Has the Business of Creativity Made Us Less Creative?

In the ancient world, creativity belonged to the divine realm: when a human exhibited creative genius, he or she was seen as favored by the Gods.

Creativity, like many cultural values, has changed through the ages. In the ancient world, creativity belonged to the divine realm: when a human exhibited creative genius, he or she was seen as favored by the Gods. During the Enlightenment, when scientific methods of inquiry were developed, the soft subjectivity of imagination was considered inferior. Not until the Romantic era of the late 18th century did creativity become a prize. Today, it is more of a paycheck. 


Businesses seek "creatives" to keep them at the forefront of innovation. And creativity gurus have developed a cottage industry of self-help books and weekend seminars about unlocking your inner genius. But the commodification of creativity tends to mystify what generally counts as ingenuity and intelligence, and it can delegitimize the act of simply living a creative life, outside of realms that make objects and sell them for money.

Yet if there is something apart about creativity, we should hold it apart. If you are truly creative, you don't necessarily need to make things. Living observing, thinking, and feeling should be enough. Are we living in a wasteland of creativity? Seminal designer George Lois thinks so:

Read more at the New Yorker

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Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
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Image: Jordan Engel, reused via Decolonial Media License 0.1
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