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What is creativity?

If you are going to live a creative life, it is better to understand what creativity is.  The Oxford dictionary defines creativity as the “use of imagination or original ideas to create something.” But this definition is in direct contradiction with a much more cited quote from the Bible: “There is nothing new under the […]

If you are going to live a creative life, it is better to understand what creativity is. 

The Oxford dictionary defines creativity as the “use of imagination or original ideas to create something.”

But this definition is in direct contradiction with a much more cited quote from the Bible: “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

If you need more of an artist’s definition, this one by Pearls S. Buck is quite up to the mark.

“The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him… a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god and failure is death.  Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create … so that without the creation of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.”

Albert O. Hirschman spoke about the elusive nature of creativity.

“Creativity always comes in surprise to us; therefore we can never count on it and we dare not believe in it until it has happened. In other words, we would not consciously engage in tasks whose success clearly requires that creativity be forthcoming. Hence, the only way in which we can bring our creative resources fully into play is by misjudging the nature of the task, by presenting it to ourselves as more routine, simple, undemanding of genuine creativity than it will turn out to be.”

Don Roff validated the fears of many of us by this quote.

“Regarding the creative: never assume you’re the master, only the student. Your audience will determine if you’re masterful.”

Mary Oliver put in words why many of us never lead creative lives.

The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”

But it was Lady Gaga who put the finger on the pulse of creativity.

“When you make music or write or create, it’s really your job to have mind-blowing, irresponsible, condomless sex with whatever idea it is you’re writing about at the time.”

creativity