I have previously made the claim on this blog and on twitter that we need to move away from ‘consumer’ society and towards ‘creative’ society. In other words, it will be beneficial if people and communities move away from creating identity and ‘lifestyle’ through consumption of the myriad offers of consumer capitalism and towards a more self-generating, local production of identity through various creative combinations of the ecological and social.
All this begs the question of what creativity is?how it should be understood, and so on. We (me and people I work with) are interested in collective forms of creativity, moving away from the idea of creativity being the preserve of (often lone) artists, inventors, designers and the like.
Into this debate come the book Against Creativity by Oli Mould. It is questioning of current obsessions with creativity in terms of neo-liberal capitalism, digital futures, smart technologies. Creativity of this kind is anything but. Steve Poole, in his Guardian Review, gives this book a mixed, but overall very positive review. But in it he says;
“The drawback to the book’s argument, though, is that it hinges on this rather dourly prescriptive definition of “true creativity”, which is allowed only to be action that critiques or undermines neoliberal capitalism. Creativity, Mould insists, is never allowed to be apolitical.”
Well, I am not sure Poole is right there. Given that globalised, consumer capitalism is enmeshed in one of the greatest acts of de-creation in human history, that of the unpicking of the current settlement of Gaia, the living and liveable biosphere. Ecocide as it has been defined – any act within that process is part of de-creation. Any act to be truly creative maybe does need to be an act of resistance to Ecocide and thus globalised consumer capitalist culture as currently configured,
Two recent prime times TV programmes ‘Drowning in Plastic’ and Andrew Marr on Darwin’s Dangerous Idea seem to show that, finally, decades late, the BBC is taking the environmental crisis we are now deeply in, seriously. Both programmes made is clear that life of earth as we know and love it, for humans and non-humans alike, is unpicking, and the future, in terms of decades, not centuries, begins to look very uncertain, even hostile, certainly tragic and scary.
What these programmes don’t do, apart from citing a few examples of pockets of good practice (there are lots), is to really start asking; how do we move from current forms of modern society, which are systemically unsustainable, systemically toxic, to new forms of culture, economy and politics. Such questions are not even being asked, let alone answered in any mainstream arenas. And the BBC, and we (modern elite humans) , are all part of that.