Creativity [was Re: extropian enemies lists]

From: Robert Bradbury (
Date: Fri Jan 07 2000 - 19:33:42 MST

On Thu, 6 Jan 2000 wrote:

> In a message dated 1/6/2000 7:45:52 PM Pacific Standard Time, I wrote:
> << Ah, but isn't being inconsistent a rather creative experience? >>
> no, creativity is a mixture of desire and discipline. Inconsistency may buy
> you a reputation of being eccentric, but it won't make anything happen...
> sorry...

Then we are speaking about different things. I make a distinctions
between the creation of a novel idea, behavior, etc.; the expression of it;
and the recognition regarding it. The communication and recognition
are entirely distinct from whether or not you "created" it, though
they may be necessary for the creation to have an impact of some kind.

For me I look at most people and find them relatively predictable.
This falls out of the fact that we have all learned behaviors that
"work" and we are designed to stick to them. You may be unconsiously
"inconsistent" (usually we call those people crazy) or consciously
inconsistent (in my mind creative). Returning to Natasha's Art
(hoping she doesn't mind this), would we consider her "creative"
if all of her productions were recognizable variations on a similar
theme? I'm unsure whether the evolution of her art is due to
desire and discipline or whether it is a more natural process
(akin to "growing"). When Chagall or Monet were developing the
impressionistic style or Erte was doing Art Deco, it was creative,
because it had never been done before. Today we would look at artists
doing similar work as technically adept but not particularly creative.

I would agree that desire and discipline may be useful in the communication
and recognition aspects of expressing creativity, but I question whether they
are required for "creativity" itself. I think creativity may be nothing
more than the ability to hold a large variety of concepts, withstand
the "cognitive dissonance" that may produce and then select from the
soup things that happen to be novel in some way. For me this part
of creativty requires little desire or discipline. I'm fascinated
or entertained entirely by the beauty of an insight. On the other
hand writing ideas down, getting others to see their validity, etc. --
that requires desire or discipline.

I would object strongly to the suggestion that the purpose of creativity
is to "make things happen". Creativity occurs every time we string
words together and may have no value other than our own entertainment.
Finally, I would comment that individuals who are able to be intentionally
inconsistent (rather than simply flakey), are probably quite creative
since this tends to stir the soup and might result in the invention of
something quite novel.


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