Social Distancing and Quarantine: The Role of Isolation in Creativity
During these trying times of Quarantine, Social Distancing and self-isolation; can creatives make this an opportunity to shut out all the many distractions of the outside world and birth masterpieces? Creatives like Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Mozart, Picasso, and Steve Jobs are known to have worked in isolation for different reasons. Deliberate for some, situational for others.
Despite the many benefits of collaboration to creativity, significant creativity can also happen in isolation. Elizabeth Bishop, an American poet and short-story writer believed that everyone should experience at least one prolonged period of solitude in life. It is worth to note that being alone does not necessarily mean the same thing as being bored or lonely.
Creativity thrives in solitude. In the peace, quiet and tranquillity, creatives can connect deeper with their soul. Laser-sharp focus provides clarity and quiets the demons of doubt and scepticism. No judgement from the external world, no prying eyes hovering over your shoulder, no comparing of self with other creatives. Just a creative, creating.
Multiple award-winning record producer, artist, designer and overall creative genius, Kanye West alluded to isolation on his song titled “Spaceship” when he rhymed – “Lock yourself in a room doing five beats a day for three summers / That’s a different world like Cree summers, I deserve to do these numbers”
Popular classical musician, Wolfgang Mozart said on solitude – “When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer–say, travelling in a carriage or walking after a good meal or during the night when I cannot sleep–it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly.”
Albert Einstein, one of the most influential scientist, physicist and philosopher to ever grace the earth also touched on the role of solitude in his creative thought process. He remarked – “On the other hand, although I have a regular work schedule, I take time to go for long walks on the beach so that I can listen to what is going on inside my head. If my work isn’t going well, I lie down in the middle of a workday and gaze at the ceiling while I listen and visualize what goes on in my imagination.”
Another of the worlds great creatives, Nikola Tesla, who had several revolutionary developments in the field of electromagnetism, including the commercialization of electricity, did not mince words when speaking on the necessity of solitude. He said – “The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.”
World-renowned Spanish painter, Pablo Picasso, one of the founding fathers of the 20th-century cubist art movement, who was recently brought back to pop culture by Jay Z with the song Picasso Baby and Kanye West with his seventh studio album titled “The Life Of Pablo”. On solitude, Pablo Picasso said – “Without great solitude no serious work is possible.”
For the sake of the art, maybe there is an upside to quarantine. Time will reveal.
Remember to wash your hands often with soap or alcohol, keep your hands away from your face, and try as much as possible to avoid going outside. Stay safe.