For a History of Creativity
- Civilization is very much about making our life easier.
- Civilization is about structuring our life so that it is no longer a continuous struggle.
- A structured life, though, is not creative, by definition. The more structured our daily life is, the less creative we have to be in our daily life.
- We are even structuring entertainment (gyms, dance classes, movie theaters).
- We are just killing time while waiting to die.
- Creativity seems to require instability and discontinuity.
- Creativity's peaks seem to correspond with periods of great instability:
classical Athens (at war 60% of the time), the Renaissance (Italy split in
dozens of small states and engulfed in endemic warfare), the 20th century
(two World Wars and a Cold War).
- Peace and wealth seem to yield structured, monotonous, predictable lives that depress creativity.
- Creativity seem to be proportional to competition. Cooperation amplifies it
and spreads it, but also dampens it.