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wundayatta's avatar

What's your take on where creativity comes from?

Asked by wundayatta (58714points) August 7th, 2009

I remember when I was a child and I had to write thank you letters to my relatives who gave me presents, I never knew what to say. Now, my son is supposed to keep a journal for school, and he is constantly asking us what he can write about. Now that he’s away at summer camp, he’s supposed to write at least one letter a week. It seems like he can never come up with an idea. Maybe the reason is the same for both of us: we weren’t interested in what we were doing.

Nowadays, there are all kinds of things I am curious about. I have little problem coming up with things I’d like to know. I wonder if this is because I have more context now, and can relate things to other things more easily, or if there are other reasons.

People are constantly running into problems. Some people get stumped by them, and just sit there waiting to be rescued. Other people will try one approach after another until they find something that works well enough. Where do ideas come from? Why do some people seem unable to generate ideas? Can anyone be creative, or is it a talent held by few?

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50 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Anyone can and is creative. What is the “poblem” if you will is that institutionalized requirements do not recognize creativity where and when it is found, but instead channel it into regimented curriculum.

When I was in elementary school, my art teacher told me I had no talent and was not creative. It took me until adulthood to break free from believing what that hack said. It is true I do not have talent for drawing, but I am an extremely creative person.

I say nurture your son when he expresses creativity and help in areas where he needs help.

ragingloli's avatar

supernatural beings called “muse”.

PerryDolia's avatar

Now that is a bunch of questions all bundled together.

First, you and your son had problems deciding what to write. This has two parts (the creativity and the writing itself), which I believe to be mostly related to the writing. It isn’t that you can’t think of what to write about, it is you can’t find anything you this is WORTHY of being written about. “We played tag today” just doesn’t seem worthy, so you keep looking for something better, and eventually say, “I can’t think of anything.”

Everybody is creative, but it becomes easier when you know more. There is a theory of information storage in the brain called the schemata which theorizes that information is stored as a grouping of interconnected links. For example: Abraham Lincoln would be linked to president, Gettysburg, beard, etc. Creativity is following these links and finding new interrelationships.

Personal theory: we are just too serious. Being creative is easier when you are silly.

DominicX's avatar

There are so many different things to be creative about, it’s hard to think that only a few are gifted with creativity. Perhaps they are simply not being immersed in something they are interested. I don’t have much talent for drawing, so thinking of things to draw does not come to me easily, especially when I have drawing assignments (had them in web design). However, creating my own language is much easier for me than it would be for some people and same with coming up with ideas for stories to write. They just come to me and I can work with them. I think everyone has the potential to be creative, but needs to find an outlet for it. My friend Rory, who can’t write an essay or story for shit and doesn’t find himself interested in many school subjects, is a very talented artist (drawing) and can work well with graphics programs on computers. It just depends on what you’re interested in. If someone isn’t interested in writing, then they’re probably not going to pursue it and develop a creative knack for it.

I also think that some people simply don’t think their ideas are good enough. Maybe they came up with a fine idea, but feel it’ll be looked on with scorn and decide not to voice it or write it down or draw it, or whatever the outlet may be. That’s simply a matter of confidence and a willingness to share ideas.

Like you, there are many things I feel that I want to know about. I just started reading about how a pipe organ worked on Wikipedia because it was something I didn’t know and wanted to know. I wish more people could do stuff like that: just decide that there is something they want to know and find out about it. It’s never a bad thing to have additional knowledge, even if it’s about something that doesn’t seem important.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

human experience.

you don’t paint a picture of a flower if you’ve never seen one before.

tramnineteen's avatar

Right half of the brain is rumored to be the creative side.

Also, +1 for @PerryDolia ‘s personal theory.

reactor5's avatar

An interesting book on this is “How to Get Ideas” by Jack Foster. Great book. He would agree with @PerryDolia as well; he spends a whole chapter on how to have fun and be creative!

Zendo's avatar

LOL I agree with Boob…Experience is the key factor.

jeanna's avatar

I wouldn’t say it takes experience. Look at Emily Dickinson, for one. She wrote about the world and was a shut-in. She definitely didn’t write about her experiences because she didn’t have any.

For some, it may take experience. For others, I think they possess a special talent.

Bri_L's avatar

I had a cathartic experience that triggered how I looked and thought about things for the rest of my life.

