Friday, April 11, 2008

History and Historiometry-Chapter 7

As you can tell from the title, this chapter dealt with the history of creativity and things that are considered to be creative. There are many people mentioned that we all are familiar with and there are many others who fly under the radar. Nevertheless, there have been countless contributions to the field of creativity and there are many things that have taken place that were very interesting to me.

The chapter starts out by talking about the Wright brothers and their invention of the airplane. By all accounts I am sure we have all heard about this. What I found interesting about what the author says is that the Wright brothers were working in a time and place that was perfect for invention. The author believes that the time and the environment in which you work has a lot to do with creativity and I agree with that. He goes on to say that because of the enormous popularity of bicycles (which the Wrights were first famous for), the idea of an airplane was embraced by people because they trusted the work of the Wright brothers. This is where the author introduced two theories that are basically the crux of his arguments throughout the chapter. One theory is called the Zeitgeist and the other is known as the Great Person theory. The Zeitgeist is German for “spirit of the times” and the Great Person theory is the idea that Zeitgeist only contributes so much to creativity and that extraordinary achievements require extraordinary individuals. I agree that a Zeitgeist can be present in creativity (creativity and invention occur due to what is needed at that specific time), but I also agree with the Great Person theory because I think there are many individuals who have a lot to contribute to the field.

One quote I thought was interesting (probably because I totally agree with it!) is as follows…Zeitgeist is “the total sum of social interaction as it is common to a particular period and particular locale. One can say it is thought being affected by culture.” As I stated earlier, I agree with the notion of Zeitgeist, but I also agree that extraordinary individuals make significant contributions to creativity. But I love what was said about thought being affected by culture. I totally agree with the idea that our thoughts and the ways we do things is affected daily by culture, our environment, and our society.

There is also talk about the United States and how we may be on a downswing in terms of being creative. The author notes how the American public puts a huge emphasis on social conformity and I couldn’t agree more! Because of the need to conform to what society deems “normal,” I think many people hold back and do not express themselves freely. A reason deferring judgment is so important for us.

Finally, there is a section on serendipity that struck me because it made me think about our facilitation courses. The section talked about creativity happening by chance and lists a number of “accidental discoveries.” For example, the use of the cannon in wars led to defensive architectural developments that became basic tools of mapmaking and cartography. The author says the key word to look at is connections. It made me think about piggybacking and taking one idea and building on it. I found that to be quite interesting seeing how it’s something we’ve talked about a lot for facilitations.

There is much, much more information on the history of creativity in this chapter so if you’re interested I definitely recommend taking the time to absorb the information.

-- Frank Palisano, Graduate Student

1 comment:

Cindy said...

The U.S. workforce has many people that have become complacent -- agreed without consideration to a social standard of repressed creativity. But creativity lies beneath, can be tapped, and is forceful when released. The entrepreneur takes advantage of the opportunity, and society quickly adapts. We can change this complacency -- quickly. Look at programs like the Drum Cafe Drum Cafe to see how it works.