Michelangelo was raised in a rustic village by a family of modest means. Shakespeare's father was a middle-class businessman. Abraham Lincoln came from a family of itinerant farmers. Yet all these men broke free from their limited circumstances and achieved brilliant careers as creative artists and leaders. How such extraordinary creativity develops in the human brain is the subject of renowned psychiatrist Nancy Andreasen's The Creating Brain.
Andreasen explains here how the brain produces creative breakthroughs in art, literature, and science, revealing that creativity is not the same thing as intelligence. She scrutinizes the complex factors involved in the development of creativity, including the role of patrons and mentors, "non-standard" educations, and the possession of an "omnivorous" vision. A fascinating interview with acclaimed playwright Neil Simon sheds further light on the creative process.The relationship between genius and insanity also plays an important role in Andreasen's examination. Drawing on her studies of writers in the Iowa Writers' Workshop and other scientific evidence, Andreasen asserts that while creativity may sometimes be linked to mental disorders and may be partially due to familial/genetic factors, neither is inevitable nor needed for creativity to flourish.
Scientist's increasing understanding of the brain's plasticity suggests even more possibilities for nurturing the creative drive, and Andreasen looks ahead to exciting implications for child-rearing and education. The Creating Brain presents an inspiring vision for a future where everyone—not just artists or writers—can fulfill their creative capacity.
Creativity and Its Discontents is a sharp critique of the intellectual property rights (IPR)–based creative economy, particularly as it is embraced or ignored in China. Laikwan Pang argues that the creative economy—in which creativity is an individual asset to be commodified and protected as property—is an intensification of Western modernity and capitalism at odds with key aspects of Chinese culture. Nevertheless, globalization has compelled China to undertake endeavors involving intellectual property rights. Pang examines China's IPR-compliant industries, as well as its numerous copyright violations. She describes how China promotes intellectual property rights in projects such as the development of cultural tourism in the World Heritage city of Lijiang, the transformation of Hong Kong cinema, and the cultural branding of Beijing. Meanwhile, copyright infringement proliferates, angering international trade organizations. Pang argues that piracy and counterfeiting embody the intimate connection between creativity and copying. She points to the lack of copyright protections for Japanese anime as the motor of China's dynamic anime culture. Theorizing the relationship between knockoffs and appropriation art, Pang offers an incisive interpretation of China's flourishing art scene. Creativity and Its Discontents is a refreshing rejoinder to uncritical celebrations of the creative economy.
Most books on AI focus on the future of work. But now that algorithms can learn and adapt, does the future of creativity also belong to well-programmed machines? To answer this question, Marcus du Sautoy takes us to the forefront of creative new technologies and offers a more positive and unexpected vision of our future cohabitation with machines.
In Depression: A Public Feeling, Ann Cvetkovich combines memoir and critical essay in search of ways of writing about depression as a cultural and political phenomenon that offer alternatives to medical models. She describes her own experience of the professional pressures, creative anxiety, and political hopelessness that led to intellectual blockage while she was finishing her dissertation and writing her first book. Building on the insights of the memoir, in the critical essay she considers the idea that feeling bad constitutes the lived experience of neoliberal capitalism.
Cvetkovich draws on an unusual archive, including accounts of early Christian acedia and spiritual despair, texts connecting the histories of slavery and colonialism with their violent present-day legacies, and utopian spaces created from lesbian feminist practices of crafting. She herself seeks to craft a queer cultural analysis that accounts for depression as a historical category, a felt experience, and a point of entry into discussions about theory, contemporary culture, and everyday life. Depression: A Public Feeling suggests that utopian visions can reside in daily habits and practices, such as writing and yoga, and it highlights the centrality of somatic and felt experience to political activism and social transformation.
