Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Creativity Makes Us Human

Recently I've seen three very different movies whose underlying message is "creativity makes us human": Unleashed, Equilibrium, and The Shawshank Redemption.

Equilibrium is set in a future society run by a fascist government that has made all emotion illegal. In order to uphold this law, anything that evokes emotion is considered contraband. This includes all forms of individual expression such as music, art and literature. The greatest enforcer of the law becomes the savior of the resistance after encountering Mary. She questions the purpose of his existence and declares life without emotion "is just a clock... ticking".

In Unleashed a boy is raised as a dog. And not just any dog but a dog specifically trained to fight and kill. Like a dog, he does not question his owner or his purpose. He is obedient and appears to be without conscience - until he hears music. This, as well as the kindness of a stranger, awakens something in him. Suddenly he encounters his humanity and begins to desire it, especially through music and love.

My favorite example of the connection between humanity and creation is The Shawshank Redemption. The majority of this movie is set in Shawshank Prison in the 1940s. The existence of these men is brutal and base. This is sharply contrasted in several key scenes with some form of beauty: literature, opera, sculptures, financial savvy and Rita Hayworth! The narrator, Red, describes these moments as hope, being like free men, and "being the lords of all creation".

Creativity is a part of what every human is. It is a part of our nature. We are naturally creative! In these movies, it took an entire prison system and a dictator govenment. In the real world the prince of lies is our oppressor. He hates creativity above all things and seeks to destory it. One of his lies to us is that we are not creative. What a thief he is, stealing what is righfully ours.

Do you know of any other movies that express this same theme? Maybe even a novel? Let me know.


Erin said...

Pollyanna- Throughout the entire movie, Pollyanna is subconciously attempting to convince those around her that creativity and optimism are key. She meets the grumpy bed-ridden woman and brings her hundreds of cut glass prisms to hang in the windows. When she meets the scary old man in the haunted house, she befriends him. She climbs trees, she sings, she smiles, she IMAGINES. Alot of people think Pollyanna is sickeningly sweet, but I admire her approach to life: without CREATIVITY and HOPE, life is pointless.

Anne of Green Gables- Anne, that incorrigible romantic! I love her! Her mind is a constant stream of fantasy and flourish.

As an orphan (domestic slave), Anne uses her creativity to survive the hardships of being passed around like an old shoe. She rises above her circumstances through a tenacious and well-fed imagination. Reading book after book after book, re-living the stories, reenacting the plots with her friends, dramatic presentations... When she enters the home of Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, their doldrum lives become much changed. Although her "flightiness" often earns her scorn from teachers, classmates and adults, in the end her creative approach to life is what earns her the highest success. Not only in career, but in love, life and friendships. She is able to mentally place herself in someone else's shoes, to see the other side of the coin, and open herself up to the most gruff and stale personalities, because she has HOPE that there has got to be more beneath the surface. And she has the CREATIVITY to see what might be there.

The Sound of Music- Maria begins in the convent. She is the problem nun. Can't be tied down. Can't be trusted to complete a simple task in a given amount of time. Her mind wanders. She is simply not "nun material."

The spark and verve she brings to the lives of Captain von Trapp's children and his autocratic home is liberating. Maria sews clothing out of old drapes. She teaches the kids to sing and play instruments. They have puppet shows, hang upside down from trees, and yes, run and spin on Alpine mountain tops.

The story ends with Captain von Trapp professing his love for Maria and admitting to the fact that his life was nothing before she came along. Maria's exuberant embrace of life, and her creative bent to seeing things wins her happiness, husband, home and family.

rhon said...

How do you express love without creativity? I think people think creativity is only painting, singing, writing, sculpting, etc. But creativity is a language of love and humanity. Whey you pick out an outfit, you've acted creatively. Do you have a favorite color? Why? You're creative.

Kim Anderson said...

Creativity. In some ways we can't help it. We are made in the image of the Creator. The least thing is in some sense an act of creation: pouring water into a glass. Water becomes a refreshment, a tonic, an expression of kindness...

Creativity is most distinct, when it is creation-on-purpose; when we give the tangible its true voice.

rhon said...