DX8 Topic 11 - So What is Creativity Anyway?

Monday 30 November 2020, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Venue: - Cafe Brunelli, 187 Rundle St · Adelaide

About Focus Questions: a) Please read them before you come to the meetup. Think about them so you have more than "instant opinions" to offer. b) Feel free to add more focus questions. c) THE FOCUS QUESTIONS ARE JUST A MENU TO CHOOSE FROM. From this menu we can discuss whatever seems interesting. d) Focus questions are not intended to push one viewpoint! You can adopt any position you wish. We actually like friendly disagreement - it can lead to deeper understanding

Focus Questions

1. How do you personally understand creativity? Do you consider yourself to be a creative person?

2. Why is creative change resisted in the workplace? Hint: the vast majority of jobs consist of a set of procedures + a storyline to justify the procedures. This is as true for a medical doctor as it is for a farm labourer.

3. How is writing a novel creatively different from, say, playing jazz, or from 'inventing' a new kitchen recipe?

4. If you have learned another language, at what point did you feel that you could create your own sentences, rather than simply parroting memorized phrases? What did you actually have to 'know' before you could be creative like this?

5. Do you think it would be a good idea to become less of a spectator & consumer civilization, and more of a creative civilization? What would that actually mean?

6. What is the overlap amongst these concepts: creativity, innovation, invention ? Where do they diverge?

7. How do dramatic conditions such as poverty, disease, war, or various kinds of desperation affect creativity? Looking at Australia in general, or Adelaide in particular, have the rather secure conditions of living for most people led to a lack of creativity?

8. Can creativity actually be learned, as in a school or university, or in some other way? [Draw a distinction here between real outcomes, and the diploma confetti from courses with fancy names].

9. How can we assess fair rewards for creative activity, and how often are such rewards realized? For example, a creative entrepreneur might develop a huge business and become a billionaire (or become bankrupt). A creative writer might have to work in a warehouse to pay the rent (or in some countries be arrested ...). A creative politician might be seen as too risky by voters or colleagues and never be given responsibility ... and so on.

10. Governments and businesses often use ambitious (boastful?) phrases like 'the creative country' to market their policies. Does this kind of language actually improve general morale, or describe something real, or encourage people to greater effort .... or do people just dismiss it as advertising blah? What would you want to see before describing Australia, or any other country, as 'the creative country'?

Extra Reading and Links

Jake Flanagin (October 16, 2015) "These are the world’s “most creative” countries". Quartz magazine @ https://qz.com/523124/these-are-the-worlds-most-creative-countries/  [ Thor, comment: Yup, Australia is ranked number one. Thor feels an irresistible urge to roll on the floor screaming with pained laughter ....]

Tora Baker (15.01.2020) "China is named as the 'most creative' country in the 2019 World Design Rankings". The Creative Boom website @ https://www.creativeboom.com/resources/china-is-named-as-the-most-creative-country-in-the-2019-world-design-rankings/ 

ANI [India] (Dec 27, 2019) , "Creative country music songwriters use certain knacks to collaborate with famous singers". Asian Age website @ https://www.asianage.com/life/more-features/271219/creative-country-music-songwriters-use-certain-knacks-to-collaborate-with-famous-singers.html 

Queen Mary University of London (December 10, 2018) "Brainwaves suppress obvious ideas to help us think more creatively" Science Daily @ https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181210150622.htm  [Quote: "The human brain needs to suppress obvious ideas in order to reach the most creative ones, according to scientists. These obvious associations are present in both convergent thinking (finding an 'out-of-the-box' solution) and also in divergent thinking (when individuals have to come up with several creative ideas").

Ian Sample (16 January 2018) "Creative thought has a pattern of its own, brain activity scans reveal - People who are flexible, original thinkers show signature forms of connectivity in their brains, study shows". The Guardian @ https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jan/15/creative-thought-has-a-pattern-of-its-own-brain-activity-scans-reveal 

"Secrets of the Creative Brain - A leading neuroscientist who has spent decades studying creativity shares her research on where genius comes from, whether it is dependent on high IQ—and why it is so often accompanied by mental illness". GetPocket.com @ https://getpocket.com/explore/item/secrets-of-the-creative-brain 

Anne Quito (15 September 2018) "Drawing Is the Best Way to Learn, Even if You’re No Leonardo da Vinci - Drawing shouldn’t be about performance, but about process. It is a way of taking in the world." Quartz magazine @ https://getpocket.com/explore/item/drawing-is-the-best-way-to-learn-even-if-you-re-no-leonardo-da-vinci 

Luke Smillie & Anna Antinori (28 Maay, 2017) "People With Creative Personalities Really Do See the World Differently - Not only do open people bring a different perspective, but they genuinely see things differently than most". The Conversation via GetPocket.com @ https://getpocket.com/explore/item/people-with-creative-personalities-really-do-see-the-world-differently 

