Culture Beyond Arts

When we were discussing the nature of arts as a branch of culture, it was both difficult and easy. It was difficult because the subject is quite mysterious, and it was easy because arts are the most typical representatives for culture. Moreover, arts are so special that they tell a lot for themselves. Now the question is what about other areas of human life and activities? Is there a place for culture to show itself there?

The first answer I can offer is that as soon as we define culture as the realm of creativity and dialogue, we face culture whenever we encounter these. However, it is too abstract. I would like to feel how it really works.

Thinking about the subject, I surprised myself once when found that creativity may show up even in the least creative case: production of some simple, well-known goods. When you produce something, there are some physical materials you use, time you spend, and ideas you implement. Even in the case you produce or participate in production of an article created by others, your own ideas can be used in your activity. Why? Because creativity is always involved in human activity unless it becomes totally automated. In the least creative process, you can and normally do use your own ideas (few of them, though) while, of course, it is mostly ideas of others get implemented. Tons of ideas of different people have been collected in the course of history and set in the simplest product of contemporary industry. On the other hand, every single idea out of this huge set was invented sometime.

That sounds reasonable… but creativity in a noncreative process?… Sounds too weird. Again, I found myself not advancing too far in the analysis of the subject, so… I was not to worry. My fellow researchers had gotten considerable muscles in the course of previous two conversations. Hence, I found it possible to start with a direct generic question.

When Do People Create?

Teacher: When do people create?

Beta: What do you mean “when”?

Kappa: Well, sometimes we do, don’t we?

Delta: And the question is “when?”

Beta: I’m thinking we need to clarify the question.

Teacher: This never harms.

Gamma: We are not talking about time, are we? We’re talking about situations, right?

Teacher: Of course.

Alpha: I know! It is when someone hasn’t prepared for a test. One should be verrry creative!

Teacher: Could be. Can you elaborate?

Gamma: Could it be that one has to reinvent some scientific data in that case? Is that what you mean?

Alpha: If people are not prepared, they guess. Nothing else.

Kappa: But some people guess better than others.

Alpha: “Creative guessing!” Ha ha ha!

Kappa: Why don’t we turn to the arts?

Delta: It’s too obvious. Of course people create while doing arts. That’s got to be true by definition!

Teacher: Not necessarily.

Delta: I got it. If a painter is just copying a unique work of another artist, he is not creating, is he?

Teacher: Not necessarily.

Gamma: I watched a movie―The Moderns. There was one very talented painter, and he got a commission to make copies of some of Matisse’s paintings because the customer wanted to sneak the originals away from her husband. Then she robbed the painter because she didn’t want to pay him, but she mistook the copies for the originals. And the painter was really proud afterwards that he was able to make such perfect copies!

Alpha: OK, he was proud. What does that tell us?

Beta: Well, he was talented, and he was proud he could do it. It does tell us something.

Alpha: What?

Delta: I believe that not every single painter can make a precise copy of a great work. He has to be talented to be up to the job.

Alpha: If someone is a talented copier, does this mean he is creating while copying?

Teacher: Good question!

Beta: I wish I had a good answer.

Kappa: Maybe it is something like understanding of other people? Don’t you think?

Delta: You mean, to see all of the details on one’s painting and reproduce them?

Beta: Look, what have we got here. If exact reproducing requires creativity, then not-exact reproducing, when you substitute author’s details by yours, is not creativity!

All, but Alpha: Wow!

Gamma: How can it be?

Alpha: Wait, wait, who says it can? Who says that reproducing requires creativity?

Beta: No one does, so far. I said “if.”

Gamma: But can it be that a talented work, even if it is copying, is not a creative one? What is talent for?

Alpha: How about photography?

Beta: I got something. Look, a photograph reflects something real, exactly how it is, right?

Gamma: So? There are interesting and telling pictures out there, and there are many of them that are good for a trash can only. How is this possible?

Beta: That’s where I was heading. When you make a picture and manage to get what you wanted and how you wanted it…

Delta: You mean, when you have a goal to catch something or what?

Alpha: My uncle is a photographer, a very good one, everyone says that. He says you have to be ready for a quick shot. It is not like you have to have some goal.

Beta: I understand, you have to be prepared,… but this is also a goal, isn’t it?

Alpha: It’s different.

Kappa: Alpha is right… And Beta is right…

Summarizing Questions

Teacher: Don’t we have something for the first summary?

