Creativity: Method or Magic?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by goofyfish, Jan 16, 2002.

  1. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

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    In a staff meeting today, The Boss let us know that he was going to hire an additional marketing person, and that he would be seeking an individual who was "really creative." As my eyes glassed over and relaxed into a somewhat Marty Feldman-like stare (while he droned on about all of the ideas he and this new person would explore), I got to wondering how he would determine an applicant's "creativity factor?"

    So I throw it out to you.

    What is "creativity"? Is it a stable cognitive trait that some people have and others do not? Is it an occasional state that people sometimes enter into? Or is it defined completely by its products: "creativity is as creativity does"? Whatever it is, how does creativity come about? How do you do it? Are there rules? Will practice help make you creative?

    Peace.
     
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  3. Mr. G reality.sys Valued Senior Member

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    Genius does what it must; talent does what it can.
     
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  5. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

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    So. Quotations from Edward George Bulwer-Lytton aside, anyone want to take a stab at it?

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    Peace.
     
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  7. scilosopher Registered Senior Member

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    I think creative people are actually people who relax control on their mind to the point that they start thinking a lot of nonsensical and strange stuff. You take that and filter it through a that's dumb filter and you come up with interesting thoughts you never would have if you stuck to a logical straight-forward thinking process.

    I think it can be practiced and with practice I think intuitions start to guide it towards the stuff you throw out less often. More than that I can't guess. I think a lot of the stuff that spews forth has something to do with abstract relationships you have seen in life and probably couldn't make sense of. Think about them for long enough and maybe you figure out how they're related.

    In the end though if even you don't understand how you came up with it or the exact relation the relationshipd or ideas can really tickle you.

    The Simpsons are a perfect example. Some episodes make almost no sense, are complete non-sequiturs, but somehow manage to be funny and make sense on some strange level.
     
  8. kmguru Staff Member

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    Well...I will try to take a stab at it...

    I have been told that I am highly "creative" or "innovative". I come up with ideas that are original. I have been doing that as long as I can remember. I solve highly complex problems in business, engineering and technology (from banks to chemical plants to rocket science) - because I must.

    To me, I just think of different scenarios without any cognitive bias and analyze the outcome like a game of chess. It is more like a what if scenario. I think the key is in the cognitive bias. Most people ignore certain items with bias. If you can train yourself to reduce those bias, you are there half way. The other half is having the right information and lots of it. That is - a large knowledge base on various subjects so that you can copy, modify, improve one idea to the other. Remember, you could have a great bad idea that will land your company in Chapter 11 too (that is called not looking at the big picture)

    It is really not that difficult. Anybody could do it. There you have it.
     
  9. SeekerOfTruth Unemployed, but Looking Registered Senior Member

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    I too have been told I am creative and it is an aspect of any position I have really enjoyed that I must be allowed to be creative. In a manner similar to that of kmguru I have always found it easy to view problems in an 'outside the box' manner and have tried to keep myself from being locked into a particular solutions set.

    I think as kmguru states it is a manner of bringing up ideas and evaluating them without a bias.
     
  10. bbcboy Recovering christian Registered Senior Member

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    A more light hearted approach...

    Terry Prattchet is an english author who writes the discworld series. (If you've not experienced this man and his work do so soon!!!)

    Within this series, He speaks about 'inspirations' Tiny particles of thought that whizz thru the universe until they hit a receptor in the brain.

    "How many times have you heard the expression sturck by inspiration?"

    And Eureka!! which means "Pass me a towel"
     
  11. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

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    Although my original thinking was prompted by an occurrence at work, and your answers naturally focus there, I have spent a bit more time reading and thinking about it.

    The situations to which the two of you refer relate well to Pasteur's dictum, "...le hasard favorise l'esprit prepare...(chance favors the prepared mind"). I would interpret Pasteur's dictum to say that there is an element of chance in creativity, but it is most likely to occur (as you indicated in your posts) if the mind is somehow prepared for it. In other words, you must already have existing knowledge relevant to the creative "leap" first before you get that "bolt from the blue." Strangely, it seems to me that this formula for creativity is the most uncreative one imaginable, which is to learn what is already known.

    But what about creativity not focused on "problem solving?"
     
