Quora answer: What does it mean to be creative ?

When I started my first Ph.D. I wanted to do it on the social basis for creativity. But at that time there was not enough written to make that a viable topic. So I started studying emergence as well, as defined by G.H. Mead in Philosophy of the Present. And I discovered that we sometimes over personalize creativity and what is really happening is an emergent event. So one way to look at creativity is to see various people being caught up in an emergent event within society. Yes they are creative, but the event would have occurred regardless of whether those particular people participated, because it was a social phenomena that was unleashed and if it was not those people it would have been someone else who did the creative work to realize the embodiment of the emergent social event. Anyway that might be an alternative perspective on creativity that one might want to engage as an alternative to those who see it all as a matter of individual psychology. Of course, I am a sociologist so I have my own prejudices that led to this way of looking at creativity, from a social perspective.

If you think of a church as channeling the sacred into society in a way that is save and can be approached by people, then you can think of how disruptive emergent events are in society, and how certain people are allowed to be creative and others are not. There is the same kind of channeling going on as with the sacred by our educational and industrial institutions, which for the most part are trying to stifle creativity. There is a lot of talk about how people should be creative, but when you look at our actual institutions they are geared to stopping it from happening except by a select few who are given license to be creative, or some how managed to be creative on their own despite the resistance. When you look at the way society is arranged to prevent creativity from happening except by a select few, or those who take things into their own hands, then you can wonder about the social nature of emergent events that transform everything at some scope like facts, theories, paradigms, epistemes, ontologies, existences, or absolutes. These emergent events break out and reorganize our lives in ways we cannot control, almost against our will because many times these changes are not in our best interests and cause massive dislocations in society.




Posted January 29, 2011 by kentpalmer in Uncategorized

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