Creativity is a Worldmaking Practice

Two girls holding hands under a tree

There is no (clear) separation between seeing, sensing, thinking & doing. We make sense of our shared reality in ongoing cycles of meaningful engagement where doing, sensing & thinking are functionally integrated.

We can take this integration further: the doing-sensing-thinking is located across a strong coupling of body & environment. We do-sense-think as a body-environment system.

Our bodies couple with an environment that together give rise to an emergent set of regular possibilities which are irreducible to any component pre-existing the cyclical integration.

Thinking does not happen exclusively “in the head” – it is the outcome of a body-environment system in action.

But, we cannot stop here. We are encultured bodies – shaped, & tuned by the primarily implicit habits, practices, & logics of a culture. Our muscles, patterns of response, what & how we pay attention are primarily implicitly cyclically enacted as what we take for granted to be our “unshaped” selves. & this emergent self emerges in & of an environment that is equally constructed in ways to enact an implicit embodied way of being. Body & environment are mutually co-constructing.

What we know emerges from cycles of collaborative enactive engagement as a body-environment that affords us a landscape of encultured opportunities for action – we are in & of a specific cultural landscape of affordances.

Affordances – what we perceive & directly engage with as our environment (& what is in reality a relation between environmental aspects & embodied abilities) are never “neutral” – just “stuff” that we later add meaning to. Our environment, prior to our doing, sensing & thinking, is always already specifically meaningful in specifically how it affords opportunities for action. & this “cultural” meaning is not something extra – some “belief” added to the “real” meaning of a rock for example. If, as Animists know, a rock is a human person, then that is what the rock is, & what it affords.

A question to ask is, "what does this or that way of being-of-a-world afford? What new (creative) modes of being, doing, thinking are now possible?"

In contrast, if we begin, with an act of division that will claim to parse the “real” from the merely “believed” – from superstition – we lose sight of how all forms of knowing are grounded in activity, these activities are of a body-environment couplings, in which all perception is of affordances, & the landscape of affordances spanning from things to concepts is a shaped enacted cultural landscape.

Creativity is worldmaking – from deworlding to worldmaintaining to reworlding. And in this it is always an ontological project (even when it does not consider itself in this manner).

on What Is Innovation, and How to Innovate

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