Delta: A bunch of questions.

Kappa: It is something. We wanted to clarify our problem, remember?

Teacher: I remember. Would you like to try, Kappa?

Kappa: OK, but you all help me.

Delta: Count on me.

Beta: I’ll join in.

Gamma: I’ll do my best.

Teacher: Alpha, do we join?

Alpha: I’m not sure we’ve got enough material for all helpers… I’ll let you know if you miss something.

Teacher: It’s a deal. Go ahead, Kappa.

Kappa: OK. We have got so far… First, could someone really be creative in taking a test he is not prepared for? Does this question stand?

Alpha: Baloney.

Delta: Continue, Kappa. You got one.

Beta: Generally, if you do not know something, then it becomes a problem to solve…

Kappa: OK. The second question is: could it be creative guessing?

Alpha: But this is the same question!

Delta: I believe guessing is part of any creation.

Alpha: But this doesn’t make any sense!

Teacher: Alpha, we shall discuss this, but let us do the summary first.

Alpha: We were going to sum up questions, but the first one is obviously not a question at all, and the second one is the same as the first one.

Beta: I wouldn’t be so sure about both. You can never predict what pops up in a discussion.

Alpha: All right, I’ll keep silent, whatever you say.

Delta: You can’t, Alpha: You promised to let us know if we miss something.

Alpha: That’s enough! You want to discuss me or our subject?

Teacher: Our subject. And I assume everyone is ready to continue.

Kappa: If someone does not like a question, we can reformulate it, right?

Teacher: Acceptable.

Kappa: OK. Do we have the correct question about test taking, or is it better to leave the general question about guessing only?

Gamma: Why can’t we discuss both?

Delta: I agree. We do not know where to go, anyway.

Alpha: Exactly.

Delta: OK. We don’t know where to go anyway, so we need as many questions as possible.

Alpha: And to stay here overnight.

Gamma: It is destructive!

Alpha: What?

Gamma: What are you doing now, is destructive.

Alpha: And to collect a thousand questions to solve a single problem is constructive?

Gamma: Do you really hope to solve it today?

Alpha: Why do we even start it if we do not want to solve it?

Beta: Who said we don’t?

Kappa: We’ve counted two questions so far. The third one would be whether doing arts is always a creative process.

Alpha: Who questions that?

Teacher: I do.

Alpha: Why?

Teacher: Why don’t we finish with the summary first?

Kappa: The fourth one will be… “could copying be creative?” The fifth one “―if a work is talented, does it mean that creativity was required and involved?”

Teacher: An excellent formulation.

Kappa: The sixth question: is copying of a painting like understanding of an idea?

Beta: I have another one. Is copying of a creative work the same as understanding of its author’s thinking?

Delta: Why the same? How could it be the same?

Gamma: Kappa said “like.”

Kappa: Aha. Can we put it this way? Is copying generally like understanding?

Delta: Of course! You never repeat after someone if you do not understand what was said!

Beta: Yeah, I’d agree. This does not mean that repeating and understanding are the same.

Gamma: What does this mean?

Beta: Now I think they are related.

Alpha: Come back, guys. You are disrupting the accounting process.

Kappa: All right. So the seventh question could sound like: how does copying and understanding relate to each other in general terms?

Teacher: Perfect!

Delta: I got the eighth one. Is seeing a creative process?

Gamma: Where did that come from?

Delta: I asked earlier whether a copier is creative because he is seeing all of the details.

Gamma: I got an example when the seeing of all the details relates to creativity. It is investigation.

Beta: Hey, good example. Sherlock Holmes is a creative guy.

Alpha: What does he create?

Delta: A picture of a crime.

Alpha: That one was created by a criminal.

Teacher: The crime, not the picture.

Gamma: Sherlock Holmes does not know the criminal’s plan and actions, thus, he has to invent it from scratch and check against evidence, right? It is a creative process.

Kappa: Ha, look, we got it again. A bad investigator cannot recreate the picture―how it was in reality―and amends it with invented details and happens to be less creative at the same time? Wow!

Teacher: Have we picked all of our questions?

Kappa: There were few more… about photography… Does creation relate to some goal?

Beta: I would ask another one. Does seeing something unusual mean being creative?

Kappa: Seeing again?

Teacher: All right, we got a pretty decent list. I would add one last question. Do all creative features of human activity equally apply to arts and nonarts? Or better put it this way: do all of our questions equally apply to arts and non-arts?

