“Nonsense and beauty have close connections.”
– EM Forester
Have you noticed that a lot of people who write about creativity also try to justify it with practical uses like problem solving or making money? As if creativity were the intended end product of a controllable series of actions. In fact, there are misguided “rules” for creative meetings in offices to keep them on track. Arts programs are discontinued in schools all the time as a waste of time that won’t help you on standardized tests. Even as we recognize the power and importance of creativity, we negate the actual work of it.
And by work I mean play.
I want to argue for the pointless, the nonsense, the impractical and the absolutely useless. It is only through these that we reach a point where we might, at some point, come up with something beautiful or original or world enhancing. The road to a good idea is littered with thousands of terrible ideas. And by terrible ideas, I mean fun and interesting ideas that aren’t what you need at just that moment.
In fact, we’re taught to hide the “bad” ideas. The impractical ideas. The nonsense. To only give the ideas that we know are winners and practical solutions. These leads to boring people, afraid of change, waiting for someone else to say something stupid so they can laugh at it and feel superior.
Take some time to do something pointless and fun. Express yourself in ways that you aren’t good at. Write a dirty limerick, draw, play a practical joke, write a romantic comedy or, in my case, dance. Have fun failing and you can learn to love nonsense and pointlessness. You can recognize that nonsense is sometimes the only visible part of a greater truth. That pointlessness can sometimes be a signpost to something more important.
But, I’m not going to promise anything except a good time. Play is the hard work of a good idea that seems to come in an instant. Make sure you do something every single day that makes the judgmental authority figure in your head roll his/her eyes and question your sanity. You’ll never be able to prove that any of it had any worth to you, but it won’t matter. Pointlessness is its own reward.