I don’t want to more effectively target my audience, increase my marketing potential, clarify my aspirations, attend a new webinar on corporate risk management, drive more traffic to my site, deliver measurable results, build a better wealth portfolio with US investments, or take advantage of outstanding new deals on Dell Optiplex desktops.
I want to walk on a white sunlit beach and paddle in the water.
There is good science behind this: when faced with a drab and uninteresting environment, the brain shuts down some of its processing. But when faced with a beautiful environment, the brain responds immediately with activity in several different areas, giving rise to enthusiasm, along with the “joined up” thinking and big ideas so valued in business, as these images from Science Daily show:
Here’s an image of brain activity when viewing ugly sights – imagine a stack of red taillights stretching into the distance on a filthy stretch of tarmac, or crawling along in front of rain-sodden concrete and plastic 1970′s monoliths or, in my case, an in-tray full of spam:
This is why artists try to surround themselves with environments they perceive as beautiful. Gauguin was an unremarkable artist, working for the stock exchange and chafing at Paris society and family life, before he headed for the South Seas, via an adventure on the Panama Canal which whetted his appetite for a search for paradise. His disappointment at finding he’d arrived one hundred years too late, as the French had colonised the natives into a weird caricature of western modest dress and orthodox religion, was mitigated by his excitement at the freedom and panoramas he had longed for.
This wider brain activity may have given rise to the mysticism which began to seep into his paintings from this period. A rogue he certainly was, but creativity and this mystical feeling were his saving grace. Without art, his name would be lost to history. While outwardly sunny and bright, the appeal of his work is without doubt the unspoken darker, more mysterious emotions which hover around his paintings from this period.
“For if in any manner we can stimulate this instinct, new passages are opened for us into nature, the mind flows into and through things hardest and highest, and the metamorphosis is possible.” ..Emerson