Why Do I Create? by Gabriel Jacobson

Finding our why will help us find our way.

What is it inside of us that drives us to make something? I believe all of us have some sort of creator nature inside of us. Whether that’s God given, or just some innate human instinct, there is an undeniable human instinct to make. We want to build things, we want to make something bigger than ourselves, something for others. Be it a sound, a visual, or something tangible we can place our hands on, human beings seem to have a longing to create something that can be shared. For creators, I believe something deep within us is constantly striving to make moments of human connection, moments of unity within an ever maddening world. It’s this feeling of, “if i can create this emotional so tangibly for another human, maybe, for a moment, we could be one”. Maybe we could have clarity and understanding in this wild human experience. I think at the root of the desire to create, is a desire to build genuine human connection, and a place where understanding can take place. When we build beautiful buildings, what are they for? Merely to showcase beauty? Perhaps, but what is beauty if it is not shared? Are they mere functional structures, or does the architect see the possibility of something greater within the functionality? Does the musician create a song out of the depths of his heart for his own ears, or so that that someone else may listen and relate? Does the director make a film to capture what he sees, or so someone else may see the world the way he sees it? Admittedly, there are many assumptions in these last statements. However, in my experience, I find that similar sentiments are true for many who choose a creative path in life.

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Many creators create solely under the guise of some sort of self release. Whether it is an unnamable pain, and unspeakable haunting (good or bad), or the necessity of explaining something about themselves. While I believe this is a driving force for many creators, when it becomes the sole motivation, it is blinding. I think this can become an elaborate and selfish ruse. To think that we only make to feed some need, is foolishness. We must find the vision to think beyond our own narrow view, if only for a moment. While I by no means intend to shame the motivation, I wish to bring light to the small mindedness. We have the opportunity to be so much greater than ourselves, so we must create with more than ourselves in mind. You can not only create as a cathartic exercise in knowing yourself. There is undoubtedly a time, and a season for this, but I think it is necessary to keep our sights set ever outward. At it’s core, creativity is not for ourselves, it is for others. 

When we create with others in mind, it adds infinite value to our experiences. Our pain, joy, loss, and triumph can be more than just a shaping experience. So much richness and depth is added when others enter the equation. The beauty in this world, is for others. The little glimpses of heaven we can experience, are for others. Our journeys are for others. Our lives are for others. 

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There is something to be said about the unspeakable haunting I mentioned earlier. There is some driving force in all of us that forces us to make. That haunting is what drove me to write this. That haunting is this un-scratchable itch of the soul to express something inside of ourselves that we don’t quite know. Like a phantom slipping through a wall, I believe we pursue this for all of our days. It is an insatiable desire to create something beyond ourselves. I believe it to be a constant dissatisfaction, but a gift all the same. It is a constant ringing in the ears to move forward, and grow. A blessing and a curse all rolled into one feeling in the pit of our stomachs. 

On the spiritual spectrum of things, I believe those who pursue creative lives have a unique opportunity. In the biblical narrative, the first time we are introduced to God, He is a creator. He creates beauty, and creates a space for others to experience beauty. Following the biblical narrative, from the onset, it was never for ones-self but always for others. We can be more like our Father. He was the first creator, the first to make something for another being. It was to create a dwelling place for communication, and community. The point of creativity, since the dawn of time was for someone else, and in that for love. 

I want to reach the end of my life and look back on all that I’ve made and know it was all for someone else. To have enriched lives, and have brought hope into this world. I want to know that the heart of everything I’ve done is for love. 

Create deeply, and love well.

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