I was out to eat for a formal dance at the end of High School my best friend kept lifting his drink which was sweating so it took the napkin with it, sticking to the bottom. My date said “your supposed to hold the napkin down with your pinkie”. So the next time my friend went to take a drink in a very grand but awkward gesture he took the pinkie from the other hand and held down the napkin then picked up the glass.

Pretty simple and cheesy joke. But for some reason at that moment it registered all the different ways there are to view or take even the simplest of statements or gestures. And it litterally changed the way I heard and saw the world for the rest of my life. It didn’t hurt that he and I have been friends for 27 years.

Now I just see things that way. I tell my kids to do that to. When they have to write thank you notes I tell them ” tell them a story you made up with the action figure” or “draw a picture of it”.

It is actually my favorite part of my job. Coming up with a new way to advertise and look at something that will get peoples attention.

CMaz's avatar

A nice steak, a fresh salad and a cold beer does it for me.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’ve often wondered the same thing. I often read from people who say their bored, or they can’t think of what to do, or write. My brain is always full of stuff. I wouldn’t even know how to be bored if I wanted to, which I don’t.

I think it’s just something some people have, like red hair, or the ability to sing on key, or paint lovely pictures.

There are tips and ideas on how to develop the ability, but it’s about like trying to teach a person how to tell jokes. You either get it, or you don’t

filmfann's avatar

John Lennon got it from pain. Many artists get it from drugs. Most movie executives get it from watching old TV shows.
I get mine from looking at things sideways.

ShanEnri's avatar


Lupin's avatar

I’ve found the real creative folks all have a touch of ADD.
It’s like flipping the TV channels in your brain and watching 5 – 10 shows and still getting 80% of each show. They pull in more info and find more relationships than the person who sits on one channel and gets 100%.
Don’t ask the ADDer to do taxes. Let them create.

simpleD's avatar

I took these notes from a session given by the creatives from NLXL: Thinking About Thinking. Creativity doens’t just happen, and neither are you born with more of the ability to be creative than any one else.

Be curious.

Be prepared to make mistakes.

Everything is possible while making ideas.

Force fit human qualities into objects.

Combine two or more parts of different objects.

Editing – place an object out of context.

Micro macro imagination: think about the smallest of details and the largest overview.


Zoom in, zoom out.

Reuse, rethink.

Welcome mistakes. Find new things accidentally.

Make mind maps.

It doesn’t have to be pretty to be good.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

My mind is just tuned to certain things that become story ideas. I have mentioned it before, but once I was discussing the after life with a gay friend who is Christian and I quipped “So I guess that gay Christians have to pull weeds for eternity in the garden, eh?” and that little light hearted joke turned into a very funny and very profane story.

Jack_Haas's avatar

Natural curiosity. Training your brain to be in a permanent state of awareness and pay attention to things your eyes would normally not focus on. A good memory helps.

derekpaperscissors's avatar

The need for expression. You want to create something that another human being can relate to, and in that sense, art and creativity are social and emotional tools.

MrBr00ks's avatar

Anyone can be creative. Some people need help connecting the dots in some areas, but I’d be willing to bet they can be creative in areas on their own too. I’m pretty good at creative writing, but my brother is great at mechanical things, which I am not. Creativity is just naturally apart of humans in some form or another I feel. Some people just need way more help to find it. Ooooh, I almost forgot, here is a link to a great lecture on this:

Pat_thebear89's avatar

Creativity is by all means a way to express the self so everyone has creativity, just not all share the same expression. Maybe you should look at the fact that others show creativity through paint, words, puppets, philosophy, and such. Find the one thing he and you can do better at and express yourself with that.if its writing do poetry, if its pictures use emotional colors, etc.

growler's avatar

I subscribe to the Terry Pratchett view of creativity. That is, ideas fly through the universe and some happen to hit the right person at the right time. It’s the only somewhat-reasonable explanation I know of :)

Other than that, I’d say from inspiration. I get all of my ideas from some little event or something I’ve seen/read/listened to elsewhere. And sometimes, dreams work pretty well too.

mattbrowne's avatar

Interdisciplinary learning experience is one of the main trigger of creativity in my opinion. Albert Einstein once said: we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

hex's avatar

My take has been that you first must be pessimistic. If you look at everything as being complete, or acceptable, or finished, you’ll never start anything.

Also a bit of all-consuming curiosity will help. Temper this with experience and you’ll know when you’ve gone too far down a particular rabbit hole.

