Creative Expression

I thought of this title, and I thought of some topics I would cover in this short window of a few thousand characters I have with you. And when I started to write, I realized I didn’t know where to take this. Kind of ironic. And it’s magical, this writing thing. Like any form of art. I wonder about the people who create something memorable whether it be music or movies or drawings or games (yes, don’t argue with me on this one) and I wonder what pushes them to do it, what skills do they have, how much effort do they put in, and one thought comes to my mind. I don’t know this person, yet they created something at some time that now impacts me. Was it for me or themselves?

It’s not a contradiction if it’s both. That’s fine. They won’t know me. And that’s not a bad thing. The only problem is that they won’t recognize that the value I gain from them is greater than what they gain from me. And I wonder, what drives them to create?

Creating is one of the greatest things that anyone can hope to do. I realized this when I spoke to my professor. We’re all consumers of someone else’s content, but if that’s all you’ll ever do without giving back in some way, what’s the point of consuming? He encourages his children to create, discover, explore, learn, because we are capable of much more than blind consumption. We deserve more. And he told me, his job as a parent is to become obsolete. To be there in times of need and to support and to provide until they become independent and have the tools to provide value to the world.

But this always gets to me: What’s the point if you create mediocrity? What’s the point if you create but no one sees or listens or relates to what you’ve made? And how much does your intention matter? Shouldn’t this mean that we should try to create for ourselves? Then why share? Undoubtedly, the ones who create the great things we hear, watch, read, and play must have created something mediocre too often. As they say, the master has failed more than the student has tried.

I’ll tell you a secret; I love Mathematics. It’d be easy to call the language of the universe as beautiful as art. And I wonder why I study the intricacies of Number Theory or Analysis without the intention of becoming the next Terrence Tao, who pushes forward the frontier of human knowledge. It’s one of the greatest mysteries about myself. Why do I enjoy Mathematics enough to put in dozens of hours weekly, knowing that the chance I use it in my future daily life is minimal? It’s not as calming as arranging notes. The result isn’t as accessible as a drawing. Nor as shareable as a string of letters. Yet it draws me.

And worse, I discover what many have created before me. All I do is tail tracks treaded upon with no purpose except to please the mind. So, is math an outlet for expression? Does it qualify as art? What is art? A simple definition would be something that doesn’t need context to admire. So, is discovering math valuable if it’s only for us?

When we create, we don’t create only for ourselves. What’s the point of killing your darlings if you’re only creating for yourself? Creation must be intrinsically tied to the result, and by extension, wouldn’t that mean creation is for others just as much as for us?

What drives these people who create? Is it a pure love for their artform, or is it monetary gain, or is it the desire to be heard or remembered, or all of it? Or are they like me, caught up in a meaningless pursuit with no explainable reason.