McNiff begins part one with the statement of “we establish these conditions with opinions about who can and cannot create, what is good and not good, and who has the authority to make these standards.” Our enculturation into our family system and our roles within society begin in this manner. Here the author suggests what is most invasive is the message which continues to be passed along generation after generation, that only certain people are creative. McNiff reinforces everyone has access to creativity, yet for some are unable to use freely as there are “restrictive ideas about the nature of creative intelligence, how it can be cultivated and taught, who can do it and who cannot, and how it changes the world.” We have a huge amount of misconceived ideas about creativity and to tackle these all at once would be overwhelming. He first states his clarity about everyone has creativity, yet shares how our society builds into our socialization the natural resistances to people “risking and acting outside the norm.” In other words, people don’t want to risk something they don’t know the outcome of. Especially when they might be in an adult stage of their human development. McNiff believes our main obstacle is not our socialization but our own beliefs systems one holds about who can create and what is good or bad about creating, as well as who is the authority over creativity. He expands this view to include how one not only sees their creativity but also how they perceive life. This would include how one was introduced to creativity with color, painting, drawing, and messages such as “don’t do it, you don’t have time, it’s a waste of time and money.” He concludes the chapter with a reminder that we never create alone, as the elements of the creative process begin with engaging within one’s environment.
I encourage you to buy a copy of Imagination in Action for a better understanding of your own creative process. Whether you're a master artist or beginning artist, this is an excellent book.