Tradition kills creativity

Posted under Holidays and Festivals

Burn, Baby, Burn.
Creativity Fire Starters.  

I love traditions.
I love the ritual of doing something in a particular way, each season, or each birthday or each year.
I think there is something extremely nurturing for everyone in experiencing a seed of something familiar, repeated on a predictable cycle.


I also know that holding onto traditions dogmatically (often for the sake of it) can actually kill the opportunity for free creative expression and a living, breathing response to a particular event or activity.


When we do something, such as a festival or a Christmas dinner or telling a bedtime story or serving up a dish on a certain plate, we must ask ourselves why we do it.   If we have a good reason, we have answered our question.


But, if we do something because that’s the way it’s always been done, that is as good as cultish behaviour in my book.  If we would like to try something new, but we are thwarted by ‘tradition’, this can be a source of conflict and tension that indiscriminately kills of all creative thought.


Beware of ‘tradition’ for the sake of ‘tradition’.


For many years, I worked in a space where things were often done ‘because that is how they are done’, even when it was obvious that the way wasn’t working anymore.  If one was to question why, or suggest another way, you could be seen as ‘breaking ranks’ so people just went about ‘breaking traditions’ quietly instead.


I think this time gave me some of my greatest life learnings.  The most important being, ASK QUESTIONS.  If you value your creativity as I do, the only way to stop yourself stagnating is to continue to ask the questions, whatever they may be, pushing the boundaries of ‘correct behaviour’ and coming up with new ways of putting things back together.  Sometimes, you have to be really, really, really brave to do this. Especially if it means challenging someone in a position of power, such as an older sister, or a boss, or the head librarian.  (Head librarians can be really scary sometimes.  Don’t you think?)


This is what it means to be an Artist of Everyday Living.  To reconfigure, and reconstruct, the world that you engage in on a daily basis, over and over and over again.  Staying out of the ‘rut’ -whether that is being afraid to break the status quo of your friendship group by bringing in someone new, always seeing the same kind of movie, eating the same kind of food (even it is the most delicious and healthy Hare Krishna curry fare) or living in the same suburb for years on end- is something we need to be aware of, and fight against if we are to keep our thoughts and energy fresh.


Embracing (rather than resisting) change is the key, don’t you think?
What traditions have you kept and what traditions have you discarded?  

2 Responses to “Tradition kills creativity”

  1. Kestrel

    I found this a really intriguing post. We have traditions and you’re absolutely right, we do reflect on them and have noticed that if they’re not serving a purpose they tend to fade after one or two attempts.

    Thank you, will be sharing this.

  2. Amber Greene

    Thank you Kris. I’m over the traditions that are self-serving for no other purpose than they “should” be done. Who makes that rule? We have to breathe life into our traditions or else they are pointless.

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