What does it mean to be human? A Note on Creativity

I recently watched a music video for a song that I really like. The artists behind the song prompted other creatives with a pretty fascinating question:

What does it mean to be human?

This question is of particular interest to me for a couple reasons. I obsess over fulfillment in life. I have a near-unhealthy obsession with ensuring that I live a life of value, of fulfillment, and of decency. I probably spend so much time worrying about this that I actively prevent myself from pursuing the actual interests and activities that would provide me with fulfillment. The idea of being human is a question that has preoccupied thinkers since the dawn of time. There's a reason why so many people know the names of philosophers over the centuries.

Speaking for myself, what makes me feel most human is exercising creativity. There are many different avenues to do this. Writing, producing music, drawing, painting, filmmaking, photography are all traditionally creative pursuits. Creativity, at least in my opinion, is bigger than that though. 

I believe a better way to look at creativity is to look at it as more of a way of thinking. I never viewed myself as a creative growing up. I viewed it that you were either creative or not. I had friends that were naturally talented at drawing or at playing instruments. Since I wasn't "naturally talented," I didn't think I could do it. I thought I was "naturally" better at school, so I pursued school. I viewed it as either-or, and that people that that were good at school and art were savants, people that I could never catch up to. This type of thinking hindered me for quite some time. Strangely enough, it became a form of self-loathing.

A better phrasing would probably be that it reinforced my self-loathing. It seems dramatic to say that not believing I was creative would be a form of self-loathing, but that's why I have an issue with deeming "traditionally" creative pursuits as the only creative pursuits. For so long, I've struggled with believing my writing was a "real" form of creativity. I still struggle believing my writing is good or creative. 

I often say that a chemistry degree is more valuable for the way of thinking it teaches rather than the concrete material you learn. While I wish I had studied other topics in school and pursued other hobbies, I believe that my chemistry degree has provided me with a way of looking at the world in a specific way. Since breaking out of the mindset that my future was already decided and giving myself the chance to believe I can be creative, I have expanded what I believe I am capable of doing. 

I had a conversation with a friend yesterday about writing. He asked me how I got into writing. To me, writing is definitely a weird creative endeavor. With writing, you're doing it all the time. You're writing when you talk with others, even though it's a different form of communication. You're writing when you text or use social media. I am so deeply in love with writing because I believe, at its core, writing is the study of humans and humanity. I love life and humans so dearly, so it only makes sense that my preferred method of creating would be writing.

His question was a fair one. If I was talking with somebody who made music, I would ask how they got into it. I can't remember when I fell in love with writing. I don't really remember loving writing in school, and I don't recall a teacher ever seeking me out and telling me that my writing stood out to them. I started writing as a form of catharsis. It all started as a way for me to put my emotions to words, for myself. It has expanded over the years. 

Something I've learned about myself is how badly I want to help others find what I've found through writing: the intense joy I get, the flow state of mind, the ephemeral feeling that nothing else matters and the future is mine for the taking. I want others to feel that too. 

I believe that what it means to be human is to create. What differentiates humans from other animals is our collective culture. Culture is the product of all humans undertaking this gift of life with one another. Humans can be deviant creatures capable of devastating wars, but we're also capable of creating beautiful music, breathtaking art, or curing diseases. The act of creating is, in and of itself, simultaneously the act of being human and of transcending our humanity. I believe any and all people are capable of being creatives. It's certainly true that some people are naturally better at creating; some people are better at drawing because they inherently understand light and perspective better, some people are better at science because they inherently understand mathematics better. 

I encourage you to take some time to try something you've always wanted to try but never had the confidence to try. Sometimes we have to overcome our barriers to become who we want to be. If you need a supporter or a friend, reach out to me. I'd be happy to provide support. 

The other day, I took the leap and created a Facebook page for my blog. I was very hesitant to because I worried it would be perceived as arrogant. I hoped it wouldn't be and people would understand the fact that I have to market myself if I want to continue expanding my platform. In a couple of days, the page received over 100 likes. That response is the most concrete example I have that people believe in me as a writer. I was so overwhelmed with that and overcome with hope. It has made me excited for the future for the first time in a long time. I also submitted my first writing pitch ever to a site I really like. This week has helped take the sting out of losing my sister a bit. 

If I can help support anybody to find that love and passion, I'd be thrilled. If you're interested in talking, please feel free to reach out to me in any way and I'm here.