DominicX's avatar


Optimists don’t look at things as being “complete” or “finished”, they look at things as being “positive”. There is a difference. Optimists know problems exist, but they feel they can be improved upon with the right outlook whereas pessimists might see the problems as unchangeable.

hex's avatar

Agreed @DominicX, perhaps ‘pessimistic’ was not a good choice of words in my haste to pen the comment. Sometimes my pessimism gets the better of me.

Let me replace it with ‘pragmatic.’

dannyc's avatar

Thinking with abandon, not worrying what anyone says or might disagree with your flow of creativity. Taking risks and failing also helps, and not being fearful.

gottamakeart's avatar

for me the creative process tends to be very impulsive, i’ve made things in a matter of hours without any plans, just went with what seems like instinct. its a rush that nothing else compares to….

kruger_d's avatar

Two different but related ideas here. Creativity as the act of creating something. But also creativity of thought, meaning being able to make a mental leap, make connections that are not obvious to most, bringing expertise in one area to problem-solve another, or making the best use of the resources at hand. Essentially, informed improvisation.
The two come hand in hand. It is a great argument for arts education.

nebule's avatar

I’m not sure but I intuitively sense that creativity comes from the spirit…the soul..the secret within us that we can’t touch…the essence of who we are…an expression of our centre… mixed with our current physical life.

Perhaps there is a resistance to letting go and giving in to things just popping up in your mind…I’m sure things do pop all the’s whether we acknowledge them or not.

wundayatta's avatar

@littlewesternwoman Why do you say that? Is it because suffering comes from somewhere, and creativity is required to remove the cause of the suffering?

littlewesternwoman's avatar

Ok @daloon – an excellent question. Let’s see if I can answer it…

It’s not that creativity is “required to remove the cause of suffering” – nor even that it necessarily can. However, often, people who endure suffering find an outlet for their pain in creativity – they write or draw, paint or photograph or become actors or dancers or musicians or experts in fancy auto detailing – as a way of giving expression to feelings that otherwise would have no outlet, and perhaps no validation.

The reasons why someone becomes – why someone is – an artist, are myriad, varied, and idiosyncratic; not all those who are artists suffer, perhaps, and not all those who suffer become artists.

However, we all wish to be seen for who we are; we all wish to have our emotional experience and understanding of the world validated; and in my humble experience, creativity – art – validates. To give one’s creativity expression can give meaning to suffering, even become a reason for living; and when the products of that creativity are shared, they can give others an experience of fellow-feeling, of mutual understanding, which at times reaches the sublime.

I don’t mean to sound bombastic; others might label me “Romantic” or “Modernist” or whatever… but really I’m speaking only from my own, very subjective, experience. And in that experience, giving berth to creativity has been and is a respite of sorts, a gift…

Hope that answers your Q. ...

wundayatta's avatar

@littlewesternwoman Thanks. Interesting perspective. Art validates? Is that like saying you are validating your own self? Or does it require… uh… consumers of your art, shall we say, to validate you? Or is it the process that sort of validates you?

Actually, now that I think about it, what do you mean when you say, “validate?” Is that like finding out whether your feelings are shared by anyone else? Is that what it takes to feel confidence that you are not some kind of off-the-charts wierdo?

It seems to me that a lot of creative effort is not understood at the time, and perhaps never. And even if creativity is to validate yourself, is that what makes you be creative? It seems like it could be a motive for creativity, but I’m not sure it helps me understand more about where creativity actually comes from.

And if, as you suggested, creativity comes from suffering, what is the mechanism that uses suffering to be creative? Creativity, if I understand you correctly, comes from your attempts to express your feelings. Still, all humans have feelings of one kind or another. Not all those feelings seem to be translated into creative efforts. Not all people even try to express their feelings. There must be some difference between those who do use it a fuel for creativity and those who don’t. What is that difference?

Sorry for the wandering nature of this comment. I was just struggling through my attempts to understand what you are saying. Stream of consciousness, I guess. Which, as I’m sure you know, doesn’t often take a very direct route from point a to point b.

AlyxCaitlin's avatar

There’s alternative ways of being creative! Maybe you aren’t in the “letter-writing” sense, but try painting, or drawing, or an instrument :]

wundayatta's avatar

@AlyxCaitlin It seems to me that creativity is separate from the specific methods used to provide it an outlet. Where does the creativity come from? How do you access it? Is it just a process of doing something and seeing what happens?

