Monday 6 August 2012

Creativity and truth

Sunday, 8 July 2012


An intrinsic problem with all scientific theories of human creativity is that they neglect to consider whether that which is created is true.

Because there are an unbounded (infinite?) number of potential creations which are wrong, false or ugly - yet we are only really interested only by creativity which leads to truth, beauty and virtue.


At least this ought to be a major concern - although this aspect has been neglected and distorted for a couple of hundred years.

Nowadays, the creation of falsehood, ugliness and vice is actively approved - as being radical, challenging, subversive...

In other words an evil genius is given more credit - especially among the intellectual elite, especially in the arts (Picasso, Dadaism, James Joyce, DH Lawrence, Ezra Pound, Stravinsky, Schoenberg) - than a good genius.


The HJ Eysenck model of intelligence is that creativity supplies variation, and intelligence evaluates the products of creativity. The sifting of intellect is on the basis of things such as internal coherence, previous knowledge, and experience.  

So, if we had a super-intelligent and super-creative person - with all the requisites of hard work, perseverance, autonomy etc - then unless some other factor is applied to our scientific model we would expect almost all his possible creations to be untrue (and ugly and sinful

...and this would be the case even if creative products had been pre-filtered (by his intelligence, memory etc)  for consistency with existing knowledge.


Because the type of filtering performed by comparing novel creations with existing knowledge, presupposes the validity of existing knowledge - and opens-up the circular question of how we know that 'existing knowledge' is valid...

Thus the topic of creativity leads onto a consideration of metaphysics: and how we know anything.


If we are to avoid circularity, we can only know anything insofar as it is a revelation from some source that has intrinsic validity - in other words divine revelation.

And if creativity depends on divine revelation for its validation - why not for its content?

That was certainly the view of many or most people in history: that geniuine creativity was a gift from God or the gods - the truth of creativity derives from its origin beyond humans, in the transcendental realm.

Just common sense, really.