  12. Yogamojo Here's lookin' at you...? Registered Senior Member

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    New uses for old tools, new tools for old uses...

    It is said that there is nothing new under the Sun. What then, are creativity and innovation? A means of rearranging what is already there in a fashion that is fresh and attractive? Making an old idea appear original?

    Were all given the same palette, the same set of musical tones, and within our individual language/languages the same sets of phonetic sounds and available meanings, and within certain parameters the same tasks and the tools with which to accomplish them.

    Some of us master these things and understand how they work and that is enough. Some of us use them daily but do not bother to understand how they work, and that is enough. Others use these tools, but feel that they can be used more efficiently or more extravagantly. These are the people who out of necessity create "new" uses for these pre-existing tools, or new tools for these pre-existing uses. And in this way old ideas can appear to be fresh, and out of the same elements that have always been here art and technology arise. This appears to be at least part the process that we call creativity...
     
  13. scilosopher Registered Senior Member

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    Just to clarify my point creativity is not recognizing a good idea when you see it, which seems to be the current focus of the discussion. It is coming up with the idea that is new ... hence the CREATE part ... which is the essence of creativity.

    Any idea is going to be useless if you don't recognize it's value.
     
  14. Imahamster Registered Senior Member

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    Creativity is reading “sturck” and seeing a wealth possibilities instead of a finger slip.

    Creativity is exploring what creativity could be instead of defining what it has been.

    Creativity is a nice way of saying one is a hair-brained loon-a-tic.

    Creativity is seeing that every post on this thread is right.

    Creativity is…
     
  15. Yogamojo Here's lookin' at you...? Registered Senior Member

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    Scilosopher, I hear you man...

    My post should strengthen your argument, not detract from it: We're saying the same thing: we all have the same materials to work with, but it is coming up with a fresh usage (or idea, as you say) that marks creativity. Of course "recognizing" a fresh idea cannot be classified as creativity, that is what is left for our mechanics and technicians, not our resident creators. My point is that we have all of the same elements available to us; it is how we use what is already here that determines our creativity...
     
  16. Yogamojo Here's lookin' at you...? Registered Senior Member

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    Imahamster!

    Ahhhh, how refreshing...You know, for a round, furry little thing you sure do have a round, furry little way of creatively summing up creativity! Thank you! We can all take a lesson from an hamster!
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2002
  17. scilosopher Registered Senior Member

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    let alone the fact (s)he is a hamster to begin with ...

    (see imahamster, if I don't even know whether you're male or female it makes verbal usage annoying ...)
     
  18. kmguru Staff Member

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    Aha! the very act of learning to use "fire" is to solve some prickly problems - eating raw meat and its associated effects, keeping warm and burning your enemy's hut and so on...

    Even the art, music and literature provides us with the enjoyment we seek. Everything humans do has a purpose and solves someones need to gratify their wishes.

    If you watch the old "connections" series in PBS, you will find that all discoveries and inventions are based on prior work and some one connected the dots ...the "eureka" (I found it) factor.

    On one level, "Love" is mystery, esoteric, unknowable...on another, it is information and logical conclusion, weights and factors, parameters and properties, variables and values, chaos and order....
     
  19. Imahamster Registered Senior Member

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    Hamsters can blush!

    Yogamojo, thanks. (Rather share seeds than lessons.)

    Scilosopher, combine ‘em all and call this hamster s(he)it. Hehe. Or use whatever suits your fancy at the moment. (Interesting how language usage re-enforces gender awareness.)
     
  20. SeekerOfTruth Unemployed, but Looking Registered Senior Member

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    Re: Hamsters can blush!

    You might want to reconsider that Imahamster.

    Living in south Texas has made me more sensitive to the way people say things and here, s(he)it reads, and would be pronounced, a little differently than you might think.

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  21. Imahamster Registered Senior Member

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    Whoosh...

    SeekerOfTruth, an inflated hamster is not a good hamster. (Puffed up hamster, floating, can’t keep paws on ground, in danger of bursting.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2002
  22. kmguru Staff Member

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    There goes the creativity thread....
     
  23. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

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    Ah well...

    They can't go on forever (although some of them SEEM to.)

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