As I read about creativity sometimes I feel as though I could be reading a book about simulations – the emphasis on collaboration and “work as play”. With each page, I walk the blending lines between eastern and western thought. And of course, scattered throughout this research is the ever-emerging, ever-complex systems theory of EVERYTHING, since the world is in some way a giant functioning system.
Sometimes there are so many points of view and so many unanswered questions that I wonder how we ever draw conclusions. How in the world did America decide on two dominant political parties? With all of the issues involved in political races, all of the gray areas, all of the unknown variables – it really amazes me that we settled on two. I don’t know if I should give Kudos to the American political system for remaining decisive in a confusing world, or reprimand the system for being closed minded.
What is creativity? Is it a solo activity? Is it something bestowed upon everyone at birth? Does it diminish without fostering? Does it involve any effort on our parts? Does it involve systemic interactions? There’s an abundance of research on the subject! I’m starting to think that humans develop opinions simply for comfort purposes. Instead of remaining inundated with the multitude of choices and definitions, we find one that suits us and we go with it.
Imagine how the domain of creativity will expand as globalization increases? No longer will creativity be a team effort but a world effort. Collaboration will be able to exist across continents and across domains bridging the gap between seemingly divergent views. Look at the simulation industry! Its psychologists mixed with instructional designers and technologists. Exciting times ahead, for sure. And at the back of my mind I keep wondering whether now it is more important to truly know yourself, OR to truly accept that definitions (including definitions of self) have simply been devised over the years as comfort devices to keep us afloat amidst the chaos. And by rising above definitions we open up the possibility for new ideas to enter the world?
I want to end with a paragraph from the book Creativity: Theory, History, Practice by Rob Pope:
In moving beyond the ‘creativity’ terms as such, we expressly recognise that any term can only be defined through terms that it is not. In a simple sense this is because all attempts at dictionary definition lead from one entry to another and another and usually at some point back to the entry you started with (look up ‘word’ and ‘language’ to see circular logic in action). In a rather more complex sense it is because language is composed of an interplay of differences (‘differences without positive terms,’ as Saussure put it) so any encounter with absolute sense is ultimately deferred. Such problems and possibilities are especially acute with a concept as elusive and pervasive as ‘creativity’. If the latter is always, in Bohm and Peat’s phrase, ‘more than and different from’ whatever we expect it to be, it is imperative that we get beyond the dominant constructions (and constrictions) of the term so as to enrich and extend the potential range of the concept. It is also important, as intimated in the above epigraphs, that we develop a way of theorising that is principled yet flexible: aware of the historical force and current sense of our key terms, but also open to the possibility that they may need to be refined or be replaced by others as the occasion arises. (p. 90)
I read that paragraph after I wrote this initial blog, but I think it answered some of my questions about defining things, yet being open to change.