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What Are We Looking For at SXSW?

Austin Kleon

Daniel McInerny - published on 03/14/14 - updated on 06/07/17

why are we so fascinated by creativity in the first place? Why is it that so many people in so many different fields and occupations aspire to be more like artists?

Why, in other words, does SXSW grow bigger every year?

Why is a Pixar executive publishing in the Harvard Business Review?

I would like to suggest at least one part of the answer to these questions, and that is that our attraction to creativity is a response to the oppressiveness we feel–often unconsciously and inarticulately–living in a scientific age characterized by mechanization, de-personalization, and routine. To take up Walker Percy’s metaphor quoted above, our world is often like a toxic mine shaft. It’s not always a healthy place for the life of the mind and the aspirations of the heart.

21st-century Western life, for all of its truly wonderful advantages (no one is denying them), nonetheless is not well-designed to complement the human spirit that desperately wants to transcend the workaday world of earning a living, paying the taxes, and doing the laundry. It does not always make space for that part of us that wants to go beyond the workaday, where we can play, love, laugh, pray, and construct silly and delightful things.    

Such as poems redacted from articles in the newspaper with a permanent marker.

Daniel McInernyis the editor of the English edition of Aleteia. He is also the author of the comic novel, High Concepts: A Hollywood Nightmare, as well as two books in the Kingdom of Patria children’s series, Stout Hearts & Whizzing Biscuits and Stoop of Mastodon Meadow. You are invited to contact him at, find him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @danielmcinerny. You can also visit his author blog,

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