The Creative Personality and  Where  is Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

My notes on Creative Personality are missing and I don’t know why. I will find them or redo them at a later date.

Where is Creativity

  • Obvious answer: Mental activity, some insight created in head of “special’” people
  • Misleading
  • We can’t know if it is new, we need standard. Cant know if it is valuable without social evaluation
  • THEREFORE creativity NOT someone’s head.
  • Interaction of sociocultural context and thoughts
  • Many people think they come up with new ideas, but they don’t. It has already been done.
  • Who is right? The individual that believes he has been creative or the social context that denies it?
  • If we assume it is the individual, then we make creativity subjective
  • Personal Note: Is it bad for creativity to be subjective?
  • Not bad, but not what the term was originally supposed to mean.
  • Personal Note: where does he get the original definition?
  • Creativity with a “C” means to bring something new that is valuable enough to be added to the culture
  • If social confirmation is required, then creativity must be more than the individual
  • Problem: the word “creativity” in common use, covers too much ground.
  • 3 phenomena that can be called creativity
  • People with unusual thoughts (i.e. people who are smart),
  • These people are brilliant rather than creative.
  • People who experience the world in novel or unique ways
  • People who have fresh ideas and perceptions, discover things that only they know about
  • These people are personally creative
  • 3.peopel who change the culture
  • Creative without definition
  • These definitions are not about “degree.” One is not more or less, they are different ways of being creative
  • People who contribute to the culture may not be particularly interesting on a personal level. They can be highly driven, extremely abstract or socially stilted, what matters is their contributing to the culture
  • Talent – innate ability to do something well
  • Genius – both brilliant and creative
  • The Systems Model
  • Must pass through the field and be accepted into the general culture
  • 3 Domains
  • Domain – symbolic set of rules and procedures
  • Math is a domain
  • Domains nested in culture
  • Symbolic knowledge shared by society
  • Field – the people who act as gate keepers to the domain
  • They decide what gets recognized
  • Person – the individual who uses the symbols of a domain to make a new idea
  • People use the symbols of the domain to build the field. The field is evaluated by the gatekeepers who decide which elements are stable and which are not.
  • SO
  • Creativity is any act, idea or product that changes an existing domain into a new one. And the definition of a creative person is: someone whose thoughts and actions change a domain or establish a new domain
  • REMEMBER a domain cannot be changed with implicit or explicit consent of the field
  • Consequences…
  • Personal creativity isn’t what matters
  • Product matters
  • Can’t be creative in a domain you don’t know
  • Must be recognized
  • Can only be manifested in existing domains
  • Creativity cannot exist without recognition
  • Creativity changes with fluctuations in recognition, evaluation, etc
  • Personal Note: What is the purpose of the systems model?
  • Important because fields have to change for individual creativity to matter
  • How do creative renaissance occur?
  • The studies in the field open up new knowledge in the domain and suddenly lots of people start using these new tools. There is a surge of creativity.
  • There also has to be an accepting sociocultural environment
  • Personal Note: this explains the surge in creativity that comes with the computer age
  • Domains of Knowledge and Action
  • Information gained my symbols
  • Extrasomatic
  • Must be learned
  • Domains are evidence of creativity
  • Despite variety of domains, common reasons
  • Endurance, advancement etc
  • Several ways domains can help or hinder creativity
  • Clarity of structure
  • Centrality within the culture
  • Accessibility
  • Knowledge should be well organized, accessible
  • When peak creativity is reached depends on domain and parameters of domain
  • Memes – units of cultural information
  • Because of scarcity of attention we must be selective
  • Fields affect rates of creativity by being reactive or proactive
  • Choosing narrow or broad filters
  • Connection with the rest of the social system
  • Internalizing the system
  • A person must recreate the domain within their own mind
  • A person must understand the judgments of the field