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Creative Consciousness



ARTICLE | | BY Ashok Natarajan

Author(s)

Ashok Natarajan

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Abstract

Consciousness is creative. That creativity expresses in myriad ways – as moments in time in which decades of progress can be achieved overnight, as organizational innovations of immense power for social accomplishment; as creative social values that further influence the evolution of organizations and society; as the creativity of individuality in the leader, genius, artist and inventor; as social creativity that converts raw human experience into civilization; as cultural creativity that transforms human relationships into sources of rich emotional capacity; and as value-based educational creativity that can awaken and nurture young minds to develop and discover their own inherent capacity for knowledge in freedom. Through such moments do society and humanity evolve. Education is society’s most advanced institution for conscious social evolution. Values are the essence of society’s knowledge for highest accomplishment. Education that imparts values is an evolutionary social organization that can hasten the emergence of that creative consciousness.

"Consciousness is self-aware energy.”

Moments are creative. New ideas are conceived, great works inspired, new nations founded, momentous results achieved in creative moments. Sri Aurobindo described moments of creative consciousness as virginally creative moments. At such moments, one feels vividly alive and expansively cheerful, a sure index of success, as evidenced by the lively disposition of the heroine Elizabeth in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Everyone values the creative disposition, but enjoys it only when it is active. Educating the mind eliminates the uncertainties from one’s life. Educating the Spirit lifts it out of the non-creative frame of mind into one of ever-living creative consciousness.

Consciousness is self-aware energy. When it falls into a routine it becomes very efficient. When it breaks new ground, it becomes creative. When a man acts creatively, the public takes note. When a public speaker delivers a creatively inspired speech, he can hold the audience spell-bound or send them into raptures. A moving music performance can raise the audience to great heights of inner appreciation. Even a cook who succeeds in bringing out the subtle rasa (essential taste) of food can inspire deep appreciation. A reader’s creative understanding can evoke an inspiring vision that approaches the borders of genius.

1. Organizational Creativity

Organizations also experience creative moments. Organizations are forged by centuries of social experience. They emerge from creative activities that organize social existence into creative systems. The act is the unit of life, even as thought is the unit of mental life. Act-activities-systems-organization form a progressive chain. When an organization becomes creative, it can transform the social life of a nation, as the Green Revolution rapidly transformed the national life of India by helping the nation attain self-sufficiency in food production. Based on a creative impulse of inspired individuality, it became a movement of national spiritual renaissance. One of its many consequences was to launch a revolution in rural banking that awakened India’s rural population to the attractions of urbanization.

To examine history in terms of the development and evolution of organizations will be a rewarding endeavor for sociologists, philosophers and even politicians.”

Harlan Cleveland, a past President of the Academy, was creative with ideas related to organization. He conceived the idea of uncentralized organization. The Visa International credit card system captured his imagination as a dramatic example of the creative power of organization to spread worldwide in the field of consumer finance. The birth of the Internet is a more recent, broad and powerful instance of the same organizational principle which has permeated and transformed all aspects of global society. History has evolved from the history of kings into the history of peoples, nations, cultures, ideas, etc. To examine history in terms of the development and evolution of organizations will be a rewarding endeavor for sociologists, philosophers and even politicians. Cleveland understood the International Standards Organization (ISO) as another striking example of the role of uncentralized organization in the evolution of society. Ideas are a powerful basis for organization. Green Revolution was based on the idea of achieving food self-sufficiency, a seemingly impossible goal at that time, which India actually attained within five years. ISO is based on the idea that establishment of uniform technical standards will improve efficiency and quality of products and work and facilitate trade, which it has certainly done.

2. Values are Creative

“Society grows in many ways; commitment to high values is one.”

Values are an even more powerful basis for organizations. Values are a form of subtle organization that guides understanding and decisions. Novels such as Pride and Prejudice and Trollope’s Dr. Thorne bear witness to the enormous power of values for human accomplishment. The emerging values of individual freedom and social unity, which inspired Lincoln and galvanized America to abolish slavery and found a strong federal government after the Civil War, launched the USA on an evolutionary course that enabled it to emerge as the world’s leading nation a century later. The emergence of values in society is a moment of creative organizational evolution. Society grows in many ways; commitment to high values is one. Moments in which society embraces a high value are creative moments.

3. Creativity and Social Evolution

Obstructive anachronisms in the society acquire formidable force of resistance to progress. Only the physical destruction of war is capable of destroying them. Post war periods are known for their infectious social creativity. WWI was hailed as the war to end all wars. But the social psychology of Europe at that time thrilled with the intensity that war offered as an outlet for its pugnacious energies. An Englishman commented that forty years of peace was intolerable to the national psyche. So, the first war half-consciously prepared for the second war. It was assumed that this horrendous war would mark the end of all wars. The end of the second war offered abundant opportunities to end wars forever, but the subconscious urge to prolong the spirit of war was too pronounced. Hence, it was followed by the intense tension of the Cold War for another 45 years.

