The Irony of Creativity

by dharris63

I was surprised when the readings from this week built my understanding of creativity and constraints from last week. I disagree with Gardner’s nomothetic methodology, but I do appreciate his attempt to classify intelligence into categories such as logical-mathematical and bodily-kinesthetic. Once he found ways to classify intelligence, he was able to describe artistic output as a function of a person’s strengths and weaknesses in these categories. I really like the idea that a creative person is often the result of an unusual combination of intelligences. I think that’s what makes the area of computational media special: a combination of logical-mathematical and spatial or musical intelligences seems to be rare, but there is such potential for output in this area with advances in computational ability in the past few decades. There is still room for new styles of painting, but computational media is so new that there aren’t even any styles yet defined.

I was also interested in Gardner’s notion that creativity is bestowed upon an individual by society. A work is deemed creative only when is has been accepted by the majority and seen to extend existing aesthetic or scientific works. Maybe this is what people mean when they say there is a thin line between genius and insanity: they’re actually the same thing, but recognition of work as genius is only given when people can understand the work. Gardner explains that people recognized as creative have a “fruitful asynchrony” with the rest of society. I think the word asynchrony is apt because designation as asynchronous means that people understand work well enough to designate it as outside the norm. If work isn’t understood well enough to make this seemingly trivial classification, it has little hope of ever being accepted into the mainstream. It seems ironic that we can only understand creativity when its product is familiar enough to compare to existing works.


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