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View Poll Results: do you believe in true creativity?

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Thread: creativity - A myth?

  1. #1 creativity - A myth? 
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    im currently doing a school project for the BT young scientist competition in ireland and my hypothesis is theres no such thing as true creativity.

    it seems to me that every creative thought is simply a mixture and combination of other objects, creatures or any kind of stimuli. i dont believe anyone can actually "create" anything.

    the experiment im running is to ask different sets of age groups to draw a picture of the most creative thing they can imagine and then i will examine the pictures to see if anything truly original emerges from the pictures

    i would appreciate some feedback on how i may improve my experiment or hypothesis or whether i should disregard it, thank you for any comments


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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    "Main Entry: create
    Part of Speech: verb
    Definition: develop in mind or physically
    Synonyms: actualize, author, beget, bring to pass, build, coin, compose, conceive, concoct, constitute, construct, contrive, design, devise, discover, dream up, effect, erect, establish, fabricate, fashion, father, forge, form, formulate, found, generate, hatch, imagine, initiate, institute, invent, invest, make, occasion, organize, originate, parent, perform, plan, procreate, produce, rear, set up, shape, sire, spawn, start, bring into being, bring into existence, cause to be, give birth to, give life to
    Antonyms: destroy, ruin"
    -Thesaurus.com

    You, and others, are confusing the word "create" to mean "cause." Slight errors like this are what makes our language far too ambiguous.

    "true creativity" is "a form of creativity that is true." If you find that one type of creativity is not true, then you are not looking at "true creativity."


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  4. #3 response - creativity - a myth? 
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    thank you i was aware of some gramatical errors and was not quite sure how to phrase my question. however, if you understand what im trying to convey i would appreciate some opinions on my basic concept unless ofcourse my wording and phrasing of my hypothysis is too difficult to follow? please inform me if it is? thank you.
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  5. #4 Re: response - creativity - a myth? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by brian-miniscientist
    thank you i was aware of some gramatical errors and was not quite sure how to phrase my question. however, if you understand what im trying to convey i would appreciate some opinions on my basic concept unless ofcourse my wording and phrasing of my hypothysis is too difficult to follow? please inform me if it is? thank you.
    What do you define as "new"? Would a never before seen combination of common things create something new? Would a representation of concepts in a new way make it "new"? Wouldn't the invention of a utilitarian device be a new creation? I think so. Whenever we try to make something new it is always inevitably new in actuality, at least in some way, since all of us are unique in the way we process the world around us and our place in it. Also, as we as humans develop, our emotional and physical surroundings evolve with it and everything we do to deal with this is almost inevitably new as well.

    The only way, to me, you can talk about the non-existence of creativity is if you define it more specifically and you’ll have to do this from the start or your presentation will not make sense.

    draw a picture of the most creative thing they can imagine
    I’d also phrase this differently. I’d rather ask them to simply draw something new. “a picture of the most creative thing” might produce a few pictures of people they feel are creative, not a personal attempt to be creative.

    Anyway, these are my thoughts to do with as you wish. :wink:
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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  6. #5  
    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    I don't agree with your premise. There is a such thing as creativity. Calling it "true" creativity just makes it more ambiguous than is necissary.

    Everything in effect, has a cause, but this doesn't make a person's creativity any less creative.

    Creativity finds it's value compared to destructiveness.

    You can destroy a house, you can create a house.

    Creativity is an attribute possessed by the creator, versus that of the destroyer, but usually used to compare someone who is especially creative with someone who is mediocre in creativity.

    In this sense creativity is a subjective attribute, because the standards it is based on are both cultural and personal.
    And in this sense, there is no universal form of creativity.

    But if you ask me there is always a universal form of every attribute, and if there is not a universal form, the definition needs to be changed so that there is.

    My definition of creativity is "the ability to express abstracts either literally and/or symbolically"

    The measure of one's creativity is whether or not others understand what you are trying to express, assuming they know the language and otherwise have average abilities of observation and abstract imagination.

    So, the ability to draw a tree is not creative. But the ability to draw a tree in such a way that people who see it understand what you are trying to express, that is.

