Sunday, June 7, 2009

Why isn't everyone creative?

From the chapter 'The Childlike Adult'. Page 148, 'The Human Zoo' by Desmond Morris:

"In any thriving super-tribal city all the citizens should be potential 'inventors'. Why, then, do so few of them indulge in active creativity, while the others are satisfied to enjoy their inventions second-hand, watching them on television or are content to play simple games and sports with strictly limited possibilities for inventiveness?

Part of the answer is that children are subordinate to adults. Inevitably, dominant animals try to control the behaviour of their subordinates. Much as adults may love their children, they cannot help seeing them as a growing threat to dominance. They know that with ultimate senility they will have to give way to them, bu they do everything they can to postpone the evil day. There is therefore a strong tendency to suppress inventiveness in members of the community younger than oneself. An appreciation of the value of their 'fresh eyes' and their new creativeness works against this, but it is an uphill struggle.

By the time the new generation has matured to the point where its members could be wildly inventive, childlike adults, they are already burdened with a heavy sense of conformity. Struggling against this as hard as they can, they in turn are then faced with the threat of another younger generation coming up beneath them, and the suppressive process repeats itself.

Only those rare individuals who experience an unusual childhood, from this point of view, will be able to achieve a level of great creativity in adult life. How unusual does such a childhood have to be? It either has to be so suppressive that the growing child revolts against the traditions of its elders in a big way (many of our greatest creative talents were so-called delinquent children), or it has to be so un-suppressive that the heavy hand of conformity rests lightly on its shoulder....

The vast majority of children will, of course, receive a more balanced mixture of punishment and reward for their inventiveness and will emerge into adult life with personalities that are both moderately creative and moderately conformist.Their attitude to the childlike adults will be ambivalent; on the one hand they will applaud them for providing the much-needed sources of novelty, but on the other they will envy them.

The creative talent will therefore find himself alternately praised and damned by society in a bewildering way, and will be constantly in doubt about his acceptance by the rest of the community. "

1 comment:

Gaurav said...

Interesting. So, even creativity follows the same pattern as IQ?! (Reverse bell curve?).

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