It’s part of the human condition

About 30 to 40 thousand years ago, the first modern humans started painting images on the walls of caves.

Undoubtedly, at about the same time they also made music of some kind either with their voices or whatever was at hand as a primitive instrument. Then the ability to speak would have been enhanced soon after also by the first telling of stories.

And ever since then we have used our creativity and inspiration to comment about life, the universe and everything. (And of course the answer about life, the universe and everything is 42, according to satirical writer Douglas Adams. Which brings in the humour!)

“The answer to life, the universe and everything”
from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

You know, Deep Thought is quite right about the importance of knowing the question. I rather like Voltaire’s way of thinking: “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”

And something else to think about ….

German Coastguard Sinking – Learn English Commercial from Berlitz

So! I hope zat gafe you somesing to sink about!

German humour! (Hard to believe this incredibly witty ad for Berlitz Language Schools is over 7 years old, and is just making a comeback.)

Learning another language (or two) is great for creativity as well as really getting to know how other people sink – think! And they also say it’s great for preventing dementia, too. By the way, did you know it’s good for fending off dementia?

Creativity is good for us!

Besides the role of creativity in helping to create a a more progressive and less rigid society that doesn’t take itself so seriously and can laugh at itself, there is also a more personal and physical benefit in indulging our creativity.

It’s good for our health!

On a physical level, people who indulge this side of themselves tend to live longer, and they use fewer medications. Mentally and emotionally they are generally happier; they are more optimistic and socially engaged.

And by the way, did you know that creativity is highly recommended for avoiding dementia?

Creativity and Maslow’s higher levels

Creative people also tend to approach a more fulfilled existence on the spiritual, altruistic and self-actualising levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy.

But indulging your creativity doesn’t necessarily mean learning how to paint, or attending symphony concerts, although I would certainly recommend these activities if you feel these would appeal to you.

Creativity involves getting lost in an activity for its own pleasure or reward, such that you almost don’t notice the passage of time. And as one set of theories about intelligence and creativity suggests we all have multiple intelligences, we can all find something we’re good at, and enjoy doing.

Measuring of mental intelligence began in France in the 19th Century, and gradually work by Binet and a number of other psychologists there and in the US eventually led to the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales – variations of which we recognise today as the IQ (Intelligence Quotient) Test. The assumption that intelligence is ‘fixed and immutable’ was gradually challenged by other psychologists who developed a number of dynamic theories of intelligence – i.e. that human beings are are not static but always in a state of transition and transaction with the world. In other words, they can learn new skills and new likes, and increase their ‘intelligence’ in those areas.

In 1983 psychologist Howard Gardner proposed that we have a wide range of cognitive abilities which he called Multiple Intelligences and that each individual tended to prefer and show greater aptitude in certain intelligences over others. He identified nine intelligences: logical-mathematical, spatial, linguistic, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalistic and existential. Usually the first seven are used to describe everyday activities and pursuits, as in the illustration below:

While Gardner’s theories have attracted criticism for a lack of empirical evidence and its rather subjective assessment, it does support the idea of people ” being good at certain things, and thus deriving creative success and pleasure from engaging in these activities.

So, if you think you would like to take up ballroom dancing or public speaking, make model airplanes or macrame coat hangers, learn how to paint or construct websites, sing in a choir or at Karaoke nights, take up the clarinet or creative writing, or learn French or Thai cookery – go for it!

Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner’s 9 Multiple Intelligences