Human beings have reached quite almost everywhere. The uncharted areas however, have held the mystery and appeal to the realms of the curious and inquisitive minds. When the mind in itself and curiosity is in the picture, then, it is but expected that all ignited minds would come together to solve one of the biggest mysteries of our time, which is On Creativity of mind. On creativity is a product of 6 authors belonging to different areas of expertise, cultures, nationalities, gender, perspective, thought and intellect.
The book moves at a very fast pace from author to author within the span of 6 essays which blend together the thoughts on how conscious we are about creativity? What are the necessary conditions for creativity? Can creativity be predicted? Is creativity, nationality specific? Or is creativity, truly domain specific? Is there always a divine connection associated with creativity and we are merely vessels for some supreme power to exert itself through us, using us as a medium? The answer to all these questions and more continues to make creativity in effect largely unpredictable. The answer to the question of creativity eludes us and this very reason makes it even more interesting to us, to continue on its pursuit. The end product of each essay not just mesmerizes but also elevates one to another incomprehensible level and alternate thinking, maybe even with the want to open the gates to the subconscious.
In the book On Creativity, Edited by Sudhir Kakar and Gunter Blamberger, we can broadly conclude following to be the major characteristics/habits/traits of highly creative people:
- NO ONE BELIEVES IN THEM
Exceptionally creative people are different from majority of people. They face the risk of fall from exceptional state of genius to the state of depression and eventual exclusion from community as no one else believes in them. They do not conform to the generally accepted norms of the society, hence appear to be oddly different and unacceptable to many.
- PENT UP ANGER
It is hinted that aggression in creative people acts as a major catalyst, as this is the aggression directed towards an opponent (real or symbolic social institutions) that tries to restrain the self development of these highly creative individuals. An interesting example quoted in the book illustrates this as how creativity fails in University Examination, where the examiner doesn’t accept anything other than his own thoughts’ echo and the ‘peculiar sound’ of the examinee is unacceptable. However, the education system fails to understand that nothing can truly come out of imitation. Each one of us was made to be different by nature, such that no two minds or no two faces are alike. We were born ‘originals’ but we die as ‘copies’.
- PLENTY OF LEISURE TIME
Creativity also emerges from having a lot of leisure time to achieve the output, as that’s when new thoughts emerge in these individuals’ mind.
- FOLLOW THEIR OWN PATH
Creative geniuses leave the main path of many, in order to follow their ‘own path’ and then trust in chance. A person who has maintained his/her own originality in this world may in fact have seeds of creative genius. Free will is often what sets them on the creative path.
- MAJORITY ARE WESTERNERS
Due to certain cultural reasons, it is observed in the book that Asians are less creative than Western society, when it comes to creativity being associated with innovativeness. Reasons that hold back Asians are that they aspire harmony between family and society. They have an innate desire to gain society’s approval. Hence greater emphasis is laid on conforming to the society rather than individualization. This maybe because Asian societies are following the principle of Confucianism, where creativity or something ‘new’ is not breaking away from tradition but rather an extension of tradition. The school of thought gets creative as a result of evolution and not revolution. Confucianism also talks about taking the middle path, or being conservative.
- RECIPE OF CREATIVITY
They are usually described as intelligent, open minded, logical, capable, energetic, imaginative, active, motivated, willing to take a stand, inquisitive, curious, adventurous, ambitious, self-confident, determined, enthusiastic, free spirited, nonconformist, individualistic, assertive, daring, artistic, with good aesthetic taste, and last but not the least, blessed with good sense of humor.
- HAVE FACED POVERTY
Poverty results in inventiveness, something that can be easily expressed through an example from the book, ‘constant entrepreneurial creativity carried out by slum dwellers to stave off lurking starvation’.
- PAIN ACTS AS A MOTIVATOR
Freud has been considered in the book where he insists that despite his total commitment to work, he still needed some measure of physical or psychic pain, not just for working but for working well.
- EXPERIENCE DIVINE CONNECTION
Artists, scientists and mathematicians, as Margaret notes in her essay, report that they have no idea how they came up with their valuable new ideas. Some even state that it is something ultra human or maybe a divine power did so.
- EXPERIENCE IN A PARTICULAR DOMAIN
James in his essay observes that, the process of acquiring expertise in the area requires approximately 10 years. Creativity remains domain specific as it is very hard to be creative in different genres together.
The book makes one rethink on a lot of things in life that one may have considered as constant in that part of the mind that we are least aware of, called, the subconscious mind.
The beauty of this book lies not in the fact that it is a collection of essays, but in the fact that it consists of essays, not concluding what creativity is or what is the basis of its origin, for that is and will remain a mystery for a very long time.
The authors of respective essays have also tried to understand how creativity can be used fruitfully, providing readers a holistic view on creativity. Each chapter makes one feel like something new has been unveiled, that can be used in our own individual pursuits of creativity.
From the desk of your book nerd faffer,