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Creative Thinking

‘I’ can’t do that

August 30, 2011 — by Daryll Scott2

I often wonder if our identity, our sense of ‘I’ is the biggest barrier to creativity.

I wonder if we need it. I’m not sure I have an identity because there is not any judgement that I make about myself that I consider to be universally true. Allow me to demonstrate…

Think of an opinion or self-evaluation about yourself:

I am…… / I am not……

Now go looking for the counter example; the thing that you need to ignore in order to believe the judgemental statement.

Most sentences that start with I am or I am not are untrue. We are far too complex to be distilled into one judgemental sentence – there is far more to us than that.

For example:

I can think ‘I am clever’ because I have plenty of experience of being articulate. I tend to grasp complex ideas quickly and thoroughly so that I can re-explain them in a hundred different ways. I’m very imaginative, I can tell colourful stories and change people’s minds. I can reason any argument from multiple perspectives, can simultaneously evaluate at least three differing variable factors and have a very high IQ score.

BUT… At the same time, I can be extremely stupid. I’m hideously forgetful, I am ignorant of current affairs, I can only name about four members of the current UK Government, I have very little knowledge of sport, I do not speak a second language fluently, I cannot play a musical instrument well, I’m clueless about history and have great difficulty remembering people’s names if I don’t know them well.

For me – the statement ‘I am clever’ is neither true nor untrue, it just seems like a silly thing to say. Just as ‘I am stupid’ seem an equally crazy and simplistic evaluation – neither can be universally true.

If you play this game enough you can escape the need for a ‘self-concept’ and stop judging yourself in such hideous, simplistic, polarised, limiting ways.

The same is true of beliefs – you really don’t need them.

Sure I accept there is a need to be operating from an assumption that is likely to be confirmed by experience – but to believe it, to your core, as an irrefutable fact – surely that’s not necessary.

A belief is a powerful schema that organises how you experience the world; whatever you believe, you will make it so (In some cases you may even make things invisible in order to protect your belief), and you will be oblivious of the counter-evidence.

I don’t think I have any beliefs… but is that a belief? I don’t think so because I’m looking for counter evidence – I haven’t found any yet I really don’t know.

Identity (or self-concept) and belief are types of self-limiting prison, and you really don’t need them… Discuss…


  • Jeremy Johnson

    August 31, 2011 at 9:45 am

    If you ain’t got faith you ain’t got nothing.


    • Daryll Scott

      September 2, 2011 at 4:20 pm

      Cool. Is faith the same as belief? I tend to think of faith as a choice, whereas a belief removes the awareness of choice.


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