….and then was creativity no more


Aggrandized the statement may be. But perfect war cry it is, in the battle against corporate conformity.

Now, I thrive on creativity. I revel in noticing, appreciating and contributing to new and fun ways of doing things. And that was precisely what drew me to the job of product management – the opportunity to create and design what would work.

But over the year, the routine allele grew dominant and the creative one recessive, and what arose were half-burps of expression.

Many a time I have woken up, thrilled by a creative germ. But most of them have been killed by a quick disinfectant spray of corporate lingo.

Yes, it is the area of linguistic expression that I dread most.

The apt metaphors that I could construct at will were the first to go. Wisps of imagination they always were, but they would earlier snarl thought and solidify into coherent sentences.

Alas! Potent are they no more. They rise wisps, but stay indiscernible and melt away into nothingness.

And with metaphors gone, can similes be far behind? Like faded posters on the wall, they slowly come unglued with disuse.

Perhaps this is the curse of the always-on times. Even composition of narrative seems to be a strain.

I remember reading about the work of Benjamin Lee Whorf and Stephen Pinker. Is it words that we know that determine how we think? Or if we think hard enough, can we always find the words?

I must admit that I favor the former. New words have always tasted wonderful, and I swirl them around to see what they express and how I could use them. But now….I find that even words I know slipping away over the chasm of neglect.

I ask you – when was the last time you used the word ‘relish’? Isn’t it a word that all of us know of, one that brings to mind the flavor of something we enjoy?

Still wondering when you used it?

Then try these – marvelous, sore, clever, prudent, bliss.

Now try these – fantastic (or the trite aussum), angry, smart, practical, happiness.

Do they bring to mind the same feelings as the earlier list?

Take the word ‘clever’. To me, it imbues the subject with a creative intelligence. ‘Cleverness’ is about discovery – a new way to do things, a quick and apt riposte. But I find smart banal. Smart connotes someone with a good IQ and who can get work done.  We do have many smart people around, but are they clever?

Maybe the question just does not matter any more…


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