AlyxCaitlin's avatar

It comes from your emotions, from what you think and how you express it. Being creative can range from drawing or just knitting. I think when you find something that you love doing, that is being creative! My dad loves to cook which gives him the chance to be creative. All you have to do is find what you love! It could be shopping and being creative via clothes. Just try out new hobbies and see what you like. Everyone is creative, it’s just you have to find out what triggers it :]

wundayatta's avatar

So creativity is just there, waiting for someone to find the spigot and open it up? It’s innate?

Perhaps you are right. Still, I feel there’s more to it than that. It’s not just a matter of unblocking it (although I tend to agree with you there), but also of training yourself to use it. Training yourself to try all kinds of stuff. Throw it at the wall, and see what sticks. But underneath that, there’s the issue of where ideas come from. How do you figure out what to throw at the wall? Where does that shit come from?

Many artists call it the muse. Or God. They don’t feel responsible for it. They perceive it as a gift, not something they have done. They feel like they are channeling some other entity. Then, when they talk like that, other people start to think they have special access to these forms of magic, that most other people don’t have.

I don’t think it’s helpful to think of creativity as magic, because it does shut people down. They don’t even try to find a spigot to open. So, if it isn’t magic; if it isn’t out of nowhere; then where do these ideas come from? What is the process we use to make them?

AlyxCaitlin's avatar

I think you just have to stumble upon it. I have yet to also find anything to spark my creative side, but I’m always up for trying new things! It’s one of those things that I think you can’t over think it, and it just happens for you. And after it happens for you, your creativity will be raining like cats and dogs!

littlewesternwoman's avatar

@daloon: You’re giving me a good challenge here…

By “validate”, I mean validating your existence, in the sense of both confirming that, yes, you are here, and also that your being here is valid – that is, has meaning. I tend toward the existentialist perspective that there is no one “meaning” to life – and that therefore it is up to each of us to find meaning in the fact of our existence – that is, to validate our existence (and I apologize if I’ve made a leap of logic here; this is just my way of conceiving this issue).

Hence, you don’t really need an audience to “validate” your creativity/existence – the act of creating something is affirming in and of itself. Some artists need an audience, but others do not. For me, as you so nicely put it, the process validates.

Of course, if you knit a sweater or bake a really delicious pie, it’s especially validating to be able to share it with someone you love…

To continue trying to answer your question, I don’t think that all suffering leads to creativity; but I do think that suffering – or, if you prefer, very powerful emotions that need an outlet – underlies much creativity. Creativity is merely one way of seeking to give meaning to life – that is, in my humble terms, of seeking to validate existence.

I don’t know what the mechanism is that turns suffering into creativity. I think it’s a choice of a kind – but not necessarily a conscious one (many artists feel they have no choice but to paint/act/photograph/dance – etc. – or even that their art has chosen them…). If Anna Freud could join our conversation, she might say that the mechanism in question is a defense mechanism – specifically, that of “sublimation”, whereby an individual turns negative feelings or impulses [in this case suffering] into a positive action [in this case, creating something beneficial], thereby both discharging the negative energy and generating positive energy.

Does this go any further toward answering your question?

wundayatta's avatar

@all I just wanted to say that I am thinking of creativity in all areas, not just art. I am thinking about developing new solutions to problems, or even moments of inspiration.

@littlewesternwoman Yes, this is very helpful.

I certainly agree that art is about meaning making. However, I also think art is about communication. It’s about saying things that can’t be said in words. Even word art (fiction, poetry, essays) is about creating images in people’s minds, and those images say things that words don’t say.

I suppose that art might only be an expression of the struggle to make meaning. Perhaps that is why many artists don’t care if they speak to anyone else through their art. I find that idea a bit troubling, since I think those artists are in a kind of denial. That denial probably stems from a kind of ostracization or separation from society’s conventions. In other words, it’s a self-protective mechanism. Their message is not taken kindly, so they create meaning for themselves, perhaps subliminally hoping that they will speak to someone, eventually.

It sounds to me like you’re in the “muse” school of where creativity comes from. From the way you describe it, it sounds like it comes as if out of nowhere. As if the artist is channeling some other entity. Perhaps, in this context, the suffering opens the artist up to be able to connect with that magical entity, or source of creativity.

I’m more with @AlyxCaitlin about this. She says “stumble upon.” I think of it as having an open mind. Never discarding or dismissing anything just because it is unconventional. I think that even more important is to have a lot of interests and to know a lot about a lot. That way you can take ideas from other disciplines and apply them to a problem you are working on now. It is often the combination of two older things that creates something never heard or seen or felt before.