True to this theory, the great post-war periods of the 20th century were expansive social creativity. World War II was followed by the founding of the UN, the Bretton Woods Institutions and the European Economic Community. The end of the Cold War was followed by the birth of the European Union and the WTO, and most especially the creation of the World Wide Web as the first truly global social organization. The full value of the Internet has not yet become apparent. It is a field of complex organizational growth in cyberspace, without which the advances of the last two decades would have taken centuries. Imagine the creative moment of such a field. The emerging revolution in online education is another creative evolutionary moment waiting to unfold.

Life is entirely creative. All her moments are creative moments. Each man has a different vision. For Steve Jobs, the founding of Apple Computers and launching of the iPod were such moments and their impact spread to reach the whole world. Trade is creative, creative of wealth. Money is the power created by trade. Coins, currency, checks, credit cards are its higher creative accomplishments. It was for trade that the English came to India. But they soon discovered an opportunity to found an empire. At a time of political confrontation in the early 1970s, the monetary benefits of trade motivated Nixon to make a trip to China, with momentous consequences which remain largely invisible, for it effectively eliminated the possibility of war between USA and China.

“Thirty years ago, a report submitted to the Club of Rome spoke about the essential role played by the service economy, the unorganized sector, and the non-monetarized sector. The author’s thought has not yet received the recognition it deserves. It is a work of a genius.”

Montessori, Summerhill and Glenn Doman mark creative moments in early childhood education. They all made education creative. For the child who is memorizing, a moment of original understanding is creative. Similarly, it is a creative moment for the teacher also when he shifts from addressing the memory of the students to addressing their creative minds.

Certain periods in history have been known as creative periods, such as the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in England. People living during such remarkable times will be creative in one way or another. Shakespeare is the most outstanding of many examples. Fashion marks a transient form of creativity at a shallow, superficial level. In many families and institutions there will be a highly creative person whose aura spreads through the whole family and institution. When that person leaves, the creative atmosphere also departs with him. The place loses its luster. When Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, Nehru went on the radio declaring that the light had been lost over India.

A creative leader or a creative ideal can now give to the world such an inspiring atmosphere. This is a period in which the entire world population can inwardly expand towards higher values of light and felicity. Even the negative indications are indicative of the opportunity. Half-way through Obama’s first presidential term, there was a marked change of attitude towards nuclear weapons. After 20 years, the Palestinians revived their efforts for economic planning. The Institute for Cultural Diplomacy was founded in Germany and seeks a solution for the issues that affect the countries of the Levant. The Arab Spring is a negative movement, but a positive symptom of the Spirit of the times.

“When we aspire for what is already there, it can be described as ambition. When we aspire for what is as yet unrealized, it is creative aspiration.”

Fields like music and Market are wholly creative, each in its own way. Music has a creative effect when sound turns melodious. The market is creative of profits when it functions creatively. Traffic systems are quite ordinary and routine. But when we compare traffic systems in organized and unorganized countries, the creative role traffic regulation plays in promoting the welfare of a nation becomes apparent. Studying levels of corruption, implementation of human rights, implementation of law and levels of education reveal the complementary impact of each one on the others. Social Development is a creative field of study which is still in its formative stages.

4. Individual Creativity

“Evolution is not confined to biological species; it occurs in societies as well.”

A foundation named after Croatian physicist Nicola Tesla is trying to identify young people with the potential for genius. The traditional belief is that geniuses are born and not made. Creative consciousness when cultivated can form the bedrock on which genius flowers. Thirty years ago, a report submitted to the Club of Rome spoke about the essential role played by the service economy, the unorganized sector, and the non-monetarized sector. The author’s thought has not yet received the recognition it deserves. It is a work of a genius.

Creativity expresses through enormous energy. To organize that energy into consciousness is further greater work. Energy comes from aspiration. Aspiration for what? When we aspire for what is already there, it can be described as ambition. When we aspire for what is as yet unrealized, it is creative aspiration. Evolution is not confined to biological species; it occurs in societies as well. Evolution is organizing itself under the surface in every sector of society. The shift from memorization to understanding in education is a significant evolution in that field. It can go one step further from conscious understanding to subconscious or subtle understanding, intensifying the evolutionary process. It is not unknown in the world.

“The creativity of society accumulated as the achievements of a succession of creative moments over millennia is civilization. The distilled essence of civilization is culture.”

