- Geniuses and celebrities about Creativity
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- Psychologists – creativity theorists about creativity
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Creativity quotes from psychologists and psychiatrists
Genius… means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.
William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910), American psychologist and philosopher
The essence of genius is to know what to overlook.
The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.
Belief creates the actual fact.
In the dim background of our mind we know what we ought to be doing but somehow we cannot start.
Geniuses are commonly believed to excel other men in their power of sustained attention . . . But it is their genius making them attentive, not their attention making geniuses of them.
Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.
Compared to what we ought to be, we are half awake.
These then are my last words to you. Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.
A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
Man can alter his life by altering his thinking.
The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.
Don’t become a mere recorder of facts, but try to penetrate the mystery of their origin.
Ivan Pavlov (September 26,1849 –February 27,1936), Russian physiologist and psychologist
The creative writer does the same as the child at play. He creates a world of fantasy which he takes very seriously–that is, which he invests with large amounts of emotion–while separating it sharply from reality. Language has preserved this relationship between children’s play and poetic creation.
Sigmund Freud (May 6, 1856 –September 23, 1939), Austrian psychiatrist and psychologist
The unreality of the writer’s imaginative world, however, has very important consequences for the technique of his art; for many things which, if they were real, could give no enjoyment, can do so in the play of fantasy, and many excitements which, in themselves, are actually distressing, can become a source of pleasure for the hearers and spectators at the performance of a writer’s work.
…a piece of creative writing, like a day-dream is a continuation of and a substitute for what was once the play of childhood.
…the growing child, when he stops playing, gives up nothing but the link with real objects; instead of playing, he now fantasies. He builds castles in the air and creates what are called daydreams. I believe that most people construct fantasies at times in their lives.
…imaginative works which we have to recognize, not as original creations, but as the refashioning of ready-made and familiar material. Even here, the writer keeps a certain amount of independence, which can express itself in the choice of material and in changes in it which are often quite extensive.
In my opinion, all the aesthetic pleasure which a creative writer affords us has the character of a fore-pleasure of this kind, and our actual enjoyment of an imaginative work proceeds from a liberation of tensions in our minds. It may even be that not a little of this effect is due to the writer’s enabling us thenceforward to enjoy our own day-dreams without self-reproach or shame.
God who is eternally complete, who directs the stars, who is the master of fates, who elevates man from his lowliness to Himself, who speaks from the cosmos to every single human soul, is the most brilliant manifestation of the goal of perfection.
Alfred Adler (February 7, 1870 – May 28, 1937), Austrian psychotherapist and psychologist
There is no such thing as talent. There is pressure.
Meanings are not determined by situations, but we determine ourselves by the meanings we give to situations.
All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy. What right have we then to depreciate imagination.
Carl Jung (July 26, 1875 –June 6, 1961) Swiss psychotherapist, psychologist and psychiatrist
Creative power is mightier than its possessor.
From the living fountain of instinct flows everything that is creative; hence the unconscious is not merely conditioned by history, but is the very source of the creative impulse. It is like nature herself – prodigiously conservative, and yet transcending her own historical conditions in her acts of creation.
Who looks outside, dreams… who looks inside, awakes.
Without the playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable.
Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.
A creative person has little power over his own life. He is not free. He is captive and driven by his daimon.
The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.
One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
In such doubtful matters, where you have to work as a pioneer, you must be able to put some trust in your intuition and follow your feeling even at the risk of going wrong.
Great talents are the most lovely and often the most dangerous fruits on the tree of humanity. They hang upon the most slender twigs that are easily snapped off.
Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
It all depends on how we look at things, and not on how they are themselves.
The new meaning of soul is creativity and mysticism. These will become the foundation of the new psychological type and with him or her will come the new civilization.
Otto Rank (April 22, 1884 – October 31, 1939), Austrian psychologist, psychoanalyst and writer
Art is life’s dream interpretation.
If you want to truly understand something, try to change it.
Kurt Lewin (September 9, 1890 – February 12, 1947), German-American psychologist
Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training.
Anna Freud (December 3,1895 –October 9, 1982), Austrian psychologist, the sixth child of Sigmund Freud
Create around one at least a small circle where matters are arranged as one wants them to be.
The principle goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done – men who are creative, inventive and discoverers.
Jean Piaget (August 9, 1896 –September 16, 1980), Swiss psychologist
Conditions for creativity are to be puzzled; to concentrate; to accept conflict and tension; to be born everyday; to feel a sense of self.
Erich Fromm (March 23, 1900 – March 18, 1980), German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, philosopher
Education for creativity is nothing short of education for living.
Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
Creativity is the ability to see and to respond.
