We’re very pleased to have our very first guest post here at Thoughtwrestling. Annemieke writes about the mind, personal development and more at Mindstructures.com. In this post, Annemieke explains when creativity is an essential step in human development.
I have always been fascinated by the tension between the individual versus the collective. How much of being yourself is too much? Do we have to live according our own personal values or do we have to follow the rules of society? How far do we go in following those rules?
I studied many of those models and came to the conclusion that in essence they are very much the same. But in order to fit together they need some different approaches and a bit of renaming.
So for some time now, I have been using a model on my blog that is based on several existing models. And the more I worked with that model, the more I realized the importance of creativity.
What is creativity?
So lately I was especially fascinated by creativity. What exactly is creativity? What is the difference between self-expression and creativity? And between creativity and art?
Then I realized how much creativity has to do with the individual versus society. As I see it now, it has everything to do with that.
Creativity is not just self-expression. And it is not necessarily art.
I think it is just about finding a pure and independent way of the individual, of dealing with the outside world. Combining personal experience with external information. Which has no other choice than to be unique.
The difference between creating and producing
Creativity literally means the ability to create. And to create is to make or produce.
But making or producing is not necessarily a result from the combination of personal experience combined with external information. In most cases it is external information combined with external experience.
How to do something is taught to us by other people: we just follow the instructions that they give us.
But that is not creativity. Most people will agree that creativity needs a more independent and individual approach.
Now I think creativity is extremely important. I really think its value is far underrated and it is often seen as something nice and great for children, but for adults it is just not very useful.
And in a way that is true. A life that is not based on creativity is possible. Because as important as it might be, it is not the most essential need we humans have.
Hierarchy of human needs
Maslow used a model that shows a hierarchy in human needs. First are the physiological needs like air, food and sleep. Second are safety needs like protection and security. Third are our social needs like acceptance, belonging and respect.
After those needs are satisfied, the next need is creativity.
So as important as creativity is, as long as the other needs are not satisfied, creativity is less relevant.
Development of a human being
The essence of the model that I use, is a development in three phases. I use the human life as a measurement tool and the phases are pre-individual, individual and post-individual.
Transitions are in puberty and midlife (although it might be much earlier or much later), puberty as the transition from a native background to discover a unique personality and become an independent individual. And the transition in midlife is from being a unique personality to being part of the world as a whole again, only now with a individual contribution to that world.
People might get stuck in one of the two phases. Either to be to selfish and see the world mostly from your own point of view. Or be too little selfish and see the world only from the point of view of others.
Now both are equally important. The only thing that is necessary is the timeline. Seeing the point of view of others has to come AFTER seeing the world from a selfish and personal point of view.
Recently I read a book ‘Science, Order and Creativity’, that gave a great explanation of how that works. It says that creativity must get the chance to experience a completely independent growth. People who are developing their creative talents should not be criticized and also not praised or rewarded in the early stages – this allows independent growth.
Development of creativity
But it is not enough to just BE creative, it is just as important to DEVELOP creativity. And so I thought I could use the model of development for creativity.
1. There has to be space for free play.
2. It has to be sustained, being focused and concentrated.
3. Learning from others, discussions and interaction.
4. Using personal emotions and experiences.
5. Taking a unique perspective.
6. Develop skills, analyze, being functional and productive.
7. Presentation, feedback and working together.
8. Defining value and defending against attacks.
9. See where it fits in society and start promoting.
10. Being constructive, seeking borders and becoming an authority.
11. Dialogue and seeing the essence of other creative individuals.
12. Sacrifice, selfless sharing with others.
Human development and the importance of creative individuals
Many problems can not be solved by using existing frameworks and using solutions in a mechanical way. Creativity needs the space to develop on its own.
The world needs people who can think for themselves. Who can create new things instead of copying familar products and solutions. Who select existing information based on their own personal experience instead of following common methods and practices.
We also need people who do not to conclude their view as the ultimate truth, but who can get into a dialogue and look at all the views to find the solutions. Who can build something according to their own values and insights with courage and enthusiasm but who become flexible and wise enough to use insights from other people when it makes sense to do so.
In short, the creative development of the individual is an essential part of our continuing evolution as a whole.
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