Thus, knowing many things and methods, and experimenting with combinations of those things are what gives rise to creativity. I think creativity is something everyone has, but that it is usually stifled when we are children, as parents, thinking they are doing a good thing, try to direct their children’s efforts into socially acceptable channels.

If I’m right, this means you can “teach” creativity by showing people or training people to remove the barriers that keep them from using unconventional ideas. You simply have to free them of these restraints. All it takes is making them feel safe to look stupid.

I have experienced this much in my own life. As a trumpet player, fear often constrained me from trying something new. I was afraid to make mistakes. This was quite a problem when trying to improvise in a jazz setting. I had to learn that there are no mistakes. I learned this taking workshops with David Darling’s Music for People organization. I also learned it in “play” workshops and movement workshops, where people made it safe to forget about what others think, and just do whatever comes up.

Now I’m much less afraid of mistakes. In fact, I am grateful for mistakes. Musically, if I make a mistake, I can then try to make it into something I “meant” to do. That’s the challenge, anyway. One trick is that if I make a “mistake,” I repeat it. Just to say that’s what I meant.

At work, it’s also about not being afraid to look stupid. I ask the stupid questions. I take the naive approach to the subject, so that I can ask these questions, and in doing so, I often find that either I lead people into making new connections and ideas, or I find some myself.

I don’t know if this comes from confidence, or the ability to stop caring what others think. I used to think that I gained more confidence as I grew older, but now I’m more in the camp of thinking that I stopped worrying about what others think as much. I’m pretty sure I have pretty much no confidence at all. It’s just that I no longer care if people call me stupid or an asshole or wrong.

This means I don’t have to respond defensively in such situations. I can naively ask people for more information about where their ideas come from. I readily admit to being stupid or jerky or wrong. In fact, I’ll often say that when I tell people what I think.

I’ll make it clear that this is just my thinking (implying that I might be way off). I’ll use maybes and perhapses and other words that indicate I’m making wild generalizations. I’m not fighting anyone. I’m just trying to build on their ideas. Hmmm. Perhaps that’s why I think of myself as stupid. Stupidity is a method for increasing my understanding.

littlewesternwoman's avatar

@daloon, I don’t disagree with what you say about needing to be open-minded (although I know some startlingly closed-minded artists), and would second your idea that having a depth and breadth of knowledge informs one’s creativity (although I also know some very unintelligent artists; and some artists are deliberately anti-intellectual – cf. e e cummings)... I would agree most strongly with you that true creativity requires an indifference to making “mistakes” – which do not really exist, in the act of being creative and which can in fact, as you write, spark something wholly new and wonderful.

Certainly someone can be taught to trust his or her instincts, to not fear making a mistake or any (imagined) ridicule ensuing from one… Is this the same as teaching creativity? I’m not sure. I think creativity, like curiosity, is something we’re born with – but it can be (and – alas – often is) bred out of us. I don’t believe all people are inherently artists, though anyone can be creative – in problem-solving, for example, no less than in “creating” something. I do believe the imperative to create comes from some inner need – to express the inexpressible, if you will.

Excellent examples of the creative process are often subsumed in works of art – especially film and literature. Some examples that come to mind: Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment”; Woody Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors” and “Match Point” (among others); much of Pedro Almodovar’s work; David Grossman’s “Book of Internal Grammar”. All of these works have an ostensible theme that has nothing to do with the creative process… but their subtexts are, I believe, about the process of creating, and of becoming an artist…

How’s that for picking up an old discussion after a long hiatus?

En fin – I sincerely doubt you’re stupid.

wundayatta's avatar

It’s a paradox. I, too, doubt that I am stupid, but I think of myself that way, perhaps to try to avoid hubris, and certainly to avoid arrogance. And, like I said, it allows me to let myself ask questions that betray my lack of knowledge (which certainly can be confused with stupidity—or at least laziness and lack of schooling—in academic settings).

I don’t think you’re stupid, either. My attitude about this is that intelligence is not for the individual to proclaim. It’s a judgment others have to make.

I do believe in my own ideas, even when no one else seems to believe in them. Maybe it’s just a matter of necessity. I care deeply about what others think about me, but even so, I am unwilling to go along to get along. I want people to respect me despite their agreement or disagreement with my ideas. For me, it’s all about creativity. This is even more important as I get older, and my memory gets increasingly impotent.

The only work you mentioned that I am familiar with is the Dostoevsky novel. I may have seen “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” but if I have, I don’t remember it. So, perhaps I am prejudiced about lack of knowledge, too. I feel stupid because I don’t know what you are referring to. On the other hand, I don’t mind asking what was in each of these works that made you think the subtext was about the creative process.

