Art Quote of the Day

” When you have it – creativity, that is –  what do you have?  A good way to start on an answer is to think about creativity the word. It’s a member of a little family of  words including the verb to to create , the adjective creative applied to things like Guernica, the theory of relativity, or Aunt Beth’s cooking, and the adjective creative applied to people like Picasso, Einstein, or Aunt Beth.  Which of these words is central?

I’d say it was creative as applied to things.  The verb won’t do because it is much more general than the adjective.  For example, a person may create a problem, a hurricane create havoc, or a journalist create a stink without any of these outcomes being particularly creative. The kind of creating we are talking about is the kind of creating that leads to creative results.  Creative people are people who often produce creative results.  And creativity is whatever people  who get creative results have.  The idea of a creative outcome or product is the conceptual center; all the other words in the family get their meanings from it.

If creativity is whatever people have that leads to creative results, it might include many things. Creative abilities would be  abilities that make a person’s thinking creative .  A creative style of thinking might be a style  which gives novel ideas a chance by not rejecting them out of hand.  Interest in and commitment to doing creative things would be important.  Neither the enthusiast without ability nor the able  but uninterested person would be called creative.  So we ought to think of creativity as a mix of abilities and many other traits. But often we don’t.. Instead, we think of it as creative abilities alone.  Creativity becomes a kind of “stuff” which the creative person has and uses to do creative things , never mind other factors. If you have so much of it, that’s what you have , and that’s that. We think of intelligence in much the same way .  Intelligence is the “stuff” people have that lets them think intelligently. ”

The Mind’s Best Work by D.N. Perkins