Sunday, May 30, 2010

Qui vive?

qui vive  \kee-VEEV\ noun. Meaning: alert, lookout
The phrase comes from French sentinels who would ask those approaching a castle, "Long live who?" If you answered, "Long live the King" they'd let you in. If not, they're try to shoot you through the heart. Sometimes we're like that, killing off those unlike ourselves to protect our cherished fiefdoms.

The British Society of Psychology featured an interesting study on creativity and the human mind. Apparently "both highly creative and schizophrenic individuals habitually sample a wider range of available environmental input than do less creative individuals. In the case of the schizophrenic this involuntary widening of attention tends to have a deleterious effect on performance, while, in contrast, the highly creative individual is more able to successfully process the greater input without this incurring a performance deficit."

What looks like pure craziness to a bean counter may be the flourish of a mind that is continually open, processing potential and possibilities beyond the safety of norms. Creatives let ideas drift and swirl to create art and build new structure beyond (and within) the mundane and routine. Rather than blowing up or destroying existing formations, creatives constantly flex through organizations to reconfigure, broaden, and enhance their surroundings.

I've been in meetings where anything that did not rigidly adhere to the planner's agenda was considered negative. I've also attended meetings where we went in every direction but forward. Neither is particularly productive, especially when making decisions and plotting the future. Saying, "That's not your department so stay out of it," is as useless as "Oh, why don't we save money by asking our art classes to weave new basketball nets?"

(See.. I bet few readers have thought of that. HA HA Just a random thought which wouldn't be presented in a meeting, even if it flashed through with a hundred other cost-cutting ideas.)

Creatives view all parts of a picture through a relentlessly shifting lens. Their eyes dart from corner to center to surface. "Qui vive?" they are always asking. Creative children and their parents don't need "how-to" books to make forts from blankets and toys from Tupperware. They spend long hours thinking about the shape of clouds, the possibility of empires, and the marvels of a tree's xylem and phloem transport systems. That measuring tape? It might actually be a piece of art, a lamp (left), or a ribbon. That piece of paper? A lampshade, airplane, funnel, or dustpan. We all know what it's called, but who knows what it really is... or can be? Usability and idea flow often depends on who needs what.

Unleash a creative and we may feel like we are in the room with a schizophrenic. But, reign in our equally freakish control tendencies to let God do his work through them... and they may hand us a pearl, where we only saw an oyster.

Read more:
*Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Prov 19:20 NEV

*Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. Ecclesiastes 4:9 NLT

*We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. 2 Corinthians 6:8 NLT