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drichard's picture

On reality and creativity

As the class conversation progresses, it seems more and more evident that humans, due to their self-awareness, engage reality in a give and take relationship. Matter and the laws of science come to us, we understand and master them, and then we manipulate them. The law of gravity, for example, is a basic law of nature that revealed itself to us (through that ever-important apple that bruised Sir Isaac Newton's head, and in turn left a mark on the head of humanity). We quantified it through physics and mathematics (which also "came to us"), and we manipulated it (as we do on a daily basis, from the dump truck to the study of aeronautics). This manipulation is where creativity comes into play. 

Someone is class, I'm sorry  I don't know your name, brought up Da Vinci and his flying machine. Certainly Da Vinci was a man of astounding intelligence and his machine was as novel an idea as they come, but his creativity existed not in some fantastic, original output lacking an input. It existed in his ability to combine and manipulate myriad inputs he perceived over time. In other words, his creative output was in fact a function of numerous inputs throughout his life: his education in mathematics and physics, his acquired knowledge of craftmanship, his love of birds (I don't know this for sure. Just an example) etc. Creativity comes down to an ability to combine. Creative ideas are a function of memory and the human ability to problem solve.

This leaves open the possibility that some people are naturally more creative than others as they have more accurate memories and can combine ideas and concepts more fluidly. Some people are better at thinking "outside the box" (pun intended).

This argument relates to the idea of outputs without inputs. Do they really exist?  Or is there just a time lapse between certain inputs and their respective processing? Some inputs may not generate a direct and immediate output. Also, various inputs (i.e. observations that we add to our grand summary, our concept of reality) can be called upon long after they have been perceived in a creative combination of sorts (such as Da Vinci's flying machine).

Going forward, I am very interested in the effect language has on the interpretation of matter and general reality and, in turn, how this effect plays into creativity. Language is one of the pillars of every society, thus it has a dramatic effect on how one looks at the world. Prof. Grobstein, if you are reading this, any suggestions for books on language and/or creativity? Thanks.


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