About Human Creativity
Wenner. Drawing of a Hand Drawing
The word “creativity” describes the transformation of an ideal or metaphysical pattern into a physical object or action. The assertion that human creativity is separate from the natural world is unscientific and unreasonable in the extreme. How could we create or even think if thought and creativity were not features of the universe? Humans are features of the universe, and must, therefore, represent its creative expression.
If we propose that creativity is a fundamental feature of the universe, it must follow that human creativity is related to and in harmony with its universal counterpart.
Like all actions, human creativity depends on the human thought process. Humans are consciously aware of categories of thought, such as intuition, imagination, and rationality.
The words “innovative, imaginative, inventive, original, and concept” do not apply to the process of creativity, but to the thought process that inspires it.
Ernst Haeckel, Trochilidae. Haeckel appreciated the artistic quality of natural forms and extolled it with his own work.highly artistic paintings
Highly intelligent and creative individuals are generally acutely aware of the hierarchy of thought and give intuition and imagination precedence over rational thought. Einstein stated this very clearly when he said:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress and giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.”
Notwithstanding Einstein’s observation, science tends to isolate the rational mind from the “creative imagination.” This point of view ignores the fact that creativity relies on all of the human mental faculties. It is more useful to focus on the triad of human creative expression: perception, imagination, and language.
Wenner: Einstein is Impressed. Einstein extolled creativity in science.
Nature also uses the metaphysical language of geometry and the coded language of genetics to create, while humans use speaking, writing, mathematics, acting, drawing, music, and dance.
Language expresses the human equivalent of the creative “idea” that nature uses to manifest all of the myriad forms of the universe. The importance of language in creativity is not well understood, nor is the structure of the various creative design languages recognized. Human creativity takes place the moment we express an abstract idea in terms of a linguistic structure such as a drawing, a mathematical problem, a musical score, dance choreography, or a literary work. Creativity will continue throughout the process of forming an artifact or giving a performance. Still, the structure of language has taken the first step toward manifesting the ineffable idea and molding it into a plan of action. Many times the project itself is the most significant part of a creative process.
A musical score is not a symphony, a blueprint is not a house, and a written play is not a performance, but all of them are creations. They already belong to the physical world because the ideas have taken a physical form in terms of language.
Wenner. Composition and Painting of the Pompei Illusion Room
Sometimes the human creative process will be direct, such as with an improvised song or a ceramic piece molded without any apparent preliminary design. Even here, there is symbolic content in the artifact, and the creative process provides transformative feedback to the author. The creative process is a dialog between the creator and the created. In a more formal situation, the rehearsal of a play will usually modify both the script and its author. The process of building a house will, likewise, usually involve many alterations. The creative experience of building the house thus results in the changing of the plan and the architect.
As much as the creative person might seek to control the creative process, the process of creativity will also influence the creator. Being a “creative person” may begin as an aptitude, but is ultimately the result of numerous creative experiences. Human creativity is amplified through experience.
Human intelligence, therefore, starts as a combination of rational thought and intuition. Knowledge becomes “creative” when transformed by the transactional creative act.
Because we typically associate creativity with a product rather than a process, we often fail to recognize the role of language.
The architecture of the Villa of Tivoli is an exuberant expression of human creativity.
Human creativity does not rely only on language but is a dialog between the creator and the created. Creativity can only refer to process; a product cannot itself be “creative.” Languages do not belong to individuals but the common heritage of societies and cultures. Languages allow ideas to become manifest by imposing the limitations of the physical world on them. Creative people can often feel frustrated and limited by the languages they must employ, feeling that their idea has been reduced from its original magnificence when rendered in a mundane form.
A Mozart symphony would not exist without the structure of western classical music, nor would a Shakespeare play without the English language.
Language becomes transparent to us, but mastery of an art or a science relies on a profound (intuitive or intellectual) understanding of its structure and use. Languages and the cultures that use them also become modified and transformed by their creative experiences. The creative expression of a culture can, therefore, accelerate with a snowball effect and burst into exuberance.
To continue reading, continue to: Creativity in Nature.