In business and politics astute leaders possess a subtle form of understanding capable of sensing the pulse of the market or the people. Such leaders become very popular. Steve Jobs says he acquired intuitive perception during six months of his stay in India and relied on it for crucial successes in his life, such as invention of the Macintosh computer, Pixar’s Toy Story, the iPod, iPhone, iPad and the highly successful Apple Stores. Lincoln possessed the uncanny intuitive sense to know just how much the public would support and tolerate and how far he could push the Northern states to abolish slavery without precipitating an open revolt. Food rationing introduced during the Second World War continued in South India until 1952 out of belief that removing it would lead to hoarding and sky-rocketing prices. The then Chief Minister of Madras Presidency, C. Rajagopalachari, intuitively perceived that rationing could be abolished without any ill-effects. People feared that prices would soar immediately. He was proved right when instead of rising, prices declined slightly. When people wondered how he managed to do it, he said that he did it relying on intuition. If the world’s knowledge of intuition is brought into the field of education, it would revolutionize the field and transform teaching into a creative process.

Science has immensely benefitted the world through the discovery of phenomena such as electricity and magnetism, etc. Equally momentous consequences will issue from the discovery of creative consciousness, rather the process that can result in creative consciousness. Even a momentary spark of creativity is highly productive. Sustained creative expression will benefit mankind in unimaginable ways.

5. Social Creativity

Society is creative and is characterized by periodic moments of momentous creativity. The creativity of society accumulated as the achievements of a succession of creative moments over millennia is civilization. That civilization is the essence of history which is itself the essence of social existence. The distilled essence of civilization is culture. Family is the creative social organization that nurtures the biological child to form the psychological citizen. The mother’s loyalty enriched by the father’s sense of responsibility form the flowerbed on which culture flourishes. The head of a family accepting responsibility for the whole of the family can be called consciousness responsibility. The constitutional responsibility of a cabinet minister for all the actions of those in his department is the national symbol of it. The unwritten constitution places responsibility for whatever happens in the country in the hands of the Prime Minister.

The process of converting raw energy into creative energy for growth, development and evolution is common to all aspects of life. Our bodies convert the food that is consumed into physical energy for growth and transforms it into energy for healthy living and well-being at the physical level. Society converts raw social energy into organized productive energy and transforms it into cultural values such as honor and hospitality. The most advanced enlightened expression of this process is the conversion into cultural essence of life through education. What families, especially affluent aristocratic families, give to their children through private, personal education by tutors can now be made available to all the children of the world with the same flavor of human solicitude and affectionate responsibility. The World University Consortium can provide it to all who seek it. It can devise new courses that can bring to its process of learning by a process of teaching the higher value of learning for the child’s consciousness.

6. Cultural Creativity

The mother is the main source of affection for the child. The wife who enters a man’s life later on is a higher version of the same social emotion, whose highest expression is the sacred emotion of Love. Its birth is commonly vitiated by the social institution of marriage in which property is given central importance. If mercenary motives are not present and the child is raised with full affection, the human relationship formed around the child’s psychological blossoming becomes the human efflorescence in old age. So great is its power that, according to ancient Tamil literature, it can prevent the graying on man’s hair even in advanced age. This is its merest outer expression. Its inner cultural richness expresses as tolerance for the lapses of the younger generation. It is tolerance born out of the soul’s inner freedom. That freedom can express as a playful cheerfulness which we find in the heroine of Pride and Prejudice, whose creative energies raise her whole family to a higher level of social life. Shakespeare’s creativity is rich with subtle truths of life rising to the highest poetic expression, but mostly reflecting darker intensities of life. “Age does not wither” and “Whoever loved that loved not at first sight” are positive expressions of that creativity.

7. Creative Education

Great literature enriches ordinary daily life in many ways possible, but it mainly enriches the subconscious through its subtle faculty. The mind of the child is brilliantly receptive to the accumulated wisdom of the collective. However, formal education often buries this emerging wisdom. Fortunately modern technology can be commissioned to counter these ill-effects, as the iPod has done for music, capturing the world’s imagination. When backed by proper technology, such courses can cater to the spirit of aspiring young humanity and awaken their imaginative faculties to develop inwardly and eventually blossom in full creative freedom.

“Values are the organized capacities of the cultural forces of society imparted to the next generation as an individual possession.”

Online courses for college students can be designed more easily than for lower level students. The lower one descends, the more intricate it becomes for various reasons. First, great care is needed not to spoil the innocence of young minds with organized social superstition. Children’s minds are fresh and therefore can be easily contaminated. Moreover, no course can match the speed of a child’s receptivity. Adult minds cannot appreciate the purity of a child’s innocence of truth in goodness. Like a relay runner, the teacher must readily hand over the baton to the child to run further on its own.

Society evolves by education. Sri Aurobindo called yoga an organized influence designed to take life to its maximum height by the shortest route. ‘All life is yoga’ is his mantra. Education is the next best. Values are the organized capacities of the cultural forces of society imparted to the next generation as an individual possession. Education that imparts values is an evolutionary social organization seeking to be born. The World University Consortium can be the vehicle for that accomplishment.

Author Contact Information
Email: ashokmirra@gmail.com

About the Author(s)

Ashok Natarajan

Fellow, World Academy of Art & Science; Secretary, The Mother’s Service Society, Pondicherry, India
Email: secretary@motherservice.org