CREATIVITY ON THE FOURTH OF JULY - 4 JULY 2012
Bald Eagle and Flag - Homer, Alaska, File# 0704804
Link To Original Image
It's the fourth of July here in New Mexico. I guess that's obvious for everyone in the United States. For those not from around here, this day is the birthday of our nation. It's the anniversary of when a group of relatively well-to-do men announced the colonies intention to separate from the mother country, England. As is well documented in history books, this was not an easy task. In fact, the unanimity of Continental Congress was quite the amazing feat considering the substantial political differences there were between the various factions represented. I'm sure there were critical moments when individual members made up their minds to vote for the declaration. I'm sure a healthy dose of imagination, creativity, and innovation was involved in the whole process.
Why would I say imagination was required of these delegates? Let's consider the political environment back in those days. Mostly these delegates were wealthy and well respected people from their homes. These were not rabble rousers. These were not anarchists. These were doctors, lawyers, teachers, shop keepers, and property owners. These were men invested in the establishment. Many were predisposed to vote against any resolution denigrating the Crown. Some of them were team players not desiring to rock the boat. What happened? Some element had to be involved that allowed all of them to see the future for what it could be and vote to end the tyranny of the Crown.
While probably not documented, it could probably be shown each of declaration signers had to exhibit a substantial capability for imagination. Each of them had to see a future where the colonies were unbounded from England. Creativity was necessary to develop arguments and rhetoric convincing enough to sway the vote. The declaration itself showcases innovative concepts not previous expressed in any other countries national documents.
"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."
The foundational argument of this declaration where concepts that men were born with rights that could not be abridged by other men. The argument at the time was innovative and wholly unique in human history.
What interests me in this article is the amazing details of how these men, the signers of the declaration, were able to invoke the possibility of the future and decide to embrace the dangerous unknown of a fight for independence. I am interested in this because that type of innovation and creativity and willingness to embrace the unknown is sorely needed in today's dynamic and ever changing world.
For sure, simply rational logic would not sway such a learned and successful group as these men. Remember, these men were highly successful within the constraints of the system they were brought up. To a degree they were products of the exact system they were hoping to detach themselves from. How was it that these men felt empowered to see beyond the simple linear logic of the situation and choose to point their lives and the rest of the country in a new direction.
As I write this article it occurs to me as successful and embedded with the old system these men were they were products of the New World. The New World being a highly dynamic and unknown environment occasionally requiring skills only found in explorers. It seems to me a major contributor to the successful declaration was these men were already versed in the possibility of the unknown as it was already an everyday occurrence to deal with situations never imagined back in England. These were self-sufficient men able to successfully encounter the many issues arising from being at the edge of western civilization. I could even suggest these men relished existing in this environment as the declaration would surely put them on new ground never before seen in their home country's history.
Those times in 1776 were very interesting indeed. I am sure no one could've foreseen the unusual set of circumstances that would've allowed such events to unfold. And, to see their hope and promise leading to this nation's celebration today is miraculous as well. Enjoy the celebration of this nation's birth and wonder about the leap of faith the signers of the Declaration of Independence took on this day 236 years ago. Consider for a while the role imagination, creativity, and innovation played for it might apply to us today.