Wright Foundation | July 1, 2015

Unlocking the Power
of Your Creative Self:
An Interview with Barnet Bain

Acclaimed filmmaker, broadcaster and creativity expert Barnet Bain has been studying the human brain for decades, especially as it relates to creativity, intimacy and our social and emotional intelligence.

In this episode of Bring Out Your Best, We interview acclaimed filmmaker, broadcaster & creativity expert Barnet Bain on his new book, “The Book of Doing and Being,” where Bain teaches “the skill set that is the antidote to the exponential disruption of life as we know it.”

Listen to this full episode on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

In our interview, Bain describes how more and more people are losing their ability to express creative thought, which will cause serious issues as we traverse into an unknown future. …and he has a point: studies show that 65% of elementary students will hold jobs that don’t even exist yet, in technologies that haven’t been invented yet, to solve problems we don’t know are problems yet.

In his new book, The Book of Doing and Being, Bain offers up the antidote to the exponential disruption of life as we know it. We sat down with Bain to learn why creative skills are sinking, how this could negatively affect our future, and what we need to do to shape up.

Wright Foundation:

Why do we lack creative skills as adults?

Barnet Bain:

One study of 300,000 children and adults over several decades found that since 1990, IQs have increased but creative skills have declined. Another study found that 98% of 3-5 year olds were registering as creative geniuses, but by 25 years old that number had dwindled to just 25%.

Why this creative atrophy? Well, at the root is our conditioning. The fundamental “hand-me-down thinking” we‘ve received—our training from parents, teachers and other adults—that leads us to process everything we encounter through intellect. We’re trained to overanalyze everything, thus overpowering other types of thought. On top of that, we’re trained that pursuing anything other than intellect is dubious. Artists understand that creativity—a disruptive insight—is received as a gift from all other aspects of the self.

We begin to lose our creative thinking skills over time. Young children tend to be fully encouraged to explore music, art and theater, and to pretend. These activities open our hearts in non-linear and non-rational ways. However, as children grow up, the first things that tend to get cut from their lives are music, arts and theater programs. Instead, we double-down on feeding the prefrontal cortex—which is already plenty stimulated and doing just fine.

Wright Foundation:

How can we better understand non-linear progression and creativity?

Barnet Bain:

To rise above our conditioning we must not only engage in creative activities but also gain a new understanding of creative acts. There is no such thing as an uncreative act. Every thought, emotion or action is one of volition, whether conscious or not—and that makes it a creative act, going beyond simple logic.

However, we need to understand that challenges we face cannot be dealt with simply through logic and reason alone. There is superseding intelligence we gain when we have access and intimacy through social and emotional intelligence. This is the key to non-linear creativity.

Traditionally, people tend to use logical thinking, “rearranging the furniture” to create an efficient solution to a problem. However, while this is useful and usually practical, you’re not giving birth to an entirely new idea.

Instead, non-linear progression is the type of creative innovation that moves our culture forward. When a fundamentally new idea is gifted (an “a-ha!” or “eureka!” moment), then the logical and reasonable parts of our brain can then develop upon these non-linear intelligences. Therein will come answers to many of the challenges we face, both in the world and in intimate spaces.

We are facing challenges today as we face a level of unpredictableness we can only call chaos. However, insight can only come from a chaos—from a willingness to let old structures die. The entrenched ideas about how worlds and societies are structured are fundamentally breaking down. When we surrender into the chaos, we can potentially allow for new attunement and movement: we’ll see the possibilities for new ideas and innovations out of the wreckage.

Wright Foundation:

Give me an example of one of your 40 practices from your new book we can use to unleash our creative intercourse with our lives.

Barnet Bain:

Practice entering paradox in your brain, the ability to hold two different ideas simultaneously. As long as you are willing to hold that paradox, you’re actually wiring and firing new neuron patterns, literally blowing your mind.

Consciously play with paradox to strengthen these skills and form new neural pathways. Toggle back and forth between nightmares and dreams on the movie screen in your head. Stand in the infinite space in the middle and forge that new path. The logical mind will search for an answer and find nothing, but by holding the space for as long as possible, something new can emerge…and the more miraculous and creative your life can become.

There is only logic in the implementation of an idea. Inspiration and innovation come from the “beyond” of who we are.

Barnet Bain is an award-winning filmmaker, radio broadcaster, educator and creativity expert. His film credits include Oscar-winner “What Dreams May Come” (producer), Emmy-Award nominee “Homeless to Harvard” (executive producer), and “The Celestine Prophecy” (writer, producer). His new book, The Book of Doing and Being, is now available on Amazon. You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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