Is Social Media Reducing Your Creativity?
A joint study by the University of Kansas and the University of Utah finally confirmed something that people knew 3,000 years ago. Researchers took 56 people, a fairly even mix of men and women, sent them into the wilderness on organized camping trips, and when they returned they had which of the following?
a. Farmer’s tans
b. Camper’s constipation
c. More creativity
They probably had all three, but the point of this column is “c.” They scored higher overall on a series of creativity tests. More nature equals more creativity. Maybe.
The problem with the study is that the participants were immersed in nature for four days without any electronics. So there is a possibility that the higher creativity could be related to disconnecting from computers and iPhones for a while.
This is something the Amish have been saying for years. The Jewish Sabbath is built around disconnecting for one day a week. In Abraham Joshua Heschel’s classic book, "The Sabbath," there is an observation made by his daughter that on Starudays, the disconnection from the business of the world enabled you to be affected by nature. You became more aware of the changing path of the sun throughout the year. The varying amounts of sunlight and shadow had a profound effect on personality.
“Social media” is on the verge of becoming an oxymoron. If Renoir were to paint an afternoon at any restaurant in Los Angeles or New York, he would have to be good at depicting the light reflecting off of an iPhone; couples in love, texting; whole groups of people, checking emails.