In an Objectivist study group, I had a skeptic ask me how one could explain creativity. "It doesn't follow any rules like reason does. And so there is some mystical ability that we have that can't be explained by reason" etc...

I didn't have an answer then. I've formulated an initial guess at the right answer:

Creativity is the recall of previously formed concepts (brainstorming) and their integration into new rationally consistent concepts within the context of a problem that one wants to solve.

The brainstorming part is equivalent to what a psycho-therapist does when he shows you pictures and asks you what it looks like. It's an _automatic_ attempt by your mind to integrate new perceptual (or conceptual) data into concepts existing in your mind already (by association).

The integration part is the part that explicitly uses the rational faculty. It filters out the inconsistent concepts, or attempts (using creativity again) to modify them to be consistent.

It is clear from this analysis, that if a man has made an effort in his life to make all of his concepts consistent, the associational recall will be more fruitful. The chance that the concepts are close to solving the problem is higher than if he accepted contradictory concepts. The efforts of his brainstorming bring forth concepts polished by reason (but they still might not fit the problem).

Since his reasoning ability is practiced, he will have an easier time integrating the new concepts.

So a man of reason will have better creative capacity than a man of unreason.

It is interesting to note that Modern art ignores the integration part of creativity and glorifies the brainstorming part (volition without reason). Without integration, brainstorming is just random association. Modern art is the expression of hatred for reason.

Copyright 1996, Shayne Wissler



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