Creativity is not a thing, creativity is a process
. I've never been walking down the street when suddenly I tripped over a creativity somebody left lying around.
There are no doubt numerous ways one can look at creativity. Some people see creativity as a synthesis of old forms, arising from some inexplicable place. Others view creativity as the ability to think outside the box. Yet others see creativity as merely the process of change. Creativity makes use of the fact that the map is not the territory in order to create new maps of reality.
Between all of these perspectives there are three constants:
- Putting things together
- Taking things apart
- Keeping things the same
Along these lines, it is noteworthy that in Hinduism
there are three main Gods.
- Brahma, the God of Creation
- Shiva, the God of Destruction
- Vishnu, the God of Sustenance
In this sense, Brahma puts things together, Shiva takes things apart and Vishnu keeps things as they are.
Hegel's Theory of Dialectic contains these elements as well: "thesis-antithesis-synthesis"
From the perspective of thermodynamics, entropy is always increasing in the universe. When order is increased somewhere, it must decrease somewhere else. When something is put together, something else must be taken apart. When something is 'created', something else must be destroyed.
It is therefore that I propose that Creativity, in its traditional sense, can be defined as the process of taking something apart and putting something else together out its constituent elements or new elements.
Anything can be taken apart. A physical object can be deconstructed and rearranged in a new way. A world-view, paradigm, idea, belief system, etc. can be broken down and give way to the building up of a new world-view, paradigm, idea, etc. When an old way of thinking is deconstructed and something new is constructed to take its place, this is creativity.
Psychologists using the model of Neurolinguistic Programming have developed the following cognitive model for creativity by studying the process Walt Disney used in his creative endeavors.
- Step one: Make three circles on the floor using three different colors.
- Step two: Label one circle "fantasy", label one circle "criticism" and label the last circle "realistic".
- Step three: Step into the fantasy circle and allow your thoughts to wander to the fantastic. There's no need to judge any idea, simply let the ideas flow freely without stopping or constricting them. Step out of the circle and write down your ideas.
- Step four: Step into the criticism circle and allow yourself to objectively critique the ideas from this place. What is good about it? What is bad about it? How will people receive this idea? Step out of the circle and write down your criticisms.
- Step five: Step into the realistic circle and ask yourself how this can be translated into the real world, and if it can be translated into the real world. Step out of the circle and record your thoughts.
- Step six: Take steps to complete your project using your new perspectives.