First Principles’ Creativity

We talk a lot about the first tools, normally as a precursor to the story of the industrial revolutions. How the first man (or woman) sharpened a stone to be a tool, and then we got augmented. First physically then cognitively, and how we are now using algorithms to push that collaboration far beyond.

What we don’t consider much is that person’s creativity. The nothingness that existed and the chaotic thinking that had to be exercised.

To come close to that, I urge you to imagine that everything (and anything) is technologically possible. What would you make that could have as much impact as that first tool? Something that will truly be new reality innovation, and not an incremental improvement.

This is hard, because mental models are the way we construct ideas, and fighting those requires discipline, space and an order of mindfulness. (Do you remember the last time you said:’it’s the Uber for x’?)

This is especially impressive considering the current staleness of change in the workplace. There are books upon books (like Beth’s or Seth’s) about being a change maker, breaking into new fields of opportunities, and doing so in a way that will not get you fired.

Against that backdrop let us consider the open–ended world of possibilities, the innate ingenuity and the vast multi–purposefulness of our hairy ancestors.

“We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us”

— John Culkin 1

I think that we might have come back full circle. Especially when we think about that first person.

Could our creativity have peaked then? And are we walking to that same peak?

I don’t know that the assembly line, a tractor or Facebook have expanded anyone’s liminal thinking. More over I will argue that the societal appetite for human connection and purpose is driven by a push against such tool-to-human protocol transfer.

Maybe we’re taking control of shaping ourselves? We have relinquished creativity to the machine. Examples include algorithmic poetry, playing Spotify at a birthday party, and computer aided design (CAD).

Is quantitive creativity about to fall off its own cliff? Or could we design it within the cushy walls of quantitive understanding?

1 - * this is often wrongly cited a McLuhan’s quote*

 
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