, the way one ought to, think.
Everything is connected. Everything makes sense. Anything that doesn’t, can to someone wiser. At least, that’s what we’re given to believe. If you want to be creative, smash this pattern too. Don’t auto-connect. Don’t let things make sense the way you’re programmed to allow them to. The moment you do, you’re back on square half, functioning predictably. To produce the unpredictable, connect unpredictably. Doing that transports you ‘out of the box’. Notice, you still have to connect. That’s because, unlike art which has the luxury of being ‘for art’s sake’, what you produce for advertising must have a connection to the rational givens. Disconnected thought is for schizos. You have a six pack of beer. The schizo has a six pack of beer. What keeps you out off the couch or out of the loony bin is that little plastic thingy that holds the cans together. Lose that yoke and it’s replaced with a straightjacket.
How then, do you connect differently? Loosen up. Glean what you may from the wisdom of the ancients. Detachment isn’t for sadhus alone. Moksha is when you break free from the cycle of pre-programmed thought. Bond with a Muse. Let her take your mind places your client never dreams of. Especially because Servicing won’t. Which brings me back to apples and oranges. And blanks. And those I draw here.