Thursday, 23 May 2013

Task 22: Creativity, the talent myth and craft

Foremost I think creativity is a difficult thing to pin down. It will mean different things to different people.
But; cre-a-tiv-i-ty  
1. the state or quality of being creative   
2. the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination  
3. the process by which one utilises creative ability

When thinking about creativity in quite obvious and basic terms, to me it generally means people being able to think up something cool. To create some amazing artistic piece, game or music that really catches my attention, makes me think 'wow that's awesome'. Given that music, art and now games have been around for quite a good while and my life to date has been full of all 3, it makes it really difficult to get that reaction any more. So much has already been designed and created that most new things just make me think 'oh that reminds me of ....' or 'ah that really looks like.....but they did it better'. Creativity is often lost these days. What may seem new and ingenious to one person, some else has already seen or done.

When it comes to talent and craft? I'm not really sure. If we were talking about proficiency or skill level at doing something, then yes I would say you can have talent or you have to craft. For example I think some people are naturally more talented at drawing, so they don't have to work for as long or as hard to get good. Whereas others will need to work much harder to reach the same level and put a lot more effort in. That doesn't mean the person who isn't naturally talented can never be as good as the talented person, it just takes much more graft to get there. So I believe in talent and craft, but I don't know why and I'm not sure if it really applies to creativity.

Its definitely true and fairly obvious that some people are more creative than others, but I don't see this as 'talented at being creative' that just doesn't make sense. Nor do I think it makes sense that you work really hard at being creative. Creativity is something more,  something inherent.

I couldn't write a book about it, but I generally get what creativity is, but in order to try understand why some people have it and some don't I started reading around. What I found was really quite interesting.

"Creativity is akin to insanity, say scientists who have been studying how the mind works.

Brain scans reveal striking similarities in the thought pathways of highly creative people and those with schizophrenia.
Both groups lack important receptors used to filter and direct thought.
It could be this uninhibited processing that allows creative people to "think outside the box", say experts from Sweden's Karolinska Institute.
In some people, it leads to mental illness.
But rather than a clear division, experts suspect a continuum, with some people having psychotic traits but few negative symptoms."
"Creativity is uncomfortable. It is their dissatisfaction with the present that drives them on to make changes.

"Creative people, like those with psychotic illnesses, tend to see the world differently to most. It's like looking at a shattered mirror. They see the world in a fractured way."

All this seemed to make immediate sense to me and seemed true when you think about it. Creativity is basically sparked by brains being different in a way that means they don't filter information and this makes you see the world in a different way than non-creative people. How awesome is that.
On a very basic level people who are creative are wired different and to them what they are doing probably just seems very normal, yet it astounds and amazes others, who's brains just don't work in the same way. Its no uncommon for people to ask creative people 'how did you come up with that, what made you think of it' and creative people more often than not just don't know, it just comes to them.

So you can't be talented at being creative. If it really is caused by brains being wired differently then that's not talent, you either have it or you don't. I therefore think that makes it almost impossible to craft at being creative. We can all train our brains to work in certain ways with time and effort, and its possible you could put a lot of effort into being creative, but its not the same as someone who really sees and understands the world in a different way.

The apparently mini pyshos know as the creative people.

Interesting reading about the link between creativity and crazy.

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