Creativity is a balance between risk and security - and why our current societal model gets it wrong

It's an interesting idea - that "the biggest part of creativity is negotiating risk". As the lovely video above implies, part of that negotiation involves building your team, and establishing trust  (even if it's between two entirely different kinds of small mammals). The "negotiation" is partly about piecing together enough equipment to make the leap possible (note how the dog maintains his neck strength when the baby steps on it - knowing he's being used as a tool, somehow). 

But even when you've assembled your crew, you still have to make the assessment that the risk - achieving enough balance and control to attain your goal - is worth taking. Even if it could result in a very painful clatter to the floor, and a siren wail to Mum or Dad. The moment of "creation" - a pathway to grub that wasn't open before - is undeniable. But it's also a considered balancing of risk and security.

Also note that it's probably a parent or carer who's videoing the whole venture. They almost certainly have experience of both dog and child. And because of this experience, they are willing to observe - because they have made their own "negotiations" with all the possibilities of the moment, of achievement and failure. The child also knows, probably, that they are in the presence of a carer or authority, who can guarantee their ultimate safety. 

How much security, how much risk, does a healthy and flourishing life need? What is the right balance or calibration between the two? One of our heavy arguments for universal basic income is rooted in what play theory tells us about healthy development, whether child or adult. We take creative risks, or dare to learn and have new experiences, if we believe that the results won't be fatal or injurious.

Set at the appropriate level, UBI pushes up the level of economic security across a society. This allows us to have more freedom and autonomy, to act with more openness, creativity and thoughtfulness in our lives, if we aren't entirely on the hamster-wheel of the jobs market.

This "securitisation" is very different from the "insecuritisation" that the capitalism of the last 30-40 years has sought to inject into our lives. With neoliberalism, the slider goes right over to the risk side - in the belief that the scrabble to survive in the marketplace (or if ejected from it, the scrabble to get back in), is a needed jolt to our complacency, a warning against dependency.

Yet with our rising indicators of depression, psychosomatic disorders, suicide, never mind absenteeism from work, it seems that neoliberalism generates as much of a recoil from the wild rigours of the marketplace, as a joyful embrace of its thrills and spills. 

We look at this enterprising, agile and hungry child, and we might wonder if she or he is sparked with that inner urge to endeavour and ingenuity, marking them off from the norm. Or we could look at this beautifully banal, and well-furnished moment of developmental play. We could consider the caring network it takes for this child to raid the fridge. And we could ponder what the collective conditions might be that could keep such vitality alive and possible throughout our lives.