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What do you think is creativity, born or not?

  1. Jan 29, 2005 #1
    What do you think about the creativity about certain people, for example Einstain, Da Vinci, Moxart, Picasso, is their creativity born or acquired during thei lives as genius?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 29, 2005 #2
    You might think of deleting this thread, since it's in the Politics forum, and putting it in something like the Biology of Philosophy forum...
  4. Jan 29, 2005 #3


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    Good idea.
  5. Jan 29, 2005 #4


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    Do I have to take an exclusive either/or stand here?
  6. Jan 29, 2005 #5
    You can't deny that creativity comes naturally to some people, but I would say creativity is also enhanced by learning. Since to create you must use already existing material to make something new, learning new material would provide you with more options. The actual ability to use the options you have is probably genetic.
  7. Jan 29, 2005 #6
    Interesting question, adrian. What about the possibility that these (and other) examples are born with a disposition toward creativity, but that they disposition would have come to nothing were it not for their exposure to the things they would pursue.

    As an example of something similar: humans (for the most part) are born with a disposition toward language (or, at least, a disposition toward certain language-games) and socializing. However, if they never meet another human, that disposition may never become anything more (and, indeed, may be stifled from ever developing, even of they are later introduced to society).
  8. Jan 29, 2005 #7
    In human development there is usually more
    than an either, or an or.

    Necessity, hailed as the mother of invention
    Is the result of a lack, or impending destruction.

    While the child exposed to a nurturing vacuum
    Well fed, outgrows the bell jar, bursts to reach
    For the things that in their turn, assuage
    Curiosity, for the reacher.

    Seeking out the Universe
    The Universe is pulled to the beseecher.
    Desire is an accomplished teacher.

    An affinity for infinity
    Is a ticket to a boundless shore
    Where waves of question
    Match waves of reflection
    And waves of existence
    Meet with our questioning insistence,
    And this beach is exactly the same
    And yet a singularly different version
    Of paradise.

    It is a lengthy engagement
    That leads to this marriage,
    The rings are witnessed
    Rather than exchanged,
    Fidelity is the faithful agreement
    To bring full attention to
    Every energy, form, and relation
    Agreement to join fully
    And bring no end to the ever
    Evolving equation, and
    Pass on the edge of the puzzle
    As it is known at the moment
    Of surrender.

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2005
  9. Feb 3, 2005 #8
    Highly imaginative people probably also have a hard time "catching on" or "fitting in" in life due to making too many mistakes, but once in awhile a stupid thing is even better, little things like Einstain, are too funny to pass up.
  10. Mar 17, 2005 #9
    There is absolutely nothing complicated about this.

    Creativity can be cultivated to any level with rigorous and diligent dream journalling and independent lucid dream study. You will risk losing sleep, but if you apply the scientific method to noticing when you are dreaming, you will gain the ability to be in direct experiential contact with your imagination.

    I am of the opinion that creative genius lies within everyone of us. The secret to having it, I think, is sustaining it in appropriate contexts. Einstein, Da Vinci, Mozart, and Picasso produced a lot of work, but not all of it was revolutionary.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2005
  11. Mar 17, 2005 #10
    Since we are expressing opinions here, I'll give you my opinion (and it's worth exactly what you have paid for it :rofl: :rofl: ) "Genius" is a word invented by people to explain why others have manage to figure something out which they haven't been able to think out for themselves. It is little more than an excuse for their failure to think. :biggrin:

    When I was young, I was told that intelligence was a measure of what you could intellectually do with what you knew and that it became difficult to measure when what people knew became more extensive; that's why the measure is only meaningful with children. Now, true or false, that is what I always thought people were talking about. With regard to that perspective, an idiot savant is a person who can bring up vast amounts of information but can't do any intellectual processing on that information at all. :yuck:

    That leads to problems in our educational system. Measuring a persons ability to think things out is very very difficult as opposed to measuring the amount of information they can regurgitate. So our educational system bases advancement on knowledge, not on ability to think. Idiot savants have a marked advantage there. It has been my experience that, the higher you go in the academic community, the more people know and the less they can do with it. :grumpy:

    No one in my family ever had an education worth talking about and my mother told me that "you learn more by listening than you do by talking" so I spent a lot of time listening on the presumption those who were talking were smarter than I was. Having gone all the way to a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, I have discovered a strange fact. Every single time where I have managed to learn everything my mentor of the period knew, he turned out to be a complete idiot. That is, he put no thought at all into trying to understand what he knew. :cry: In fact, I onced asked my thesis advisor a question which I thought was quite serious. His answer just astonished me, "only geniuses think about things like that and, beleive me, you're no genius!" :confused: That was the event which started me thinking about what a genius was! I long ago came to the conclusion that a genius was an educated person who had not lost interest in thinking. :rofl:

