Our world is no longer what we have thought it to be, and a new world is struggling to be born.
Visionary Creatives are driven to bring this new world to all of us.
19th September 2015

Creating an Original Self

young-steve-jobsby John Lobell

I recall in high school English class reading an essay by Emerson and being asked by my teacher, what I thought. I said that I thought, “What am I doing in high school, I should drop out and get on with my life.” She replied, “That is not what he meant at all.” She did not tell me what Emerson did mean, and of course that was exactly what he meant.

We often think of our culture as being defined by its technological advances, and that characterization is in part correct. But why do we have those technological advances and why were they initially unique to the West? It is due to the release of individual creativity. And our first creative task? To create an original Self.

In his Letters to a Young Poet, Ranier Maria Rilke writes: Read the rest of this entry »

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12th September 2015

Do you create alone or in groups?

 

thinkerI notice that my students are today smarter, more attentive, more hard working than in the past. And also less imaginative. When I discuss this with them, it becomes apparent that many faculty do not want students to exercise their imaginations—they want them to be good little sponges and absorb what they are told. And then spout it back.

We see the effort to repress individuality and impose groupthink everywhere, beginning in kindergarten where children are assigned group projects and extending into colleges. Everywhere we are told that we need community, collaboration, cooperation, consensus, compromise. Read the rest of this entry »

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1st September 2015

A No to School

 

school-supplies-accessories-isolated-white-background-globe-notebook-stack-pencils-back-to-concept-33130205by John Lobell

Summer is over, and school is restarting. Is it ok to say no to school? Once schools held a monopoly on learning resources—libraries, labs, lectures. Today all of this is free online or open source.

In the 1940s and 50s, when boys with unkempt hair were scolded by their mothers and they said that Einstein had unkempt hair, their mothers would respond, “When you are as smart and famous as Einstein, you can keep your hair unkempt.” One can imagine similar exchanges today regarding Bill Gates and dropping out of college. But while Bill Gates famously dropped out of Harvard, he is far from alone. Read the rest of this entry »

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7th June 2015

My new book: “Visionary Creativity” is now available

VC cover001Visionary Creativity: How New Worlds are Born, is now available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle, and on Barnes & Noble. From the back of the book:

These are times of turmoil. But times of turmoil can also be times of creativity as we become aware of new possibilities in our arts, sciences, and industries, and of new directions for our lives.

Today’s challenges all have one thing in common: they call out for Visionary Creativity. We flourish in pursuit of our creativity, and it is in creativity that we find not only fulfillment for ourselves, but also the visions our world is calling for. In this profoundly engaging book you will enter the worlds of modern art, current movies and television dramas, new technologies, and cutting edge science. Read the rest of this entry »

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4th August 2014

Visionary Creativity

Persistence of Memory

Persistence of Memory

Our world is no longer what we have thought it to be, and a new world is struggling to be born

Visionary Creatives swim in the culture of their day and manifest in their work the spirit of their age. The things they create—in art, design, science, technology, business—embody that spirit.

INTRODUCTION

Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, English Romantic poet

An Urgent Call

This book is an urgent call for creativity in our Selves, our economy, our society, and in our culture. Read the rest of this entry »

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4th August 2014

Our New Creative Landscape

fractalI open my book on Visionary Creativity with:

Visionary Creatives swim in the culture of their day and manifest in their work the spirit of their age. The things they create—in art, design, science, technology, business—embody that spirit.

So, what is the “spirit” of our age; what is the nature of our culture; what is the “stage” on which we create and on which we live our lives?

Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel in each “eye” of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars in the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that there is an infinite reflecting process occurring.
~ Francis H. Cook, interpreter of Buddhism for the West

What will be the new Creativity?

What kinds of things will be created in the twenty-first century? To paraphrase Joseph Campbell, we can no more say what the Visionary Creatives of the future will bring us than we can say what tonight’s dreams will bring us, as they both come from the same realm. But we can discuss the emerging culture of the twenty-first century, the stage on which we will be living and on which our Visionary Creatives will be working. Read the rest of this entry »

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2nd August 2014

Vincent van Gogh and Doctor Who

Let’s imagine we could ask van Gogh if he would trade his life of suffering for one of feelings of contentment, satisfaction, wellbeing, pleasure; a positive emotional state. We know how Nietzsche would answer. I suspect van Gogh might answer the same way, declaring himself with William Blake:

“As I was walking among the fires of Hell,

delighted with the enjoyments of Genius;

which to Angels look like torment and insanity.”

And we can imagine van Gogh reflecting on Nietzsche’s admonition, to participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.

Doctor Who is a long running British television science fiction series about a Time Lord, Doctor Who, who travels through time in a phone booth. In an episode titled “Vincent and the Doctor,” Doctor Who and his companion, Amy, travel to Provence in the south of France in 1890 to enlist van Gogh’s aid in fighting a space monster. They form an affection for van Gogh and in an attempt to relieve him of his despair, take him to our present to see an exhibit of his work in Paris. Van Gogh is overwhelmed by the enthusiastic reception for his paintings. Read the rest of this entry »

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