Saturday, February 06, 2016

The Mechanics of Creativity?

Mechanism of Creativity
Burlington Continuing Education

In that same Sunday Review section of the New York Times (January 30, 2016), Adam Grant explains another factor in his article "How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off": Fewer rules. To wit:
So what does it take to raise a creative child? One study compared the families of children who were rated among the most creative 5 percent in their school system with those who were not unusually creative. The parents of ordinary children had an average of six rules, like specific schedules for homework and bedtime. Parents of highly creative children had an average of fewer than one rule.
Fewer than one rule? Would that be a little like no rules?
Creativity may be hard to nurture, but it's easy to thwart. By limiting rules, parents encouraged their children to think for themselves. They tended to "place emphasis on moral values, rather than on specific rules," the Harvard psychologist Teresa Amabile reports.
How would one teach values without talking about rules? For instance, is the Golden Rule really just a rule? Or is it a broad statement of a value? "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Wouldn't that be a value expressed as a rule? Or a rule expressing a value?
Even then, though, parents didn't shove their values down their children's throats. When psychologists compared America's most creative architects with a group of highly skilled but unoriginal peers, there was something unique about the parents of the creative architects: "Emphasis was placed on the development of one's own ethical code."
One's own ethical code? What, then, if the 'ethical' code developed is unethical? Might there be creative sociopaths? Or if not sociopathic codes - since those would be extreme cases - at least self-interested codes developed at the expense of other people?

Oh, one more thing - despite the image above (from a different website), the implication of Grant's remarks is that there are no mechanics of creativity. That was just a bait and switch on my part. Rather creative of me, don't you think?



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