Real Creativity

Munira Mirza’s ’08 review of Creativity: Unconventional Wisdom from 20 Accomplished Minds:

The editors’ corporate conceptualisation of ‘creativity’ makes this collection about as exciting as a the spring show from Marks and Spencers. … What is creativity? … the respondents give a rather similar (and by the end of the book, dull) answer – it’s thinking out of the box, it’s breaking the rules, it’s challenging convention. …

In fact, creative people don’t think of themselves as ‘creatives’ with a particular mentality to boot (unless, of course, they run a creative consultancy, in which case it’s necessary for promotional purposes). They think of themselves as novelists, engineers, software designers, journalists, artists, and so on. … They make things and are preoccupied with the things they make, unbothered with developing a ‘creative’ mentality. … It is their engagement with their chosen activity that drives them, rather than some kind of personal predisposition or character type. …

We live in a society obsessed with cultivating the creative mind: on this view, the mental attitude is all that matters, regardless of what end product it actually makes. This shift has taken place most profoundly in arts education. … And now, we have a deluge of state sponsored initiatives to encourage creativity in people (creative industries, Creative Partnerships, creative quarters, etc) but a dearth of the skills that allow people to create. …

There are many examples in the book when creativity is shown to be a team effort, rather than the spark of an individual genius …. Creativity is also something that requires hard work and intellectual energy, rather than spontaneity. … Karl Marx pointed out that when people engage in creative labour they are required to pay close attention both to the concrete practice of creating, and the conceptualisation of the end product. (more; HT Rachel Armstrong)

Yup.  I’ll admit it; Murina’s more (academic-style) articulate than I on the subject.

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