We’re thinking about the world at the other end of this and are starting a project called There is an Alternative that will creatively explore big political ideas in straightforward, accessible and inspiring ways. We’ll be working with some great thinkers and people with lived experience to look at ideas around universal basic income, monetary reform and new possibilities for health, education and internationalism. We’d love to hear from you if you have any alternative ways of being and thinking that you’d like to see us explore. Contact [email protected]
I was born logical, computer like really. Always loving maths and puzzles. Even a life-long love of French was born out of a love of the strict grammatical rules and enjoying breaking a code. There are many of us who feel safety in the constraints of there being a right answer, one right answer and if we are good at generating right answers, we probably did pretty well at school. Conversely, I have always struggled with the opposite and in the past I would have described the opposite as creativity. The self talk in my head is that I am not creative. I know how simplistic that sounds but if you ask me to draw or to sing or come up with an idea without any structure, I freeze, I just can’t do it. It is as if with such an infinite number of possibilities my brain malfunctions because it has been so used to being programmed in such a way as to believe that there is only one right answer, a perfect answer if you like, and if I get it wrong I have failed.
There are many people working in the world of finance, business and government who have brains similar to mine. Brains that favour a right answer, and like to do the same thing again and again just with increasing difficulty. For as long as we can remember we have been rewarded for doing exactly that. The financial world is not so different, a capitalist society the same. Simplicity and there being a right answer (and that right answer is financial growth) sits at its core. Do what you’re doing, but do it faster and better, generate more profit and whatever you do grow. Growth underpins its survival. When the world comes tumbling down, as perhaps it did with the financial crisis or most certainly is, right now, a capitalist society and the certain people who thrive within it are often ill equipped to deal with change and even more poorly equipped to deal with failure. I believe that now more than ever, we need to look outside of government, outside of financial institutions for answers. And my belief is that those answers sit with the people who are least likely and least susceptible to being programmed – with the artists.
Artists literally create something from nothing all the time. Their rewards are intrinsic – motivation coming from the act of creating itself rather than any form of extrinsic or financial reward. They are brave, resourceful and resilient, often used to doing things which others might only dream of, and doing those things with very little resource. They understand failure and success and see them as two sides of the same coin and an opportunity to learn and do something different. They are often able to see the world with clarity, sometimes in its big picture, sometimes shining a light on a tiny aspect of the human condition with a magnifying glass so strong that we wonder how we never saw those things before. I honestly believe that if we can harness the power of creativity, and combine it with social values and strong logical minds, I think we might just stand a chance. Artists imagine. Artists build. Artists inspire. They are the ones capable of getting us to realise that there is an alternative…