Sunday, October 13, 2013

Is creativity fighting anything?

TED talks are lying to you, article.

This is a wonderful, acidly bitter, but funny article. It's about how books about "creativity" as a business tool are not at all about who or what they claim to be.

'A final clue came from “Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention” (1996), in which Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi acknowledges that, far from being an act of individual inspiration, what we call creativity is simply an expression of professional consensus. Using Vincent van Gogh as an example, the author declares that the artist’s “creativity came into being when a sufficient number of art experts felt that his paintings had something important to contribute to the domain of art.” Innovation, that is, exists only when the correctly credentialed hivemind agrees that it does. And “without such a response,” the author continues, “van Gogh would have remained what he was, a disturbed man who painted strange canvases.” What determines “creativity,” in other words, is the very faction it’s supposedly rebelling against: established expertise.'

These are very good observation. Contrarily to what we tell ourselves, a creative idea is not generally celebrated until the exact point if and when it gets widely accepted and begins to make big money for somebody (often the sellers and promoters more than the inventors).

I'd have one argument though: the inherent idea we are also spoon-fed all the time: that the inventor and creative person is necessarily rebelling against something or somebody. In other words, fighting an establishment.

Sure, the creative will often find himself in a fight, god help us. Van Gogh was even ridiculed, berated, and ostracized by his own family. But: Gogh was no fighter. He was not driven by desire to vanquish anybody or anything. His only passion lay in his canvas and the art he put on it.

And while the inventor, by human nature, will often be tempted into engaging in conflicts, for example life-long bitter, angry arguments with critics, I think that he or she will gain much more if he can succeed in ignoring attackers and just focus on his continued work.

1 comment:

Kelly Trimble said...

I got pushed out of bounds by one of our local guardians of groupthink this morning for stating one of my nuttier ideas, so I was probably particularly receptive to this guy's argument.

I particularly like the word 'hivethink'. I've been waiting all day for an opportunity to use it in a sentence.