To make or to show?

planet pantheon 1 frame People often split creativity between the arts and sciences, lumping painters, writers, composers,  dancers and actors on one side,  and mathematicians, biologist, chemists, psychologist and  physicists on the other. There is a different dichotomy that becomes apparent to anyone attempting creative endeavors  – the split of constructing and performing.

It is easier to see this split in the arts; the visual artist, composer, and writer are obviously construction a work of art. The actor, musician, dancers are all performing, right? Have you ever seen a conceptual visual artist? They come up with a very original idea, and what they make may not impress people as a great work of art, but it is the explanation of the idea, the performance that carries the person into the creative limelight.  I recall seeing one create simple portraits on a huge sheet of wax paper by pouring chocolate syrup.

The same thing occurs in the sciences.  Some notable people are theorist; they come up with an idea and promote it through logic, but never through actual prove it through experiments  – such as Albert Einstein.  In this case it seems the ability to present an idea is more important than the ability to produce a proof or construct a sophisticated invention. Others through diligent experiments and observations (or sometimes accidents as in the case of Pasteur’s anthrax vaccine) produce new medicines.

The nature of the creative person changes based on this performance/construction dichotomy. Performers have to work with people, or in front of them at least. Performers in the arts tend to be more extroverted than visual artists.  While composers often to straddle the split (usually along with egos big enough for both sides). In the sciences, the goal of discovery would seem  to bring those with new ideas to the forefront;  that doesn’t always happen. Inventors need original ideas; although not necessarily their own. It is their persistence and sweat , and the ability to perceive which avenues to explore and which are dead ends that leads to the culmination of invention. But then, theorist piggyback on past scientists to the point that it is often difficult to determine who originated the “original” concept for which one person receives the credit.

The goal to seek recognition plays a large part in whether a creative person emphasize the constructing or performing side, and it is also one of the things that effects the way men and women approach creative endeavors.

Art By S. L. Listman

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