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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


Personal growth and the creative process March 9, 2014

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in The Creative Process.
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Some of us may have decided to include some sort of creative activity, such as writing or painting/drawing, to our program and concept of realizing our personal development potential.

If so, it is important to recognize a key principle of any creative activity if we are to avoid frustration, and then possibly giving up the idea because of a lack of progress.

We need to remind ourselves that the gateway  to enjoying any creative or artistic activity is to learn the basics first, the foundational elements.

Ian Roberts, in his book Creative Authenticity, emphasises the need for doing the groundwork in creative activities before we can expect to be truly creative in any discipline:

“I know art teachers that just want students to express themselves as if the talent and ability is inborn and if the students just gets out of the way, it will magically roll out onto the paper. But imagine having that attitude to a music lesson. If on your first class your violin teacher said, ‘now just express yourself’, you would think he or she was crazy.”

As Roberts stresses, “…if you want to express yourself, learning your craft is a good start.”