Creativity and Goal

Beta: We’ve been touching this problem all the time.

Kappa: Actually, we got on track many times but were interrupted.

Alpha: Don’t blame me.

Kappa: It was not you… not you only. We interrupted our discussion to proceed with the list.

Alpha: Aha! Thus goal can be disruptive!

Delta: Maybe there could be different goals?

Alpha: Look, like I said, suppose you go out to make a picture of your friend, OK? Then you see a beautiful flower, OK? And you pass it by because you have another goal and you miss…

Beta: I believe that picture you are going to take can be as beautiful…

Gamma: And that one of the flower can be spoiled as well?

Kappa: Alpha is right. A creator has to be ready…

Beta: Actually, yes, you don’t know for sure what happens in the end because it wouldn’t be creation otherwise.

Gamma: But this equally applies to both pictures! You aren’t just “taking a picture” if you want it to turn out well.

Delta: Thus, there has to be a goal of some sort.

Kappa: OK, suppose you know what you want, I mean a picture… OK, you have a goal… You even have two goals.

Delta: I know. The goal number one―to get something special on Film. The goal number two―to make it beautiful.

Alpha: Here we go! The goal number three―to make it quick!

Beta: Of course―to catch a moment when one and two meet.

Kappa: Let me finish, guys… Actually you helped a lot. Let me finish now.

Delta: Go ahead.

Kappa: What if you realize all the three goals but cannot make it? You click, click, click and nothing good comes out. What then?

Alpha: What then? You are a bad photographer then. That’s it.

Beta: I got it… You can know what you want, you know how you want it, you try to be quick, and you miss because do not have skills… Is that where you were heading, Kappa?

Kappa: Maybe… I’m not sure. Just asked because it’s kind of an obvious question to ask.

Delta: I remember it was Beta’s assumption in the very beginning that a talented author can achieve what he wants, right?

Alpha: What if he wants something stupid?

Gamma: “Stupid” is not an issue here. Stupid can be beautiful.

Alpha: Have an example?

Gamma: All right, have you watched Chicago?

Alpha: I did, so?

Kappa: Ha, Roxie is stupid and beautiful! That’s right!

Alpha: She is not that stupid.

Beta: Hey, let’s return one step back. It was interesting. Alpha said it could happen, I mean a picture get spoiled if the photographer could have a trivial aesthetic goal or what?

Teacher: It is correct.

Alpha: I didn’t know I am that smart!

Gamma: Remember that movie The Majestic? When the producer suggested changes to the movie scenario? In the beginning and in the end?

Kappa: Yeah, yea! He said such stupid things!

Delta: And he could have them all done!

Creativity and New Form

Teacher: Looks like we are approaching another summary.

Beta: May I?

Teacher: Sure.

Beta: In order to create, an author needs, firstly, to have a subject, like he wants to make a picture of someone. Secondly, to have an aesthetic idea of how he wants it, how to make it beautiful. Thirdly, the aesthetic idea has to be kind of unique. Fourthly, to be skillful enough to implement these three. Fifthly, to catch a moment when all four meet.

Delta: Isn’t the fifth point included in the fourth one?

Beta: Why?

Delta: You said catch, right? Isn’t that about a skill?

Beta: No, I actually meant a moment of time. It should happen. It is not enough to be ready. You are ready to catch a moment, but the moment must occur, right?

Delta: Got it.

Alpha: I can imagine a photographer saying to himself “I’ll do it beautiful such and such, blah, blah, blah…”

Gamma: Maybe yes, maybe no.

Alpha: You make a quick shot when you see it is worthy. This is it.

Kappa: And what happens if you don’t like the picture?

Alpha: Then you do it again. That’s it. You do not theorize here.

Beta: Of course you do. You ask yourself what was wrong and do it again.

Delta: Ha, you guess! That’s what you do!

Alpha: Ah, long time.

Gamma: Why not? You guess and check it, and guess again and check it again… until you have gotten what you like most,… until you’re satisfied. On the other hand, they say Mozart never did drafts, he just wrote his music.

Kappa: But others do drafts, and their art can be no less talented, I think. Like I know that Degas made countless sculpture models for his paintings and was never satisfied with them. He even destroyed them, driving his agent crazy. And other people have always considered these sculptures to be genius works.

Alpha: Mozart was a genius.

