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Personal growth: Eric Hoffer on the essentials of creativity September 22, 2017

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Personal Development and Creativity, The Creative Process.
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Eric Hoffer writes that “…tinkering and playing, and the fascination with the nonessential were a chief source of the inventiveness which enabled man to prevail over better-equipped and more purposeful animals.”

He describes earliest “man” as “the only lighthearted being in a deadly serious universe,” a universe whose other living creatures were driven by a “grim purposefulness.”

Hoffer takes this further in his frequent assertion that the essential driver of human creativity is playfulness rather than high purpose.

“It is a juvenile notion that a society needs a lofty purpose and a shining vision to achieve much…one must be ignorant of the creative process to look for a close correspondence between motive and achievement in the world of thought and imagination,” he states.

If Hoffer is right, it makes one wonder then, if being overly serious and having excessively lofty goals in our artistic/creative efforts could actually be hampering our inventiveness, originality, and overall creativity.

Note: Quotations are from Hoffer’s book, Reflections on the Human Condition

– Dennis Mellersh