I think that thinking about myself as stupid is a coping mechanism that makes it easier for me to make mistakes. I understand that I won’t get anywhere if I don’t make mistakes, and I am often apologizing for them in advance—again a coping mechanism to try to reduce the opprobrium I fear when I do make a mistake. I also feel like I sabotage my own sense of accomplishment, by giving away my work for free when I feel like the only way I’ll believe it’s truly valuable is if someone pays me for it.

Fuck it! I’ve come to see that I prefer to see myself as wrong, inept and unappreciated. It just saves me from disappointment, while, at the same time, motivating me to try to please someone, sometime, somewhere, somehow. I guess the other form of “payment” I crave is love. I suspect I am not so different from most people in that way.

I like your idea about expressing the inexpressible. That’s important to me, and I have worked to try to find ways to do it. I do feel like a failure in that, but then my standards for success are so high that I don’t think success is actually achievable. Anyway, my notions of success and failure are not productive, so they are increasingly irrelevant, since I seem to be unable or unwilling to change them. Maybe I need to feel like a martyr of some kind? Or the misunderstood artist? Could it be a conceit I cultivate?

I am glad you picked up the discussion after a hiatus, because I think your comments are interesting and insightful. I believe I could learn a lot from you. I am struck, however by your hiatus, and wonder if you have been away, or if you have just not had (or made) time for fluther.

YARNLADY's avatar

When you are talking about “creativity” in a broad sense, it even includes the cook in the kitchen of “everyhome”. We can look at recipes, read cooking books, and base our meals on what our family likes, plus what we have in the house. A good meal can be the most creative thing on the earth.

nebule's avatar

from ya bones baby

Joybird's avatar

I don’t believe that everyone is creative to a notable degree. I believe it’s a type of intelligence just as some are born with kinetic intelligence and others with spatial intelligence. Some people are born with aesthetic intelligence and an ability to pull together information from their five senses combining them into art, music, writing or some form of design.
When I was studying environmental design at RIT almost ALL of the students in every art and design program there was left handed. I’m talking about at least 95%. That’s no coincidence. That all these people use their right brain predominantly is astonishing. I have found that persons in other areas of creativity also have high rates of left handedness and sometimes ambidexterity. These people also test in clusters on personality tests such as the Myers Briggs. Personality is considered to be genetic to some degree. So while nurture may hon these proclivities it doesn’t create them.
Even without art materials as a kid if you threw me in a back yard full of sticks and stones I would be organizing them into some kind of vignette usually for imaginary play.
The question would be why are some people born with a predisposition for using one side of their brain and what causes some individuals to form impressive connections between both sides of their brain so as to increase the overall functioning of both halves. Given that there are a number of highly creative people in my family I would tend to suggest that there is a factor on the genome that contributes or causes creative intelligence.
I also know that when I am around other people like me within a creative environment I operate at higher levels of creativity myself. I often think the hundreth monkey theory is at play when this occurs….it’s as if the thoughts of others and how they are working influence my own work on an unconscious level.

wundayatta's avatar

@Joybird I’m a bit surprised you feel this way. Is this based on personal experience? I would have pegged you for someone who believe in limitless human potential. It seems like you believe the malleability of the mind is fairly restricted by whatever talents their genes provided.

I find it difficult to imagine that our minds have evolved to anything more than a very general talent for a lot of things. In fact, that malleability is probably what has made us so successful. To have a specific talent probably isn’t all that good an evolutionary move, nor even a likely move, since evolution has no idea what talents are needed, and the needs change on a much faster scale than evolution can keep up with.

What form(s) of creativity appear in your family? What types of creative people do you like to hang with? What opportunities for being around those creative types do you have in your community?

Joybird's avatar

@wundayatta I work in an environment where the limitations are rather obvious. And I have participated in enough workshops to recognize that there are many individuals who just are not creative. They can learn things. But they have no ability to draw so much as a straight line even with tools. They do not SEE the world nor process what is around them in the same way that creative people do. While I would definitely fall out on Kierkegaards “living with potential” I know that not all people have the same potentials in all areas. There is indeed limitations. For example I will never be a gifted mathematician. I don’t see the world in that way, nor will I ever. I don’t utilize that part of my brain like some other person might do who has from birth been gifted in this way. I am thus limited in that area…just as other people are extremely limited in terms of creativity.

nebule's avatar

did I really write that ^^ :-/

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