I enjoyed reading Howard Gardner's Creator's: Multiple Intelligences because it reassured me that a normal people can be creative.
Gardner opens up Creator's: Multiple Intelligences with a discussion about testing creativity, which is not an easy task because IQ and creativity aren't necessarily linked. In other words, you cannot use an IQ test to measure creative ability. Gardner says a creativity test would ask you something like, "How many uses can you come up with for a brick?" (126). That question instantly brought me to this video, where a man shows his viewers eight different ways he (creatively, I'd say) uses a brick.
Next, Gardner discusses the cognitive approach to creativity, saying that it is either a problem-solving phenomenon, or a problem-finding phenomenon. I think it’s a little bit of both. People have been creative when there was a problem to be solved, (for example, when humans first created the spear to hunt and fish) yet technology has advanced so much in the past 20 years alone, even though there were no huge problems that needed to be solved. As a species we have so many luxury items that we do not actually need, yet creative people keep tweaking, reinventing, and modifying these items. While these new items may not be breakthroughs, they are still creative.
These breakthroughs, however, are typically achieved by the most normal individuals. Gardner gives the examples of Albert Einstein, Igor Stravinsky, Martha Graham, Pablo Picasso, and Ghandi to prove this statement. All of them came from "homes that were reasonably comfortable and relatively intact" and "the major lesson in each house was hard work" (132). Their parents did not push them to become a certain thing. Eventually, they migrated to a bigger city, developing relationships with other creative people like them; however, their creative breakthroughs occurred while they were isolated.
My life seems to be following the same path as these famous innovators. I grew up in a loving household that stressed a strong work ethic. My parents never pushed me to study a particular subject--instead they let me choose what I wanted to do, which is Television and Radio. I plan on moving to a big city after college (either New York or Los Angeles) to work, and I hope I find creative, interesting, and unique friends there.
|Imagine by Jonah Lehrer|
I'm not saying that I'm going to have some creative breakthrough that will change the world, (although that'd be great) but it sure is nice to know that being creative is not about having a broken family, a messed up childhood, and experiencing extreme pain or suffrage.
In an old episode of The Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert asks his guest, author Jonah Lehrer, about creativity and his book Imagine. Colbert asks Lehrer about creative types and non-creative types, but Lehrer interjects, saying, "Creativity is actually a universal talent. It's something we all have, and that means we can all get better at it."
Lehrer: No, no.
Colbert: You don't? You can be happy and be creative?
Lehrer: You can still write a good novel, even if you had a happy childhood.
Colbert: Oh, that's fantastic.
I'm glad that "a shitty childhood" is not a prerequisite for being a creative individual. Because my childhood was awesome, and I'd like to think that I am a creative and happy person.