Delta: You can do guessing and checking in your mind and nobody will ever know how many drafts you actually did.

Gamma: And you can do it fast.

Alpha: Yeah, a thousand strokes per second.

Strike, strike, strike, strike, strike…

Teacher: Is this really so important?

Alpha: What?

Teacher: All these technicalities,… how it finally comes to perfection.

Alpha: I didn’t start this.

Beta: It is interesting although is not relevant to the initial question, I agree.

Teacher: What, in your opinion, is the most important point in your summary, Beta?

Beta: I cannot skip any one of them.

Kappa: Yes, you can. Just ask how necessary each of them is.

Beta: They all are necessary. You drop any single point and you will not get a work of art.

Kappa: But you really don’t know how to make a beautiful picture in the beginning, right? How does your aesthetic goal work then?

Beta: And if one doesn’t have this goal, how can a beautiful picture happen then?

Kappa: What if you wanted to make one picture but happened to spot another subject?

Beta: That means I just changed the subject, but I could not skip it at all, right? You cannot make a picture of nothing.

Alpha: Why don’t you make “nothing” your subject then?

Beta: Still have to have a subject.

Delta: OK, what if we ask another question. Can these points of yours be applied to art only?

Alpha: The initial question was about creativity in general, not about arts.

Gamma: Yes, and we even have questions, whether art is always creative and whether all we asked about art could be applied to non-arts and vice versa.

Teacher: That is right.

Kappa: Listen, Beta. One can be really,really non-creative even having some subject, right?

Beta: …Yes, obviously.

Gamma: Can one be non-creative and have a creative goal?

Beta: You mean one can want to create something? Just want?

Kappa: Yes, and this will be number two, agree?

Teacher: I am recalling that Beta said the idea must be about how to make something beautiful.

Gamma: If we are talking about arts!

Delta: Yeah, we can drop this requirement about beauty.

Beta: I feel like you are going to leave me bone dry.

Alpha: You will survive, don’t worry.

Kappa: Hold it. Number three―one can have excellent skills…

Beta: And accomplish nothing. I give up.

Delta: Wait,wait. You cannot have the third point in place and be noncreative!

Gamma: That the idea should be unique? This works by definition, doesn’t it?

Alpha: How will one know that one’s idea is unique?

Kappa: What do you mean?

Alpha: Someone could have had the same idea earlier.

Kappa: What difference does it make?

Delta: If you come up with something new for yourself, it does not make you less creative if some other guy did it before.

Beta: Definitely… You are seeing something new and you know it is new.

Kappa: Seeing?!

Alpha: If you are seeing something, then everyone can see it.

Kappa: How about a photograph?

Alpha: No, it’s different… I told you many times, you have to be quick.

Beta: Or else? It disappears?

Alpha: Not necessarily,… but other people won’t see it your way.

Delta: You said if you see it, everyone can…

Kappa: No one will!… Until you point it out! This is how it works for one. For two, I think we were talking about some kind of inner seeing… like we were discussing earlier. You guess, you try, say don’t like it, do it again until you like it. It’s like you’re seeing something in your mind and try to match it…

Teacher: What is it?… Assuming the subject is here… and the subject is seen for every passerby. Remember that flower Alpha suggested? But you, creator, have to see something invisible for others, right?… What is it?

Beta: It is “how!” I said it in my summary! It is how you want it.

Gamma: And what is this “how” anyway?

Kappa: Can we hypothesize that it is how you organize your subject?…

Delta: OK, let’s take that flower. What do I have to do? Organize things around it in my mind?

Alpha: You do nothing around it! You shoot! Quickly! This is it! You don’t have time for long discussions, calculations, plans, checks, whatever! You just shoot! End of story.

Beta: Listen, Alpha. Why are you skipping everything we have been discussing and repeating the same thing like a parrot over and over and over?

Kappa: Beta!

Beta: OK, OK, sorry.

Teacher: I think we have gotten to a very interesting point. At the very moment of creating, you arrange things in your mind in some unique-to-yourself way. I think this is the essence of creative process.

Kappa: Uh, you did a summary this time.

Teacher: It was too tempting… and exciting.

Beta: I believe this formula can be applied to things aside from art as well.

Alpha: To passing a test.

Gamma: Why not? If you try to recreate a piece of knowledge… By the way, Alpha, it was you who offered the theme of test. Maybe you have a say on that?

