Release Creativity by Exposing Yourself to Contrary Views

I find that exposing myself to a wide variety of viewpoints is a great practice as a creative person. The way the world is now, many people tend to seek out information resources that reinforce their own ideas.

Usually, sticking with the familiar just results in everyday closed-mindedness. But at its worst, it can result in extremism and hatred.

Even though my world-view is very different from that of author Barbara Ehrenreich, I like to read her books, as she is very good at zeroing in on things that are wrong with the world. I recently finished her book Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America — a highly-recommended expose.

Recently I also read in immediate succession two writers with very different politics and found that their views converged in one very surprising way — see “Social Critics on Social Darwinism: How Rushkoff and Wiker Converge” for a dual review of Life Inc. — How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back, by media critic Douglas Rushkoff and 10 Books That Screwed Up the World — and 5 Others That Didn’t Help, by theologian Benjamin Wiker.

I also think documentary films are a fruitful area for encountering contrarian views — see my post “Some documentaries that make you think.

AB — 22 January 2010

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