Fracturing the Creative Process
It was 2am. I was writing pages and pages about an idea that jolted me awake. It was brilliant. The next day I would dazzle the staff with my insight and creativity.
My moment came. The floor was open for new ideas. But something held me back. What if my fellow church staff members didn’t like the idea? It wasn’t quite right yet.
I decided to sit on the idea a while longer – tinker with it until it was flawless.
Fast forward, repeat, and repeat some more. A few months later, the idea was tweaked to death. The initial brilliance was gone and only a dull, overly dissected carcass remained. I gave up on it. It was a broken mess. Irreparable. I fractured my creativity.
How do we avoid fracturing creativity? How do we keep from destroying its purity?
Let’s start at the beginning.
God is Light
I love that the Bible refers to God as light. A little research on light reveals that it’s still a mystery to science – a true impossibility. No one fully grasps how it works or what it is.
Light exists in this mysterious quantum world. At times, light acts like water (waves). Other times it acts like solid matter (particles). We can’t really classify how it works. Light just is, and we get to enjoy its benefits.
Isn’t that exactly like God? We could never fully grasp Him. Sometimes He acts one way. Then He surprises us and does something completely different. We can’t classify how He works. The great I AM simply is, and we get to enjoy His benefits.
The Light Experiment
There’s an experiment in quantum physics called the Double Slit Experiment. It helps explain the mysterious, duality of light. It’s complicated, but follow me. The end is worth the journey.
In this experiment, there’s one light source. Then there’s a solid wall, say 20-feet away. Between the light source and the wall, the experimenters place another wall with two separate slits in it (imagine a cut out pause button symbol). By measuring the way light travels through those two slits and hits the wall, they can see how light works.
Now let’s put the experiment in plain English.
How Particles Work
Imagine a man firing a machine gun through one of the slits in the front wall. The bullets hitting the back wall would produce one solid band of marks on the wall that would look precisely like the slit he fired through.
The same thing would happen if he fired through both slits. You would see two identical bands corresponding with the two slits. That’s how particles work – like the bullets.
How Waves Work
Now imagine a water tank with a separating wall – with one slit. If you agitate the water on one side, the other wall show a gradient pattern from the way the waves hit the wall. If you put two slits in the separating wall and agitate the water, the other wall will have multiple gradient patterns from waves emanating from the two slits. That’s how waves work.
So here’s the experiment. Scientists shined a light through a single slit. It created a single band on the back wall, identical to the single slit in the separating wall. So they saw light functioned like particles (like the bullets).
But when scientists shined a light through two slits, they saw multiple gradient patterns on the back wall. Light acted like waves (like water).
Thus, scientists discovered the duality of light.
Imagine how baffling this was for the scientists. Light didn’t function like they thought, so they had to invent a new name for the substance – photons.
Fracturing the Experiment
Scientists wanted to figure out what was going on. They were confused. So they put a measuring device near one of the slits. They measured how light entered the slit. They measured each photon to see what was happening.
But when they performed the experiment this time, the experiment changed. The results were completely different.
Suddenly, the back wall, which should have displayed multiple gradient patterns, displayed two bands – identical to the slits in the dividing wall.
What does this mean?
It means the very observation of the experiment changed the outcome. It fractured the experiment. That’s called the Observer Effect.
It basically says we can’t observe light. The very observation of it changes it. We can’t dissect it. It doesn’t work like it should when we try to dissect it. Does that remind you of a certain deity we work for?
We can’t dissect God. We can’t put Him in a neat box.
Throughout history, we’ve gotten in trouble when we tried to dissect God or keep Him confined to our box.
Our first big blunder was shortly after Creation – when we chose to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
We were never intended to define good and evil. God intended us to look to Him. He’s the only one who can accurately dissect those two. But we wanted to do it on our own. That was when we fractured Creation. We fractured God’s perfect design by inserting ourselves in an equation we were never meant to be part of. We wanted to be the observer.
No, we can’t dissect God. But that doesn’t mean we don’t pursue Him. It doesn’t mean we don’t explore His mysteries. He invites us to discover.
Let There Be Light
When God spoke and said, “Let there be light,” He was giving us a chance for exploration. He wanted to show us what He saw. He wanted to let us in on the possibilities we couldn’t see on our own.
That’s true creative power. That’s what creativity is all about – showing others what you see. That’s really what any artist does. “Let me show you the possibilities I see” – illumination.
When God made us in His own image, we were meant to illuminate. Just as He is the light, He created us to be light. He wants us to show others what we’ve seen – a witness. We were created to show others what we’ve seen in creative ways.
What an amazing responsibility!
But what happens when we try to dissect creativity. What’s the Observer Effect here?
Do we fracture our creativity when we observe it too closely?
Artists are notorious for over-observation. We think, rethink, and second-guess ourselves. Is this really creative? Will people like this? Am I any good?
Stop! Let there be light. We don’t have to dissect it. We can just enjoy it.
What if we let ourselves create – without the over-critical observer? What if we simply showed others what we saw – illuminated the possibilities – and let it be? What if we let creativity act the way it was meant to be?