Teacher: Actually, I do not see what the specific situation of the test adds to our analysis. Maybe we can talk about recalling things in general… What do you think?

Delta: We already have a question about seeing. Recalling seems to be in line.

Kappa: If we add the arrangement thing to Beta’s summary, we will have a pretty decent tool to research different examples.

Teacher: This is absolutely perfect! Who is to implement the idea?

Gamma: I can do it: A creation happens when a creator catches a form so that he can arrange his subject in some new way. He has to be skillful enough to implement the new arrangement.

Teacher: A form? This is new!

Beta: This is the word! A new arrangement of some subject and the new form that things get organized into. Form sounds better.

Alpha: Better than what?

Beta: Arrangement.

Delta: Arrangement sounds more like the process and form sounds like the result. Both are suitable in a way.

Alpha: If you say “arrange things in some new way” it is just long for “create.”

Kappa: For me these are not simply “long” and “short” because the long formulation shows how it really works while the term “create” just names the process.

Going after Examples

Gamma: By the way, sometimes they coincide literally.

Delta: What do you mean?

Gamma: Invention… Say, an inventor tries to create a new engine. He has to assemble some known things in some new form.

Kappa: Don’t you think that the idea of a new engine has to come in his mind first?

Gamma: For example?

Kappa: Well,… I think I don’t have any specific knowledge…

Delta: Jets! My dad says it was revolutionary change in aviation!

Alpha: Ah. The Chinese invented gun powder rockets looong ago. And there were aircraft invented. What it took was just to join these two ideas.

Kappa: Just to join? That easy?

Gamma: “Join”! See?

Alpha: What?

Gamma: What “what”? You take two different things: aircraft and rocket, and arrange them into one idea―jet! See?

Alpha: What I’m trying to say is that it was not so horribly new.

Kappa: What is “horribly new” for you? Something born out of nothing?

How New Content Emerges

Beta: Wait,wait. I’ve got a very interesting assumption! A new idea equals to the new form in which to arrange some known things!

Alpha: Is it not what we were discussing for the last half an hour?

Delta: Five minutes at most… After Gamma gave away her last definition.

Alpha: All right, let it be five minutes! What’s Beta’s discovery, anyway?

Delta: I am not up to it either, to be frank… Beta, can you elaborate?

Beta: I realized that a new idea is totally equal to the new form…

Gamma: Totally?

Beta: Yes.

Kappa: OK. This jet,… this new idea. It is a new form, but it is not just a “new form.” It is still the new form in which to arrange old things,… a rocket and an aircraft. Can we separate them from each other?… I mean the form and those things?

Teacher: I’m starting to understand Beta’s insight. I would have thought that a new idea relates to some new content rather than a new form… I would have before,… not now.

Gamma: It is difficult to keep in mind all these nuances, but in any case, it becomes clearer. That new form is the essence of creativity.

Beta: A new form as a result and as a goal… Yes, it is the essence, I agree.

Kappa: Aha! When you arrange old things in a new form, you get new


Beta: Wow, that resonates! Can we put it this way? You get a new content by arranging the old one in a new form?

Teacher: I say wow too! You guys surprise me!

Alpha: OK, how does this apply to our third question?

Kappa: Is it…

Alpha: That doing arts can be non-creative.

Delta: It applies very well. If you are not arranging old things in some new form while painting, or singing, or writing…

Alpha: New to whom?

Gamma: We talked about this already. If it is new to you, then you are creating.

Alpha: But if it is not new for others?

Beta: Bad luck. Bad for your business. So what? Our subject is creativity, not business.

Can Copying Be Creative?

Alpha: All right, how can copying be creative?

Beta: Well, let’s see…

Delta: If you see everything in a painting, you can copy it!

Alpha: All right, you see everything! How is that creative? Do you arrange old content in a new form here?

Teacher: I think it is possible.

Alpha: How?

Gamma: It is probably like investigation. You have to restore all the details in one right picture for yourself.

Alpha: But this is different with a painting! You already see all the details on it!

Delta: You look on them. It does not mean you see them.

Alpha: What does it mean on earth!

Gamma: Look, Alpha, when it comes to investigation, different people see different things although they all look at the same crime scene!

Kappa: Yeah, they all look at the same scene but see different things… Yeah… What does this give us? They arrange things in different ways in their own minds!

Beta: Hey! You’ve got a goood point!