    When we are young, the only way to avoid mistakes is to think things out carefully. As we learn more, we don't have to think things out near as often. Finally, if we live long enough an learn enough, it isn't necessary to think at all. That last stage is usually called senility! :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: I can say that because I am one! :biggrin:

    Knowledge is power! And, as all power can be abused, so can the power of knowledge. The most common abuse of the power of knowledge is to use it to hide stupidity. :wink:

    Now, that is nothing more than an old man's opinion! :biggrin:

    Have fun -- Dick
  12. Mar 17, 2005 #11
    I'd have to say that imagination plays a large part in the creative process. Trying to conceptualize an idea, be it rooted in scientific theory or an artistic work, stems from this imagination. Sure, putting together a musical masterpiece does require some knowledge of music theory and chord placement, but it is entirely possible to do it alone and without any experience(unlike in science where everything is based on factual knowledge and what sets science apart from art).

    It seems that some things also just come naturally to people. I myself am creative musically but not visually, i.e. I cannot create a painting but I can create music from nothing. Then again, im more auditory-prone anyway.

    edit: Does this mean that I cannot create a good painting? Probably not. But it means that I have to work extra hard to do so.
  13. Mar 17, 2005 #12


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    Suggestion: people who are agreed by others to be creative tend to think that creativity can be taught; it seems easy to them. People who aren't creative think it must be inborn; why else wouldn't they have it?
  14. Mar 17, 2005 #13
    Doctordick, I totally agree! I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. ;)

    They don't appear to have it because they have settled into thinking habits that preclude its development.

    I was not a creative person at all when I was younger, but I was supremely jealous of those who were. I was the best in my class at math, but that wasn't enough. I looked at some of the work my friends were doing and I could only think, "where is that coming from?" I didn't relate it at the time, but I was also interested in dreams. Where did dreams come from? Why do I forget them? Over the years, I've come to realize that forgetting dreams and not having access to creative faculties are cognitive decisions along a figurative continuum of creativity.

    As an aside, I'm very distraught at how the New Age industry has picked up on this as well and has spun it off into volumes of self-help books that fill people's minds with fluff. There is no system that one needs to follow, there is no specific interpretation to accept, no symbols to decode,.. all one needs to do is journal their nighttime experiences, and take an active, critical, and experimental role in them.

    Over the course of my dream studies, the "need to create" grew to become insatiable. (The Freudian connection of dreams with desire is noteworthy here, along with the connection of dreams and creativity, because it suggests everyone has an inborn desire to create). I started to draw without recourse. It didn't matter if what I made was garbage. If I didn't like it, I would do something different. I must've been doing something right, because by the time I was in high school I was an artist for the school newspaper and had a regular comic strip.

    Unfortunately, one has to be careful, for thinking habits can settle just about anywhere. One can easily neglect further advancement in studies like math for the more attractive and immediate rewards offered by aesthetic creativity. And I believe this is what happened to me. For this I share the blame with school.

    I am a very harsh critic of the school system. I think we need less school, not more. Schools dumb students down by authoritatively selecting what they should learn, how they should learn, the pace at which they learn, the context in which they learn, the people whom they learn with, and the teachers they learn from. This is just too much power. It's a factory for complacency.

    For my pre-school and kindergarten years I attended what's known as a Montessori school. And I am extremely proud of it, and saddened that I had not continued there. I learned how to write cursive when I was 4-years-old. 4-years-old! Cursive! Our conventional schools by comparison are extremely inferior. There is barely, if any, room for individual creative development. Conventional math education is no exception, lacking creative understanding and personally applicable contexts.

    To turn the question around for a bit, are we born with math skills or not? I cannot say definitively. I don't remember what it was like to learn math because it came to me naturally. But now that I'm no longer a "math natural," I am inclined to think that if it can be forgotten, it would've had to have been learned in the first place.

    So, I'd like to submit my life experience as evidence that creativity can indeed be learned, as can mathematical talent, just as simply as they can both be neglected.

    I apologize if I have offended some of the teachers here by criticizing the school system. But I know that you know more than anyone that all learning in the end is directed by the learner.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2005
  15. Mar 29, 2005 #14
    Use your imagination... don't make it so complicated it's mind over matter...if you expect something odd to pop into your head it will if you expect that you have to be born with it it won't, and now that I think of it there are greatly more and even more creative people that were never famous and are not on that list, although having a fair degree of creativity increases the odds of being famous (if that's what you want) in some fields would it not?
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 29, 2005
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