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Defining Creativity comprehensively explains what creativity is, from a biological, psychological, and socio-cultural standpoint. At the same time, it makes for a concise and inspiring read that brings together everything there is to know about creativity.
Attempts to show how innovation in the post-Google generation is often catalyzed by those who cross a conventional line so firmly drawn between the arts and the sciences.
“The authors look at art and science together to examine how innovations—from Picasso’s initially offensive paintings to Steve Jobs’s startling iPhone—build on what already exists and rely on three brain operations: bending, breaking and blending. This manifesto . . . shows how both disciplines foster creativity.” —The Wall Street Journal “The Runaway Species approach[es] creativity scientifically but sensitively, feeling its roots without pulling them out.” —The Economist The Runaway Species is a deep dive into the creative mind, a celebration of the human spirit, and a vision of how we can improve our future by understanding and embracing our ability to innovate. David Eagleman and Anthony Brandt seek to answer the question: what lies at the heart of humanity’s ability—and drive—to create? Our ability to remake our world is unique among all living things. But where does our creativity come from, how does it work, and how can we harness it to improve our lives, schools, businesses, and institutions? Eagleman and Brandt examine hundreds of examples of human creativity through dramatic storytelling and stunning images in this beautiful, full-color volume. By drawing out what creative acts have in common and viewing them through the lens of cutting-edge neuroscience, they uncover the essential elements of this critical human ability, and encourage a more creative future for all of us.
The Act of Creation begins where this view ceases to be true. Koestler affirms that all creatures have the capacity for creative activity, frequently suppressed by the automatic routines of thought and behavior that dominate their lives. The study of psychology has offered little in the way of an explanation of the creative process, and Koestler suggests that we are at our most creative when rational thought is suspended - for example in dreams and trance-like states. Then the mind is capable of receiving inspiration and insight. Taking humor as his starting point, Koestler examines what he terms 'bisociative' thinking - the creative leap made by the mind that gives rise to new and startling perceptions and glimpses of reality. From here he assesses the workings of the mind of the scientific or artistic genius. The general reader as well as the reader with a deeper knowledge of the topics covered will find this richly documented study of creativity both illuminating and compelling.
After Newton died in 1727, a monument was erected in the Scientist's Corner of Westminster Abbey. It was decorated with a pile of four books and adorned with cherubs holding a prism, a telescope and newly minted coins. The implication is clear. Newton's towering intellect and god-given gift for creative thinking was the origin of his inspiration. Not far away, at the front of the monument to Newton, is the tomb of Charles Darwin, who published On the Origin of Species, which first discussed the evolution of man. The proximity of the monuments is telling. If we are to define the single, most unique human attribute evolution has produced, it must be our ability to think creatively. Thinking is the ultimate human resource. Breaking through the barriers posed by dogma, and reaching beyond the limits of established patterns of thinking to discover what is new and useful is the engine that drives society. This book, which had its genesis in a conference organized by Karl Pfenninger, and held at Aspen, Colorado, entitled 'Higher brain function, art and science: an interdisciplinary examination of the creative process', brings together articles by thirteen contributors from the fields of science, art and music. Two of the contributors have been awarded Nobel prizes, and all are distinguished representatives of their fields. The Origins of Creativity is organized around four central themes of creativity: the creative experience in art and science; the biologicalbasis of imagination, emotion and reason; creative powers and the environment; and the mind's perception of patterns. The views of artists, who couch their ideas in more metaphorical language, mingle with the analytical thoughts of scientists who strive to understand how the brain generates images and ideas. The voices of creators - artist, scientist, mathematician - and of those who study creative activity - neuroscientist, psychologist, philosopher - generate a broad spectrum of views on creativity whose integration offers new insights and becomes a creative act in itself. This book offers insights into the origins of human creativity to scientists, artists, and general readers. Its inter-disciplinary authorship presents a uniquely broad perspective on current research, and the style throughout is accessible and engaging.
An eloquent exploration of creativity, The Origins of Creativity grapples with the question of how this uniquely human expression—so central to our identity as individuals and, collectively, as a species—came about and how it has manifested itself throughout the history of our species. In this profound and lyrical book, one of our most celebrated biologists offers a sweeping examination of the relationship between the humanities and the sciences: what they offer to each other, how they can be united, and where they still fall short. Both endeavours, Edward O. Wilson reveals, have their roots in human creativity—the defining trait of our species. Reflecting on the deepest origins of language, storytelling, and art, Wilson demonstrates how creativity began not ten thousand years ago, as we have long assumed, but over one hundred thousand years ago in the Paleolithic age. Chronicling this evolution of creativity from primate ancestors to humans, The Origins of Creativity shows how the humanities, spurred on by the invention of language, have played a largely unexamined role in defining our species. And in doing so, Wilson explores what we can learn about human nature from a surprising range of creative endeavors—the instinct to create gardens, the use of metaphors and irony in speech, and the power of music and song. Our achievements in science and the humanities, Wilson notes, make us uniquely advanced as a species, but also give us the potential to be supremely dangerous, most worryingly in our abuse of the planet. The humanities in particular suffer from a kind of anthropomorphism, encumbered by a belief that we are the only species among millions that seem to matter, yet Wilson optimistically reveals how researchers will have to address this parlous situation by pushing further into the realm of science, especially fields such as evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and anthropology. With eloquence and humanity, Wilson calls for a transformational "Third Enlightenment," in which the blending of these endeavors will give us a deeper understanding of the human condition and our crucial relationship with the natural world.

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