Kappa: Wait,wait. What is it? It does not matter what you are looking at? I mean, whatever you are looking at, you have to arrange what you see in some form in your mind…

Delta: And if this is new for you, then you are creating! Wow!

Alpha: Someone got lost here.

Delta: Who might it be?

Kappa: Come on, guys.

Teacher: So copying can be creative?

Delta: Looks like it can be even more creative than the original work.

Alpha: Oooops.

Gamma: How is that?

Beta: May I?

Delta: Go ahead.

Beta: Say, you arrange things in some new form. This means you invent a new idea, right? Now say, you try to understand another person’s idea, OK? You have to do the same, right? Plus, you have to make sure that the idea you are creating matches that one you are trying to grasp. So, you are kind of doing two arrangements at once.

Kappa: Ha! This is why people do not understand each other!

Gamma:… So, we have gotten the first answer to the last question.

Teacher: Really?

Gamma: It can be said now that creativity in arts is of the same nature as creativity in human communication.

Delta: I cannot believe it. It was so fuzzy in the beginning!

Alpha: Aha. I would say it has been.

Delta: Actually, we saw that the same creativity is in invention as in arts, like with jets. That example that Gamma gave us was very helpful.

Gamma: I see no difference with investigation either, by the way.

Delta: Yeah, it is all the same.

Beta: So, creativity is all the same whenever we come across it―in arts, in technology, in investigation, in pure human communication, everywhere! The only things which change are the subject and the role of the outcome.

Teacher: And this is always arranging of known things in a new form?

Kappa: I also cannot believe how clear it is now!

Alpha: OK, you guys have come to the conclusion that copying is even more creative than the original work. Is that not weird?

Kappa: Hmm. It actually sounds very weird.

Delta: Why don’t we think this over?

Gamma: Alpha, what do you think?

Teacher: Gamma, what about you?

Alpha: This new form… you all are talking about,… it does not exist when it gets created for the first time, but it does when it gets grasped by someone else, not the creator.

Delta: It is obvious, but what does “gets grasped” mean? We saw it as a creative action too.

Alpha: As creative as the original creation itself?

Beta: I don’t see how we can measure this.

Kappa: My dad says it takes sometimes centuries for humankind to understand some new ideas, inventions, or art that some individuals came up with. Understanding is creative!

Delta: And it is the same about understanding between people in everyday life. It was your example, Kappa, right?

Journalist and Writer: Going in Circles

Teacher: What if we leave this “measurement problem” for a while? I am eager to hear what you think about one of Beta’s assumptions.

Gamma: Which one?

Teacher: That creativity is ever-same. The only things that change are the subject and the real meaning of the outcome.

Alpha: That is more than one question.

Teacher: True.

Alpha: Which one do you want to discuss then?

Teacher: I am curious about examples of outcome.

Beta: What do you mean?

Teacher: How it works in different areas of human activity.

Gamma: Like we discussed already investigation, invention, photography?

Teacher: Yes, like those.

Delta: Do you have something specific in mind?

Teacher: I am not sure yet. Cannot we collect some examples together?

Beta: What are we looking for? I am not sure either.

Teacher: All right, what about journalism?

Gamma: What about it?

Beta: Actually, the first thing that comes to mind is that a journalist does not create facts, does he?

Kappa: So?

Alpha: It is like photography.

Delta: Quick shot, eh?

Kappa: Oh, God! Won’t you ever stop it?

Alpha: That’s all right. I don’t care and I don’t mind.

Beta: You don’t mind what?

Alpha: The quick shot is still there.

Delta: But seriously, Alpha, I fail to see it there. A journalist gets the task to go somewhere and bring back a story. Say a car accident happened. The paper editor sends some guy to cover the story.

Beta: Well, the question stands as usual. One journalist makes up the story that nobody wants to read, and another one does so that people rip the paper out of each other’s hands to read it!

Delta: I am not talking about “made up stories”!

Beta: Actually, I am not either. But whatever the facts are, you have to arrange them in a story! Different journalists would do this differently, right? It can be terribly boring, and it can be incredibly exciting, right? And facts on the ground still would be the same, right?

Delta: Yeah.

Kappa: What about the “quick shot”?

Beta: What about it?

Kappa: I agree with Alpha that journalism does resemble Photography. You have to reflect real things, but you can do it in different ways.

Gamma: Could it be only in those cases when a journalist does not have a specific task and encounters something extraordinary?

