People have always tried to express their personality in some meaningful and valuable ideas, theories or works of art. There is an amazing variety of cultures and languages in the world, which represent the difference of mental vision of reality by certain groups united in an ethnos. Moreover, individual achievements of the world's great minds have become the mover of scientific and humanitarian progress. These facts promote the persistent interest in human creative potential and its importance for society's development.
Creativity can show both the activity of an individual and the objects of culture, produced in the process of such activity. Creativity is a reflection of human nature, the attitude to the world, desires, dreams, and feelings that move mankind forward. The basis of creativity is the open attitude to the world and readiness to share one’s achievements. A creative person can receive external information and openly face problems in the world. Such people are in a persistent and urgent search for a solution or a way out. They can collaborate with others or choose an individual way of producing something creative.
In the modern world, creativity is often understood not as a process, and not even as an artistic activity or result of such activity, but as an image or lifestyle, a way of relating to the world. It implies that any individual is tolerant and pluralistic with respect to other’s differences. The individual development of creativity is determined by the interaction of a person with culture and society.
This essay focuses on a detailed consideration of the modern approaches to the concept of creativity, its importance in society and analyzes the possibility of creative competence development.
Definition of Creativity
There are some general definitions of creativity. Some people refer to this concept as the items of art, pieces of music, literary texts or productions limited on the timeline. Others see creativity as a set of human features necessary for performing different kinds of art. In this meaning, it implies various human hobbies and artistic interests. There are also those, who define the concept as the moments of insight and inspiration, some inward crises, leading to a new stage of human development. Finally, some people understand creativity as collaboration and synergy of creative minds.
As a human feature, creativity reveals the level of natural talent and education and constitutes a relatively firm personality characteristic. It directly depends on the ability to bring something new into the world and communicate with the world’s demands and necessities. In recent years, the term has become widespread in international psychology. It is connected with such concepts as abilities and personality.
Barron, summarizing the research in this area, made the generalization that creativity is the ability to respond to the necessity for new methods and new products. The creation of a new product depends on the personality of the creator’s personal vision and the intensity of intrinsic motivation. Specific properties of the creative process are the originality, consistency, validity, and adequacy of the chosen problem.
Various researches lead to the conclusion that the psychological basis of the productive ability of the creative imagination can be understood as a synthesis of imagination and reincarnation. The need for creativity is a constant and strong need for applying creative imagination. The creative person is constantly experiencing frustration, tension or alarm detecting, in reality, the lack of clarity, simplicity, completeness, and harmony. It is like a barometer, which reacts to the controversy, discomfort or disharmony. With the help of creative imagination, a creator fixes in his or her subconscious the disharmony and the reality. It creates a new world, in which a person feels comfortable and happy. That is why the process of creation and its products deliver pleasure and require constant renewal.
Socio-Cultural Aspects of Creativity
In the social context, creativity is the ability to produce extraordinary, brand new things and break stereotypes. As a human characteristic, creativity is necessary both for a successful career and happy life of an individual or a group. A creative person is an inventor, someone who dreams, turning everything into something new and unique.
Nowadays, employers look for people who can produce new ideas and new ways for some traditional problems. They try to hire people with different cultural experiences. Cross-cultural communication can enrich and broaden the vision of the solution to traditional problems. Many successful companies try to employ people with different cultural backgrounds and make different mentalities cooperate and create together for the common good.
Creativity implies a persistent reconsideration of ideas and ideals in response to the challenges of the outer world. Society is a congregation of creative achievements and it reflects their novelty and actuality. Creativity is revealed through sharing and improvisation. Moreover, communication with creative people and the products of creativity encourages the necessity for individual productive power. The more people face and perceive the unknown and beautiful, the more images can interact and transform into a new idea in their individual minds.
The modern world tends to globalization, which implies numerous advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, people get a possibility to meet and perceive the creative achievements and methods of other nations. They can enrich their artistic experience and meet people with other values and mentality. Many artists find resources for their creativity in traveling and sharing impressions and revelations. On the other hand, globalization leads to the generalization of values, imposing and exposing the power of money and income discrimination. Money initiates the competition and outward motives for creativity. However, valuable and meaningful items of art usually appear because of some inner insight and revelation, but not for money. This duality bears the problem of creativity motivation and purity.
The rapid increase of information available in the modern world causes the necessity to find optimal and precise decisions for every specific problem. That is why people should learn and acquire the techniques of effective collaboration and synergy. This approach implies the development of non-violent forms of communication, tolerance, and pluralism. Non-oppressive communication encourages creativity and the desire to interact. Pride and the habit to compare and estimate lead to the creation of a wall between the communicants. Creativity in the social aspect is stipulated by individual creative characteristics and achievements of the communicants.
Creativity and Crisis
Some scientists acknowledge the fact that creativity can be combined with some psychopathological disorders. For example, Sigmund Fraud states that creative items are the products of neurosis or mental disorder of a creator. He suggests that different people are endowed with a different amount of sexual energy or libido, which can transform in creativity, if not applied directly. The scientist claims that the sublimation, or creative transformation, takes place when libido does not find a way out for the direct satisfaction of primary sexual needs.
The inner conflict often becomes the starting point for creativity. Geniuses are seldom happy in personal life. They often become victims of some inward force, which looks for self-realization in certain items of culture. The duality of the creator implies the phenomenon of the natural split of personality into a real and creative self. Creative people often behave strange and eccentric in everyday life. Strong demand in the activities of the imagination, linked with curiosity and the need for new experiences, gives creative personality the trait of initiative and creative courage.
