Fun Friday Links: Creativity is an Illness, Underwater Photography and Neil Gaiman

Filed Under Mindjet

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October 19, 2012

Welcome to Chelsi’s Number One Super Happy Fun Link Time, a weekly collection of cool discoveries from around the Web. Most times the goal is to get you thinking differently about communication, collaboration, culture, and life in general. Other times, LOLCAT ATTACK! Submissions are welcome, and you can send them to conspire@mindjet.com for consideration.

Balancing Skepticism and Openness

A few days ago I wrote a post about the dangers of turning too much of our attention towards innovation, noting what can happen when we leave out the other basic fundamentals of business, such as customer needs vs. wants, a strong and aligned vision, etc. (If Innovation is Your Only Card, Don’t Play It).

Maria Popova, editor over at brainpickings.org, posted an old Carl Sagan quote that complements the need for this sort of balance quite nicely. If you communicate better in famous astrophysicist quotes (I often do), check it:

“It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas. Obviously those two modes of thought are in some tension. But if you are able to exercise only one of these modes, whichever one it is, you’re in deep trouble.

If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. You never learn anything new. You become a crotchety old person convinced that nonsense is ruling the world. (There is, of course, much data to support you.) But every now and then, maybe once in a hundred cases, a new idea turns out to be on the mark, valid and wonderful. If you are too much in the habit of being skeptical about everything, you are going to miss or resent it, and either way you will be standing in the way of understanding and progress.

On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish the useful as from the worthless ones. If all ideas have equal validity then you are lost, because then, it seems to me, no ideas have any validity at all.

Some ideas are better than others. The machinery for distinguishing them is an essential tool in dealing with the world and especially in dealing with the future. And it is precisely the mix of these two modes of thought that is central to the success of science.”

Creativity: A Mental Illness

Thanks, BBC, for making me feel insane.

In this article, Michelle Roberts discusses the results of a 1+ million person study conducted by Swedish researchers at the Karolinska Institute. “Creativity is often part of a mental illness, with writers particularly susceptible.”

Underwater Photography

So neat.

By dressing people in bright clothing and then photographing them underwater, Christy Lee Rogers creates the illusion of baroque style paintings in her Reckless Unbound series. There’s no post-production manipulation (like Photoshop) involved — just in-camera, on the spot art created at night. She effectively “reshapes the boundaries between contemporary photography and painting.”

The exhibit opens this fall 2012 in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.  For additional details, visit her website at http://www.christyrogers.com

Neil Gaiman’s Commencement Speech

Regardless of what BBC says, I think being a creative is pretty great.

Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite writers in the whole entire world, confirms it for me many times over in an inspiring commencement speech given to year’s University of the Arts graduating class:

“Sometimes life is hard. Things go wrong — and in life, and in love, and in business, and in friendship, and in health, and in all the other ways in which life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I’m serious. Husband runs off with a politician? Make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art. Someone on the internet thinks what you’re doing is stupid, or evil, or it’s all been done before? Make good art.”

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