I recently watched a ted talk by Alex Grey about how art evolves consciousness and I love that idea. Art has always interested me because the artist is able to express them-self in a physical way by allowing observers to see their unique perspective of the world, and the same can be said about music, dance and any other creative process. Artists have a reputation for being "emotionally unstable" - undergoing periods of depression and sometimes mania. I'm now starting to believe that creativity is like a force unto itself. Some people may experience this force more strongly for whatever reason, but I believe it is a skill that can be developed in anyone with a strong desire to do so.
Art can also be a way to express emotion. Could emotion and creativity therefore somehow be connected? Potentially, if you want them to be. It's also a pretty common saying for teachers of creative students to tell them to "use it" meaning whatever the artist is feeling, to make their work of art more captivating for those observing it, whatever the art form. I don't know about you but when someone is doing something they really love, especially artistically, it's almost possible to feel their emotion pouring out of the piece. The mark of a true artist is the ability to incite a feeling in the observer, in my opinion.
How, then, are creativity and consciousness connected? I'm not really sure. That is honestly a mystery that still baffles me. Because I don't understand how new thoughts can arise out of patterns. But I know that creativity is a choice. I wanted to become more artistic last summer, so I started with pastels and later moved on to painting with acrylics. I'll admit that my art is not up to my standards at the moment, but if you look at my initial drawings, the improvement is blatantly obvious ha. But that's how we get better at things, right? Just keep doing it and telling yourself you're improving and you eventually will.
I also believe that there is somehow a connection between the subconscious mind and creativity. I believe that through my experience over the past year, my subconscious mind now works more harmoniously with my conscious mind, but it's entirely possible that I only believe that because I believed in a subconscious mind in the first place. Although it is true that a lot happens in our experience that our conscious mind doesn't have time to process. But what makes up the conscious mind is a puzzle. If you asked a neuroscientist I'm not even sure they would be able to tell you how to differentiate between the two, except that the "higher" mental processes take place in the frontal lobe. But the frontal lobe isn't the only place that consciousness occurs I'm sure, because there are no barriers between the lobes, or at least not that I've ever heard of.
And art has been shown to be therapeutic for those who are experiencing mental illness/trouble managing emotions. So is mental illness then not really so much a disease state as a lack of the ability to choose an emotion? I think that yes, it is. So why then do various pharmaceutical therapies work? Probably because that person believes they will. It's a well know observation that anti-depressants work only slightly better than the placebo at managing depression. So maybe the people experiencing depression should be told to learn to manage their emotions with art instead? I think that it is already starting to happen. Emotions are the hardest things to choose, in my opinion. But it is possible. Have you ever started crying and told yourself "I don't want to cry" and stopped. Or wanted to cry, and cried. Seems to me that crying, at least, can be a choice. And what are tears, anyways? I know they contain immune cells, but it seems strange to me that a person leaks water from their eyes when they are emotionally upset. But maybe that too is a conditioned response, since as babies our mothers responded to crying by giving us love and attention. But I believe it would be invaluable to teach children somewhere along the way about emotion in more depth, and help them find creative ways to manage their overpowering emotions. Works with kids with developmental disabilities, so why shouldn't it work for everyone. I believe it can. And so creative ways to deal with emotion should be nurtured too.