The Creative Act | An Excerpt from the Innovation & Creativity Category

Rick Rubin

December 28, 2023


Rick Rubin believes that every choice one makes in life is a form of self-expression, with everyone existing as a creative being in a creative universe.

As Porchlight's Creative Director Gabbi Cisneros writes:

Rick Rubin argues for art as expression, art as necessity, and, in its rawest form, art as something entirely beyond human control. Don't be put off by what could be called mystical thinking, because Rubin’s spiritual approach to innovation and creativity is what makes this book a refreshing addition to our nonfiction shelves.

In this excerpt, Rubin argues that being an artist does not only involve the act of creation but can also be found in the way we perceive and interact with the world around us.

Everyone Is a Creator. 

Those who do not engage in the traditional arts might be wary of calling themselves artists. They might perceive creativity as something extraordinary or beyond their capabilities. A calling for the special few who are born with these gifts.

Fortunately, this is not the case.

Creativity is not a rare ability. It is not difficult to access. Creativity is a fundamental aspect of being human. It’s our birthright. And it’s for all of us.

Creativity doesn’t exclusively relate to making art. We all engage in this act on a daily basis.

To create is to bring something into existence that wasn’t there before. It could be a conversation, the solution to a problem, a note to a friend, the rearrangement of furniture in a room, a new route home to avoid a traffic jam.

What you make doesn’t have to be witnessed, recorded, sold, or encased in glass for it to be a work of art. Through the ordinary state of being, we’re already creators in the most profound way, creating our experience of reality and composing the world we perceive.

In each moment, we are immersed in a field of undifferentiated matter from which our senses gather bits of information. The outside universe we perceive doesn’t exist as such. Through a series of electrical and chemical reactions, we generate a reality internally. We create forests and oceans, warmth and cold. We read words, hear voices, and form interpretations. Then, in an instant, we produce a response. All of this in a world of our own creation.

Regardless of whether or not we’re formally making art, we are all living as artists. We perceive, filter, and collect data, then curate an experience for ourselves and others based on this information set. Whether we do this consciously or unconsciously, by the mere fact of being alive, we are active participants in the ongoing process of creation.

To live as an artist is a way of being in the world. A way of perceiving. A practice of paying attention. Refining our sensitivity to tune in to the more subtle notes. Looking for what draws us in and what pushes us away. Noticing what feeling tones arise and where they lead.

Attuned choice by attuned choice, your entire life is a form of self-expression. You exist as a creative being in a creative universe. A singular work of art.


Excerpted from The Creative Act: A Way of BeingCopyright © 2023 by Rick Rubin. All rights reserved.


About the Author

Rick Rubin is a nine-time GRAMMY-winning producer, named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time and the most successful producer in any genre by Rolling Stone.

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