Creative thinkers are not the rare commodities that we tend to make them out to be. If you are running a business and want the innovation, flexibility, and problem-solving power of creativity, you don’t necessarily have to hire creative people. You probably already employ them. I define a creative person as someone who has the ability to identify and deeply understand a problem, and then solve that problem by breaking the conventions of the status quo. By this definition, tortured artist or not, all of us can probably think of plenty of individuals we know who are creative.
The best teachers are usually the ones who don’t do things “by the book.” The same goes for great doctors, entrepreneurs, mail carriers, and even tax accountants. All of them are in a position to know the problem well and, when given enough leeway, can find a successful solution.
Creative people, she says, are empathetic and willing to ask for help, and to give them the space they need we may have to redefine success.
For democracy to work, the prerequisite is a culture in which the people recognizes the “other” — irrespective of how the “other” is defined in terms of ethnicity or religion or gender — as equal, and their interests and aspirations as legitimate.
This recognition of the “other” is missing in Arab culture. The “other” is merely tolerated in a subordinate status and since the “other” in the modern context is unwilling to be consigned indefinitely into an inferior position, the result is the repeated cycle of rebellion and repression in Arab history.
The recognition of otherness is the definition of Christian love according to philosopher Diogenes Allen, whose writings I studied for my doctoral project.
- in evolutionary theory. This obviously includes human beings. Evolution and science in general have had major implications regarding theology that we mostly ignore or in our worse moments deny.
- in higher criticism of the Bible. The Bible like all other books are human products (what else could they be?) and should be read as such as opposed to special revelation from a divine being.
- that all religion is a human construct. Its primary purpose has been and should be an attempt to find and evoke meaning amidst life’s contingencies as opposed to speculation regarding supernaturalism.
- that “God” functions as a symbol. The concept of “God” is a product of myth-making and “God” is no longer credible as a personal, supernatural being. For me, “God” functions as a shorthand for the Universe and sometimes for qualities and aspirations I wish to pursue or to emulate.
- that human consciousness is the result of natural selection. Human beings do not have immortal souls nor will consciousness survive death. Thus there is no afterlife. There is no heaven, no hell, and no need for salvation from one realm to another.
- that there is no “end” in human time. Earth is four billion years old. Earth was here long before human beings. Earth will spin on its axis and revolve around the sun long, long after the last human being has breathed her last. We will have to find meaning and our “eschaton” in this life.
- that Jesus may have been historical but most of the stories about him in the Bible and elsewhere are legends. But he’s cool. He serves as a human ideal and a focal point for devotion (like an ishta deva).
- that industrial civilization is in for a long descent. Peak Oil and Overshoot should be everyday terms in our lexicon. We ought to be putting our religious energies toward spiritual, emotional, and practical preparation for this reality.
If I am tempted to see myself as progressive, John reminds me how orthodox I am.