To believe is human. Like Yuval Noah Harari explains, the truly unique trait of Sapiens is our ability to create and believe fiction. All other animals use their communication system to describe reality. We use our communication system to create new realities. As he analyzed, as a species, our secret of success is large-scale flexible cooperation.
Although our species’ success depends on our ability to believe, I, like Oscar Wilde, think “To believe is very dull. To doubt is intensely engrossing.” Moreover, belief is an inhibitor of curiosity, one of the main ingredients of creativity; but more on this later.
Even though we need creative breakthroughs, our species’ survival depended on doing the dull things, and like our ancestors, before we follow the pink rabbit and explore creativity, we have to do the dull thing and define creativity.
Oxford Languages define creativity as:
“the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.”
Let’s understand what that sentence means by giving our attention to its individual words. Let’s start with imagination, and see what our beloved dictionary tells about it:
Imagination has Latin roots. Imago, imagin means image in Latin and it formed into imaginari, which means picture to oneself. The word changed to imaginato and through old French became a word in English.
And imagination is defined as:
“the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.”
So, obviously, to be creative, we have to form something new that is not present to our senses. Another important concept of creativity, being original, supports this idea as well:
“created personally by a particular artist, writer, musician, etc.; not a copy.”
Let’s see if inventiveness adds to the discussion:
“having the ability to create or design new things or to think originally.”
So for our purposes, we can say that you are creative if you are creating something original, and do that regularly. How do you create something original regularly, how to think new things, how to create an environment that supports creativity? We are going to delve into these topics and much more in the later posts, but until then, I am going to leave you with one of the best texts I have read about creativity, written by one of the most creative writers that I know of, Isaac Asimov.
Have a nice week!