Consider Miles Davis, horn held high, sculpting a powerful musical statement full of tonal patterns, inside jokes, and thrilling climactic phrases—all on the fly. Or think of a comedy troupe riffing on a couple of cues from the audience until the whole room is erupting with laughter. Or maybe it’s a team of software engineers brainstorming their way to the next Google, or the Einsteins of the world code-cracking the mysteries of nature. Maybe it’s simply a child playing with her toys. What do all of these activities share? With wisdom, humor, and joy, philosopher Stephen T. Asma answers that question in this book: imagination. And from there he takes us on an extraordinary tour of the human creative spirit.
Guided by neuroscience, animal behavior, evolution, philosophy, and psychology, Asma burrows deep into the human psyche to look right at the enigmatic but powerful engine that is our improvisational creativity—the source, he argues, of our remarkable imaginational capacity. How is it, he asks, that a story can evoke a whole world inside of us? How are we able to rehearse a skill, a speech, or even an entire scenario simply by thinking about it? How does creativity go beyond experience and help us make something completely new? And how does our moral imagination help us sculpt a better society? As he shows, we live in a world that is only partly happening in reality. Huge swaths of our cognitive experiences are made up by “what-ifs,” “almosts,” and “maybes,” an imagined terrain that churns out one of the most overlooked but necessary resources for our flourishing: possibilities. Considering everything from how imagination works in our physical bodies to the ways we make images, from the mechanics of language and our ability to tell stories to the creative composition of self-consciousness, Asma expands our personal and day-to-day forms of imagination into a grand scale: as one of the decisive evolutionary forces that has guided human development from the Paleolithic era to today. The result is an inspiring look at the rich relationships among improvisation, imagination, and culture, and a privileged glimpse into the unique nature of our evolved minds.
Science has transformed understandings of the mind, supplying physiological explanations for what once seemed transcendental. Nikki Skillman shows how lyric poets—caught between a reductive scientific view and naïve literary metaphors—struggled to articulate a vision of consciousness that was both scientifically informed and poetically truthful.
The Mind's Best Work
David N. PERKINS Harvard University Press, 1981 Library of Congress BF408.P387 | Dewey Decimal 153.35
Over the years, tales about the creative process have flourished-tales of sudden insight and superior intelligence and personal eccentricity. Coleridge claimed that he wrote "Kubla Khan" in one sitting after an opium-induced dream. Poe declared that his "Raven" was worked out "with the precision and rigid consequence of a mathematical problem." D. N. Perkins discusses the creative episodes of Beethoven, Mozart, Picasso, and others in this exploration of the creative process in the arts, sciences, and everyday life.
Table of Contents:
A Parable 1. Witnesses to Invention 2. Creative Moments 3. Ways of the Mind 4. Critical Moments 5. Searching For 6. Plans Down Deep 7. Plans Up Front 8. Lives of Inquiry 9. Having It 10. The Shape of Making
Notes Sources Index
Reviews of this book: A delightful book, easy to read, amusing and jammed with intriguing "personal experiments," puzzles for the reader that offer insights into creative thinking. It is a valuable book because it summarizes well the results of recent investigations and effectively debunks a variety of cherished myths... Read the book for fun. Read it to find out what psychologists are up to. --New York Times Book Review
Reviews of this book: The Mind's Best Work [is] a guided tour of the new psychology of creative thinking... Perkins belongs in that rare company of Lewis Thomas and other popularizers of science who combine a lively style, playful wit and discriminating scholarship. --Newsday
Reviews of this book: A survey of scientific research that's also a work of playful wit. --Newsweek
It’s no secret that working with others, rather than alone, on a creative project can often yield the most unexpected results, a new and surprising sum greater than the whole of its parts. Please RSVP presents a bold new theory of just how powerful collaboration can be in the making of art. April Durham argues that collaborative activity has the potential to broaden and expand an individual participant’s static identity through what she calls “trans-subjectivity.” She offers a fine-grained analysis of the ways in which personal subjectivity becomes porous and malleable during the process of shared creative labor. Durham’s concept of the trans-subjective offers a new way to come to terms with the networks, either digital or otherwise, that have developed over the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries, providing a bold new frame for topics like the experience of time, community, language, and ethics. This is a crucial and eye-opening book for contemporary artists and art historians alike.