    Creativity is not a thing of it's own, but a way to use things. Using words is a type of creativity, since we are trying to express ideas/abstracts literally with symbols/words.

    These lines a curves don't mean anything, it is only because we know the language that we can decipher what they mean.

    If I were to use them in a poetic or otherwise less common way of using them, it may be more difficult to understand them.

    Like if I was to say "understanding language is like a doctor trying to diagnose the cause of a disease via the symptoms"

    This use of an analogy is more creative although less common and therefore harder to understand than an explanation of the process of deciphering meaning. It is more creative only because it is rarer, but still gets the point across.

    If I were to say "understanding language is like a dog eating a bone" This might be true in some sense, and it is creative in some sense, but it's not very easy to understand. Do I mean that it takes a lot of time and figurative chewing of words to determine the meaning? I guess sometimes that's true, but for the most part, it comes naturally. This analogy is thus less creative because it doesn't get the point across.


    What do others think?
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  7. #6  
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    My definition of creativity is "the ability to express abstracts either literally and/or symbolically"
    i agree completely with your definiton, im having great trouble trying to phrase my hypothesis

    if i were to say "its impossible to imagine and object,animal, place or vision that is not the product of other stimuli"

    would this be correct?

    please if anyone is able to give me an accurate or valid form of wording the theory im trying to convey it would be extremely helpful!
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  8. #7  
    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    "its impossible to imagine and object,animal, place or vision that is not the product of other stimuli"

    Well, the very act of imagining is the experience of stimuli. Everything mental is the product of stimuli.

    So yeah indeed. I don't know exactly what your doing, but what I originally said about "creating" is not the same as "causing," can sum it up quite nicely, while correcting many peoples misconceptions about what it means to "create."

    When you create something, it is a combination of things that you have experienced. Experiences can both be internal and external. Monkey see monkey do.

    Take for example the images of mythical beasts that are just half animal half human hybrids. I think these are the best example of how creativity works, we just take things and mix them up.

    something to consider...

    Does a an apple tree "create" it's apples every year, or does it "cause" them to grow? The tree isn't mixing up any information to make something new, the genes, in a way, are, but it's not an act of creativity, it's an act of randomness.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brian-miniscientist
    if i were to say "its impossible to imagine and object,animal, place or vision that is not the product of other stimuli"

    would this be correct?

    please if anyone is able to give me an accurate or valid form of wording the theory im trying to convey it would be extremely helpful!
    It's correct as long as that is the question you're really trying to answer, brian. You should be less concerned with the exact definition of the word "create" and more concerned with trying to understand what your research question really is.

    Based on what you said above, it seems to me that your question is "Is all human experience the result of environmental stimuli?" If that's your question, testing this will be very difficult. Even with your drawing experiment, how will you know if what the subjects draw is a result of their experience or not? You can't possibly expect to know all the things each subject has experienced throughout their lives, so you can't possibly know if what they've drawn is a result of those experiences. This is a very interesting question, no doubt, but I think it's a little ambitious for a science fair project.

    I would suggest trying to narrow down your focus a little bit. For example, you could instead ask, "How often do people use the stimuli from their immediate surroundings when asked to be creative?" You could then use your drawing experiment, and have in the room where your test takes in place different objects; a vase of flowers, posters of animals, books on a desk, etc. Then see how many of the pictures your subjects draw include elements of those objects. This is just one suggestion, there are lots of thing related to creativity and outside stimuli that you could ask that would be interesting and easier to manage.
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  10. #9  
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    thank you very much for your help! i do now realise this project may be too ambitious as i only have about 3 or 4 months to complete it with and also i was asked to study the implications if this hypothesis is reasonably accurate and so far i cant actually think of major implications this could have? but thank you very much for the help!
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  11. #10  
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    it's very difficult to remain uninfluenced by life yes but 'true creativity' is of course real


    nothingness is entirely our own creation, we have nothing to base it on, nothing to go "look there's some nothingness", a lack of anything is true creativity


    if you want true creativity, draw a scribble on a page, the only reason we call it a scribble is because it's completely new, we can't compare it to anything making it completely created by your mind
    It's not how many questions you ask, but the answers you get - Booms

    This is the Acadamy of Science! we don't need to 'prove' anything!
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