Creative courage is a feature of the creative self, and it cannot handle the real self in everyday life. For example, the duality of the creative mind can be often observed in professorial distraction. Scientists often live in their personal world of imagination, which sometimes makes the behavior not quite appropriate and adequate. Such people seem to have their heads in the clouds. However, being negligent to everyday chores, scholars are very concentrated, attentive and accurate in the work.
Creativity and Intellect
Components of the intellectual and creative processes have always attracted the attention of many scientists. Interest in individual differences in creative abilities increased in connection with the apparent advances in research of intelligence and IQ measurement techniques. By the beginning of the 60s of the twentieth century, scientists had already gained experience in large-scale testing of intelligence, which in turn presented researchers with new questions. In particular, it was found that the professional and life successes are not directly related to the level of intelligence that is computed by means of tests on IQ. Experience testifies that people with not very high IQ are capable of extraordinary achievements, and many others, whose IQ is much higher, are often only left behind in the social hierarchy. It has been suggested that a crucial role in detecting creativity is played by some other qualities of mind that are not defined by traditional testing.
Modern scientists state that the effectiveness of problem-solving does not depend on the knowledge and skills measured by intelligence tests, but derived from a special ability to use the information extraordinarily and fast. They view such ability as creativity.
Guildford made an indispensable contribution to the study of creativity by identifying 16 intellectual abilities that characterize it. The most crucial, in his opinion, are fluency, flexibility, originality, curiosity and critical evaluation. Fluency implies the number of ideas originating in a certain unit of time. Flexibility reflects the ability to switch from one idea to another. Originality means the ability to produce ideas that are different from conventional thinking. Curiosity underlines the importance of the increased sensitivity to the problems and logical independence.
In 1967, Guilford combined these factors in the general concept of divergent thinking, which reflects the cognitive side of creativity. Creativity implies the ability to abandon the stereotypical ways of thinking. The basis of creativity is divergent thinking, which means a mindset going in different directions.
Creative competence is a manifestation of such aspects as creative ability and natural talent. These conditions include the presence of general intellectual abilities that exceed the average level, as well as enthusiasm for task fulfillment. Certain vital factors referred to as circumstances and fate, which unsuccessful people usually apply in cases of failure and missed an opportunity, also can play a crucial role.
Creativity and Lifestyle
G. Allport states that any person has his or her creative style. Every composer, pianist, sculptor, dancer, poet, playwright, actor, speaker, photographer, acrobat is unique in creativity as any housewife and mechanic. Style is evident wherever the integrated and mature behavior of an individual is involved. In other words, creativity as an expression of human individuality in limited areas of practice does not necessarily mean painting or playing musical instruments. It can be expressed in such every day matters as cooking dinner, repairing the car and even washing floors.
Personality is the result of a process of education and self-education. Personality is not given but rather acquired in the process of learning and labor. It is characteristic of people who are aware of their uniqueness and originality.
Some researchers believe that creative ability is characteristic of every normal person. All children who have not got psychic deviations perceive the world as inventors. The process of a child’s learning implies the acquaintance with objects and concepts for the first time. Every child is a discoverer as he needs to learn as much as possible for successful adaptation. From the very beginning of life, creativity reveals the personal ability to think, talk, feel and finally respond.
Analysis of the Major Challenges of Creativity Development
Experiencing oppression can become an obstacle on the way to inspiration. There is a problem of motivation, promoted by inward or outward factors. Some people become the actors because they feel a strong personal need for the process, and some people are directed by outward motivation and necessity to get success or fulfill the task. The absence of oppression and any violation is necessary in teaching children as it is their natural age characteristic to perceive the world through the game. It is impossible to make a child play if he or she does not want to.
Different general rules and laws saturate human lives in everyday activity, for example, the rules of etiquette or regular schedule and many others. Such activities are performed automatically and reflexively. Stereotyped action, boredom from repeatability and similarity are in persistent conflict with the ability to be a creator and see the world freshly. Therefore, creativity implies the ability to see things from a new perspective, that is, for example, look for unusual ways to use ordinary things. In this case, creativity flourishes and it gives a strong impetus to further development. No one needs to lock oneself in social stereotypes. In this meaning, creativity reflects looking for unusual ways and improvisation for performing usual actions.
The development of creativity has different characteristics in each age period, and the various factors influencing its dynamics in a given period may acquire various meanings. The main development problems of creativity as personal creative abilities are commonplace human life, the rigidity of social stereotypes and suppression of creative needs. Another problem is the rearing of children by means of the typical system of training, based on the stories, rather than on the provision of opportunities for pupils to acquire knowledge through their experience. It is important to encourage students to find solutions to problems, not to stuff them with factual knowledge.
The more people let themselves be different, the more chances to become a creative person they will have. The twentieth century has proven the invalidity of reproductive thinking methods and stereotypes, which made people ordinary. The modern generation needs creativity for opportunities and success.
Creativity has become an essential part of social progress. People have learned to derive pleasure from observing objects of art and living in an artistic environment. However, creativity needs constant crises and its further overcoming. The constant antagonism between the present and desired makes people create. The objects of art acquire their value in the process of artistic revelation. Creativity implies constant challenges and adaptation to their presence in life. It forms an alert and critical mind, ready to react adequately here and now. The experience of winning and overcoming one’s weaknesses and problems becomes key to any personal development and acquires individual value in the process of creative collaboration and sharing.
The challenges of creativity development are determined primarily by a person’s attitude to his or her creativity. Personal characteristics can become an insurmountable obstacle for the realization of even the most ambitious creative potential, but a persistent and emotionally rich person can achieve unexpected results.