Creativity, Spirituality, & Making A Buck, by David Nichtern
If this book is instructive, it is not so much instructive in the way that someone who is creative should live but rather instructive on a certain type of person and approach that is all too common in the contemporary world, namely someone who is hostile to Christianity and traditional ways who demonstrates the self-deception that is common among the left. This book is indeed an attempt by a blind guide to make a buck on the longing of people to feel as if they are creative people in touch with the spiritual world. The book is peppered with references to people like Michelle Obama and Richard Gere and various yogis and Maya Angelou that demonstrate the author’s belief that he is far more insightful than he happens to be. He’s one of those people who cannot be bothered to stay married to their spouses but have the nerve to talk about how enlightened their ethical lives are in keeping with principles of karma. In short, this book is a monumental ego trip written by a classic leftist hypocrite that is a revelation in what it says about the author and others of his ilk and not about the elevated moral principles of life and the worth of creativity that the author has no evident expertise in.
This book is a bit more than 200 pages and it is organized into six parts and 31 short chapters, along with other material. The book begins with a preface and a note on how to use this book, which might more profitably be used as a doorstop or paperweight or something to prop up a wobbly chair or table than actually being read. The first part of the book consists of basic principles (I) involving man’s position in the middle (1), mindfulness (2), contentment (3), thriving (4), and synchronicity (5). The author gets down to business (II) by looking at clarifying one’s offering (6), taking it to the marketplace (7), looking at the business body (8), and providing some various business jargon (9). The author follows with some business principles (III) like never negotiating against oneself (10), keeping it simple (11), protecting one’s intellectual property (12), and being authentic (13). The author gives some advice on interpersonal skills and ethical content (IV) like not blaming or whining (14), appreciating others (15), not lying, cheating, or stealing (16), being merciful to others (17), and viewing things in an enlightened hierarchy (18). There are discussions about personal attitude (V), including impermanence (19), the illusory nature of Buddhist reality (20), monitoring one’s energy flow (21), being friendly with yourself (22), avoiding self-deception (23), mindfulness again (24), and overcoming the scarcity mentality (25). The last part of the book discusses creativity (VI), by urging the reader to forget everything they had read in this book (26), being daring (27), knowing where one is on the timeline (28), leaving some space (29), mastering one’s crafts (30), and letting go (31). The book then ends with an epilogue, acknowledgements and thanks, and an appendix that gives instructions on how to engage in various Buddhist meditations, along with slogans and some information about the author.
To be fair, this book does at least discuss all three of the points it seems to make in its title. The author’s view (and it happens to be my own) is that human beings are innately creative and that if we live we have been able to be creative in dealing with the conditions of life that we happen to come across in our existence. The author, sadly, does not take his interest in the universality of human creativity as indicating a deeper moral purpose to creation or the value of paying attention to our Creator. Likewise, the author does spend some time talking about making a buck, but mostly either in talking about he made millions from one of his songs and then how he makes a living as a charlatan profiting off of the interest of others in New Age babble, or alternatively in positing a view that comes out of “the secret” with a belief in the efficacy of our own imaginations in bringing wealth and success to us through optimism and belief. Most of the book focuses on Buddhist spirituality, and here the author demonstrates an ethical view that offers either fortune cookie mantras or ethical principles that amount to obvious general revelation, and no improvement on the Judeo-Christian moral law that the author and others of his ilk are so eager to reject.