Luca D. Majer
Coffee  Music  and Other Things  




Who is the Creative? One definition can be obtained by the I-Ching, the Chinese Book of Changes. About Ch'ien, in fact, the I-Ching tells us that


"Great indeed is the generating power of the Creative (...) How great is the Creative! He is firm and strong, moderate and just, pure, frank and spiritual."


I believe that the Creative is a person able to generate sublime ideas. He starts from a magma of disconnected elements and then, by combining these elements in a fashion which had not been thought as worthwhile until that moment, he leads them to a new born life. He acts in the sphere of meta-change, to use the term of psychologist Paul Watzlawick. 


What I just described is the “out of the box" creativity. Regrettably, at least for some people, such type of creative thought clashes with logics. Therefore when people talk about creativity usually they find it in small, "in the box” acts of creation. Because these "in the box"-acts are easier to handle. As much as for their creator than for their recipients.


Rarely have I known true Creatives. You must look hard to find them. One fitted perfectly the I-Ching definition of the Creative. For him every reality was truly double-sided: every challenge was an opportunity, and every disadvantage would appear as an advantage, as well. There are not many people that can agree on the fact that such definition is an accurate description of themselves - no excess nor shortcomings. But it did fit perfectly with him.


I listened carefully to him (I was then turning into a teenager, but still had patience for my elders) when he told me about a centrifugal system, and of his sorrows around this coffee machine he had invented (he had teamed up with a bike rider from Brescia to accomplish this task - but this is another story). Nobody believed in him, but he did manufacture it anyway. Now, fifty years later, Nestlé has rediscovered that technology - and some say it is a revolution. But they do not know, perhaps - they did not meet the Creative. 


Another one I have not known, but I believe he could truly be considered a Creative mind. I am talking about Steve Jobs. I have not met Steve, but I met Chip Lutton who worked in close contact with him when Chip was Chief IP counsel at Apple. He considered that Steve’s greatest quality was his determination. Once he had pictured the Idea, the Creative would cling to it and defend it from the attacks of anybody who wanted to reshape that idea. We owe to this enlightened stubborness of his if the iPhone has been designed and marketed without knobs and buttons. The Idea had in mind to exploit the user friendliness of an innovative touch screen with patented technologies. And so be it: thanks to the Creative.


Probably this is the biggest quality of the Creative. After birthing the idea, after trespassing the status quo, the Creative chooses to defend her/his own physical and intellectual integrity. Our society needs people determined at protecting the status quo, because just a limited part of society can handle or (better) fall prey of the destruction that any innovation generates. Only a minor part of us is wired to interiorate innovation. So on Christmas day 2013 people on the lake Como could actually enjoy an outdoor lunch. But just because in New York City freezing cold winds were blowing and it felt below zero Fahrenheit. I mean: it is just natural, if a system tends to homeostasis.


The secret of life, on the other hand, lies in the secrets of the Creative. The continuous combustion of oxygen, as we breathe; the epic, un-interrupted battle between life and death for billions of cells in our bodies. Or the trauma generated by small, daily changes that tend to cumulate and then landslide on us (or we landslide them on other people - more or less the same thing): shaped as a success or a bad story, a promotion or a sack, a disease or a memorable season, a divorce or a new born love.


Even in the world of appearances that we tend to call reality nothing stands still. As they said a few millennia ago, everything flows, and changes. These changes we owe them to the Creative that excites, solicits, thinks and weaves in the background, behind the backs of most people, ideas that tomorrow will appear pretty obvious but that yesterday nobody cared to use.


Creativity is not a job, which by definition is repetitive. It is instead a way of seeing things. The Creative faces reality with slanted looks, looking at it with what non-musician Brian Eno referred to as “Oblique strategies”. By doing so he attracts, when he is successful, many a people envy. And when failure hits, some people are glad to criticize him. But he is seldom looked at with indifference, although it is with indifference that the Creative looks at his own success. He does not look for glory, as he knows it is ephemeral: instead, he looks for stimula for his own soul.


The Creative's life is similar to a nuclear powerhouse: constantly on, generating an energy that he does not necessarily need. Because - on the day he was born - the Creative has received enough energy to light a thousand rooms.


We must praise the Creative, as he forces all of us to confront change and, by doing so, he makes us readier for tomorrow’s future: a tad more flexible and aware, as young Mohammed Ali's. 


We do not know our future, but one thing we know: it shall be a surprise. Thanks God, for that: what would be life worth, otherwise?





March 16, 2014