Faculty of creativity LO30309

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@postino.up.ac.za)
Date: 06/25/03

Replying to LO30300 --

Dear Organlearners,

John Zavacki <systhinc@msn.com> wrote

>Do you think that Einstein or Copernicus would be remembered
>today if someone other than self had taught them creativity???

Greetings dear John,

Thank you for this penetrating question. It is not easy to answer it.

It depends on what, how and why creativity is taught. I will attend to
each in the next three paragraphs.

For example, i will definitely answer NO when creativity is taught as a
left-brain vs right-brain activity. Hundreds of consultants all over the
world make a living by training others in this model, although very few
trainees have had a major benefit from it. Try to fit Einstein or
Copernicus into this model and you will get nowhere.

It also depends on imagination. For the majority of people creativity and
imagination is the same thing. I am one of the few exceptions who think
that creativity involves both the material and mental worlds whereas
imagination is a pure mental thing not only relying on creativity, but
giving feedback to creativity. So when training in creativity is given
while imagination is suppressed, i would again answer definitely NO.

When training in creativity is given to increase profits, it is usually a
flop. Neither Einstein nor Copernicus did their creative work for any
financial gains. For example, Keith Rodgers, Toronto advertising
executive, noted: "While the $52M ad campaign won advertising awards, it
had little impact on getting consumers to drink more milk. But the Milk
Calendar has [resulted in incremental sales of] about five million litres
of milk. Despite a huge level of market success, the calendar has been
largely ignored in the advertising business ... and has never won an
So, when teaching creativity denies the passion and satisfaction which it
affords, i will answer NO.

YES, teaching in creativity can be beneficial, provided .......

For example, Beethoven was perhaps the most creative musician ever. He
eagerly sought the teaching of an expert in a particular field. He readily
acknowledged the value of their teachings, but he also admitted getting
irritated as soon as he began to experience that their training
constrained his own creativity. The writer Goethe admitted to the same
thing. He loved to study philosphies exploring their ingenuity, but as
soon as they began to make business out of it, he put them down.

Both Beethoven and Goethe were very sensitive to a rythm in their work.
The same rythm in evolution, nature's own creativity, was called almost
two centuries later "punctuated equilibria" by Steven Gould. It is the
swing between two asymptotes -- digestions close to equilibrium and
bifurcations far from equilibrium.

The problem with teaching any subject in modern education is that it does
not take heed of punctuated equilibria in the learning process. It is
merely a rush to absorb as much information as possible in the time
avialable. Even worse, when the teaching on is the subject creativity
while these punctuated equilibria are ignored, it will do the learner far
more harm than good.

When a person teaches him/herself, there is no other way to proceed than
by way of punctuated equilibria. I have studied many biographies of self
taught people in all walks of life. Each gave an account (but not using
the terminology) in a lesser or greater amount of this punctauted
equilibria in their personal mastery.

If fellow learners want to read how somebody's eyes opened up to these
punctuated equilibria constituting the dance of nature, read John
Brockman's "The Third Culture -- Beyond the Scientific Revolution",
especially chapter 4. It is available at:
< http://www.edge.org/documents/ThirdCulture/k-Ch.4.html >

The one side of the creativity coin is punctuated equilibria. The other
side is the 7Es (seven essentialities of creativity). But i will leave
them for another day.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@postino.up.ac.za> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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