Essays, Analyses and Meditations

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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.