Beta: But this changes nothing!

Alpha: What do you mean “nothing”?

Beta: I don’t see how this specific case changes anything about what we understood of creativity itself. If it is always the arranging of known things in a new form, then all of circumstances mean nothing.

Kappa: But we are exploring how it works in different circumstances now. This, in fact, was the question.

Beta:… Agreed. So, what about the journalist and his story?

Alpha: And his news.

Gamma: I see no difference between that and fiction writing.

Alpha: Fiction is the same as news?

Gamma: Wait, let me finish. I just want to compare the two.

Kappa: It is interesting.

Teacher: It is. I am dying to hear.

Gamma: All right. Obviously, the creativity itself is the same here. Both the writer and the journalist have to arrange things in some attractive form…

Alpha: Except the writer makes facts up.

Delta: Not necessarily.

Gamma: Yes, you are right, both of you… Let me finish. They both have to create stories to engage their readers to make them feel involved…

Kappa: This is right! This is perfectly right!

Gamma: Yeah, I know. OK, they make up stories, they try to engage readers. There is no differences so far. But the real value of their stories, the real job is different.

Alpha: I didn’t get that. It is all the same, it is all the same, it is all the same, it is different!

Gamma: Look, when the journalist engages his readers, he leads them to the facts. The writer engages people to some general feelings, or trends, or ideas…

Teacher: I believe both things can be involved in both genres. The writer can use real events and names while the journalist can talk about some general ideas also.

Beta: But they use those differently!

Alpha: How?

Beta: The writer uses real facts to put forth his general ideas, and the journalist uses general ideas to put forth facts!

Gamma: Maybe… It is necessary for the journalist to engage the public into the events happening right away, and he can use whatever he wants to do it.

Beta: Hmm. Actually the same thing can happen to the writer too. He can write about the past or the future but imply present problems.

Kappa: Can we say that the journalist is bound to the present in terms of content and writer is not? People just know that the journalist is to draw them into immediate events. This is like a rule of the game. I think Gamma and Beta said the same.

Gamma: Yes, the writer and the journalist just have different goals.

Teacher: So despite the fact that they both do essentially equal work, it is judged and valued by the public on different bases?

Beta: This is what the public would think.

Teacher: What do you mean?

Beta: It is simple. If they both do the same in terms of art, namely engage their readers in the events they portray, then the public gets involved in the same manner. The public fools itself about the real value of a fictitious story and the real value of one in a newspaper.

Kappa: They all are fools, ha ha ha. But listen, Beta, you contradict yourself. You said a few minutes back that two stories have different relations to reality, didn’t you?

Alpha: The writer can write about his dreams, what the world could be like. The journalist is writing about reality.

Beta: Yeah, Kappa, you are right. It is clear that the goals are different, but the real jobs are so similar, that I go back and forth and am going in circles.

Gamma: We are all going in circles, but I got a kind of funny idea about journalism. It is impossible to write about the present. It is always about the past, a near past, but still the past.

Beta: Physically. But people do perceive it like it is happening now. Like it can all be fixed right away.

Alpha: Come on! Fixed! Somebody got killed―go fix that!

Gamma: It is always a kind of illusion. However, like Kappa said,

it is a rule of the game, the journalism game. A reader should get the feeling that action should be taken, that something can be fixed, that justice must be restored.

Teacher: All right, so let there be another circle. Is it not the same about fiction?

Alpha: Like in Stargate, ha ha ha.

Gamma: Like in Stargate. The difference is that those fictitious events substitute real ones, and thus, they stand for general ideas while in a newspaper, it is directly about what it says. Ah! All of this was already said today!

Kappa: Yes, but it is amazing how differently things look in the beginning of a discussion and after a while. My first impression was that fiction and newspaper articles have nothing in common. Then you start to analyze them. The journalist writes about current events, but the writer can very well write about these too. The journalist wants an action to be taken, and the writer can desire this too. The writer organizes his reality so as to engage the public, the journalist does the same. The writer can turn to the past or future, the journalist can do the same to make his point. The only real difference we saw is how the public perceives their writings. If it is fiction, the public gets involved in fictitious events and feels easy about them. If it is news, the public gets involved in thinking about the immediate physical reality. Well, I am asking myself if this is really so, and I am in doubt again.

Teacher: All right. I think this is enough for today. Thank you all.

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