Steven Shapin (12 October 2020) "The rise and rise of creativity - Once seen as the work of genius, how did creativity become an engine of economic growth and a corporate imperative?". Aeon magazine @ https://aeon.co/essays/how-did-creativity-become-an-engine-of-economic-growth 

Thor May (2003) "So You Wanna' Write a Poem?" @ http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/wannawriteapoem2.htm  [note: ancient website, not small screen friendly]. [On a morning walk today I noticed for the umpeenth time that every car had almost the same damned shape. Each was badge-engineered and sold by the marketing department as a unique creation. Deviance is not allowed. In a spectator civilization, products and poems are supposed to spring forth fully formed, so most folk never try to navigate the imperfect process of learning. As an awe-struck teenager long ago I asked a legendary journalist how to write. His answer was cryptic: "Write a thousand words a day for a hundred days. Most of it will be shit, but if you are still there you'll be a writer." I tried. He was right. Being creative came after psychologically mastering the writing process. And then as the wheel turned, it came my turn as an editor to be rude to a novice ... this article was the result]

Thor May (1987) "Super-culture and The Ghost in the Machine". Academia.edu @ https://www.academia.edu/3653431/Super_Culture_And_The_Ghost_In_The_Machine 

Thor May (2001) "Unseen Grammar - Suspecting The God of Cracks Between The Floorboards". Passionate Skeptic website @ http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/godofcracks.html  or https://www.academia.edu/2312782/Unseen_Grammar_Suspecting_the_God_
of_Cracks_Between_the_Floorboards  [Quote:

We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing
that the usefulness of the wheel depends.
We turn clay to make a vessel;
But it is on the space where there is nothing
that the usefulness of the vessel depends.
We pierce doors and windows to make a house;
And it is on these spaces where there is nothing
that the usefulness of the house depends.
Therefore just as we take advantage of what is,
we should recognize the usefulness of what is not.

(Lao Tzu, chap. 11, tr. Waley)

Thor May (2014) "How do we judge literary value and artistic value?" Academia.edu website @ https://www.academia.edu/6338203/How_do_we_judge_literary_value_and_artistic_value (or in html: http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/Literary&ArtisticValue.htm ) [popular: 11000+ views] [Quote: "Art emerges from the hand of the creator, and the mind of the beholder. Art as discussed in this article is taken very broadly. ,,, When it comes to particular judgements however, art, whatever its form, has no single criterion of interpretation. Depending upon the time and the place, the circumstance and the human actors involved, the status of art (or its rejection) is resolved through a multitude of prisms.

Here are some, but not all, of contexts for considering art and literature (it's best if you read the full article) ...

§ the skill of the creator
§ the motivation of the creator
§ the uniqueness of the creation
§ originality – a singular synthesis of perception and experience
§ the aesthetic unity and proportion of simple and complex creations
§ the narrative or perceptual impact of the creation
§ the resonance the creation achieves in other minds
§ the role of creation in the tapestry of human myth
§ the durability of the creation’s reputation
§ the status of the creation as a cultural marker
§ the creation as a marketable artefact
§ the creation as a social class marker
§ the creation as a tool of projection for other agendas
§ do humans have some inherent capacity for appreciating literature and art generally?
§ judging literary and artistic value – can it be done?


Thor May (1998) "The Art of Disproportion - How does a writer differ from the language makers all around him, the cacaphony of chatterers? By writing a symphony. The disproportions of our conversation are artless, for where there are patterns they are unconscious, and where there is significance, it is selfish. The writer is able to create patterns of disporportion which fashion a new meaning from old information". Thor's Brief Ideas [101] @ http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/aphorism.html 

Thor May (2002) "Whatever it Was". Thor's Brief Ideas [143]@ http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/aphorism.html 

Whatever It Was

He said it well,
Whatever it was,
But I cannot now be sure
That he knew himself
Whatever it was,
For the season's passed
And last year's choicest cut
Has baggy knees and a pot belly.
But hey, whatever it was,
Who wants to know
A middle-aged poem

Thor May (2013) "All hidden truth to bring to light". Thor's Brief Ideas [267]@ http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/aphorism.html - "Art is not a part of things until we make it a part. An artist is someone with the skill of helping others to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. She finds a symphony in nature where others have heard only noise. The beauty of science, or mathematics is not in making new truths. They were there waiting to be found, and an extraordinary person has shown us where to look. The gift of teaching is not in repeating words from books, but in surprising students with the sudden knowledge of their own power to understand. "Then words half formed, obscurely muttered, became perfect and were clearly uttered". [Odin's song, the Icelandic Edda]"



Index of past discussion topics & questions: http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/DiscussionTopics/DiscussionIndex.htm

Convenor : Thor May thormay@yahoo.com Personal website (legacy) http://thormay.net
Articles http://independent.academia.edu/thormay  (.. about 147 articles by Thor)


So What is Creativity Anyway? (c) Thor May 2020 

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