Permissionless Creativity

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I had a conversation at college about dissemination of art. There was the idea in the conversation that there was little appetite for trying to convince gatekeepers to let our creative output be seen by the world.

We embraced the notion offered that you can create your own artistic experience and put it out there without looking for anybody’s permission.

I shared with the group the idea of permissionless marketing by Naval Ravikant.

In a similar way, permissionless creativity is a call to act on the creative impulse without feeling like we need permission to do so.

Permissionless Marketing

Naval Ravikant has written and spoken about permissionless marketing. I took that to heart years ago, and I continue to believe in it. 

My understanding of permissionless marketing is that it’s marketing that you don’t need permission for. You don’t need to go and convince gatekeepers to take on our message.

You create your marketing message, and put it out there in ways that don’t need the permission of someone before it goes live. 

Now, I have to be self-aware enough to realise that this lies in with my own nature. I don’t want to have to go to gatekeepers and ask them to publish a story. It seems that in this life there are people much better suited to that type of approach.

Having Permissionless Fun

An Arbor cruiser skateboard I had for a while. It was good fun.

Permissionless fun has been another strand I’ve been thinking about for several years.

I could see the contrast between skiing and skateboarding.

When I tried out skateboarding as an adult, I was surprised at how similar it was to snowboarding. I skateboarded in the park a few times, and even down to the gym one day. I felt this pressure (yes, from myself) that I shouldn’t be having fun like this!

That was in contrast to the idea of skiing.

Being based in Ireland, you book flights, book an apartment, rent equipment and go skiing.

You almost have to be sure you’re enjoying the skiing, because your friends will ask afterwards if you enjoyed it, and there’s a pressure to say how great it was!

So I see this contrast between permissionless fun of skateboarding, and then almost “obligatory fun” of the result of going on a ski holiday.

Giving ourselves permission to create

Indeed, it’s not really permissionless.

We perhaps need to give ourselves permission to listen to that creative impulse. It’s therefore a statement that you’re the only one who needs to give yourself permission to do this.

Jung’s view on the creative impulse

Carl Jung wrote about this creative voice in his Commentary of The Secret of the Golden Flower. In this commentary he’s quite direct, yet frustratingly elusive about listening to the creative voice, or what he calls “fantasies”.

It’s the creative idea that pops up as if out of nowhere, and the ego steps in to say “that would never work”, or “don’t be stupid, that’s a stupid idea”, or “who do you think you are, planning something like that”. 

So for Jung, it was about getting the logical ego to step aside to allow these creative concepts to bubble up.

Then he goes on to say that the conscious ego must indeed then step in and make practical use out of these “fantasies”. 

This type of tuning in for Jung was not just some whimsical act, creativity being for its own sake.

He saw it in a broader perspective that it was a route to his patients “liberating” themselves from “insoluble problems” through this type of psychological development.

He had a lot more to say in that commentary. I have pages and pages of highlighted text. 

Finally, it seems like don’t have to do much to achieve this permissionless creativity. It’s more about getting out of the goddam way of ourselves. As Jung said:

“What did these people do in order to achieve the development that librated them? As far as I could see they did nothing (um wei) but let things happen.”

Carl Jung, Commentary on The Secret of the Golden Flower

Permissionless creativity, and sharing

Permissionless creativity is the stepping aside and letting yourself create. As an extension, you then share that creativity on permissionless platforms like on your socials. You are the only gatekeeper you need to worry about.


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