- Elgar Law and Entrepreneurship series
Chapter 1: The neuroscience of creativity
The history of human society is, in many regards, a history of creativity. It was through a creative process that civilizing inventions like the use of fire for cooking, diversion of water for irrigation and bathing, the creation of weapons for hunting and defense, and related items were discovered and became key elements in improving our lives. Those same creative processes yielded the arts of storytelling, painting and the beginnings of what became human culture. Despite its central role in our society, until the last few years, very little has been known about how this creative process operates in the human brain. Is creativity just a random impulse, more concentrated in some minds than others? Is it a rational learned process, which can be developed by anyone who completes a course of training? In ORIGINS OF GENIUS: DARWINIAN PERSPECTIVES ON CREATIVITY, Dean Keith Simonton traces the history of the effort to determine how the creative process works, and the impact creative geniuses have had on the history of civilizations. He makes the argument that the golden age of any civilization was marked by an overflow of creative minds, and that you can track the decline of a civilization by tracking the decline of the number of those geniuses into the dark ages of civilizations. While there is merit to this argument, a missing component to his analysis is the impact politics and power have on this equation.
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