The capacity to be puzzled is…the premise of all creation, be it in art or in science.
There is no meaning to life except the meaning man gives his life by the unfolding of his powers.
Most people die before they are fully born. Creativeness means to be born before one dies.
The very essence of the creative is its novelty, and hence we have no standard by which to judge it.
Carl Rogers (January 8, 1902 – February 4, 1987), American psychologist
So, as you can readily see from what I have said thus far, a creative, active, sensitive, accurate, empathic, nonjudgmental listening is for me terribly important in a relationship. It is important for me to provide it; it has been extremely important, especially at certain times in my life, to receive it. I feel that I have grown within myself when I have provided it; I am very sure that I have grown and been released and enhanced when I have received this kind of listening.
The mainspring of creativity appears to be the same tendency which we discover so deeply as the curative force in psychotherapy, man’s tendency to actualize himself, to become his potentialities. By this I mean the organic and human life, the urge to expand, extend, develop, mature – the tendency to express and activate all the capacities of the organism, or the self.
…there is a desperate social need for the creative behaviour of creative individuals…there is no fundamental difference in the creative process as it is evidenced in painting a picture, composing a symphony, devising new instruments of killing, developing a scientific theory, discovering new procedures in human relationships, or creating new formings of one’s own personality…the mainspring of creativity appears to be…man’s tendency to actualize himself, to become his potentialities… This tendency may become deeply buried under layer after layer of encrusted psychological defences; it may be hidden behind elaborate facades which deny its existence; it is my belief however, based on my experience, that it exists in every individual and awaits only the proper conditions to be released and expressed.
The creative process is the emergence, in action, of a novel relational product growing out of the uniqueness of the individual on the one hand, and the materials, events, people or circumstances of his life on the other.
Education is not just the filling of a pail, it is the lighting of a fire.
B. F. Skinner (March 20, 1904 – August 18, 1990), American psychologist
In his creative work the artist is dependent on sources and resources deriving from the spiritual unconscious.
Viktor E. Frankl (26 March 1905 – 2 September 1997), Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and psychologist
A human being is a deciding being.
Viktor E. Frankl
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Viktor E. Frankl
The key question isn’t “What fosters creativity?” But it is why in God’s name isn’t everyone creative? Where was the human potential lost? How was it crippled? I think therefore a good question might be not why do people create? But why do people not create or innovate? We have got to abandon that sense of amazement in the face of creativity, as if it were a miracle if anybody created anything.
Abraham Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970), American humanistic psychologist
A first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate symphony.
It looks as if there were a single ultimate goal for mankind, a far goal toward which all persons strive. This is called variously by different authors self-actualization, self-realization, integration, psychological health, individuation, autonomy, creativity, productivity, but they all agree that this amounts to realizing the potentialities of the person, that is to say, becoming fully human, everything that person can be
A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.
Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.
Creativity is a characteristic given to all human beings at birth.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see everything as a nail.
One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.
We have got to abandon that sense of amazement in the face of creativity, as if it were a miracle that anybody created anything.
All people are struggling to be creative in some way, and the artist is the one who has succeeded in this task of life.
Rollo May (April 21, 1909 – October 22, 1994), American existential psychologist
…what the artist or creative scientist feels is not anxiety or fear; it is joy. I use the word in contrast to happiness or pleasure. The artist, at the moment of creating, does not experience gratification or satisfaction…Rather, it is joy, joy defined as the emotion that goes with heightened consciousness, the mood that accompanies the experience of actualizing one’s own potentialities.
Creativity is not merely the innocent spontaneity of our youth and childhood; it must also be married to the passion of the adult human being, which is a passion to live beyond one’s death.
In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.
Joy is the zest that you get out of using your talents, your understanding, the totality of your being, for great aims…That’s the kind of feeling that goes with creativity. That’s why I say the courage to create. Creation does not come out of simply what you’re born with. That must be united with your courage, both of which cause anxiety, but also great joy.
Creativity occurs as an act of encounter, and is to be understood with this encounter at the center.
We cannot will to have insights. We cannot will to have creativity, but we can will to give ourselves to the creative experience with intensity of dedication and commitment.
Something is born, comes into being, something which did not exist before – which is as good a definition of creativity as we can get.
Whatever sphere we may be in, there is a profound joy in the realization that we are helping to form the structure of the new world. This is creative courage, however minor or fortuitous our creations may be.
We express our being by creating. Creativity is a necessary sequel to being.
What anxiety means is it’s as though the world is knocking at your door, and you need to create, you need to make something, you need to do something. I think anxiety, for people who have found their own heart and their own souls, for them it is a stimulus toward creativity, toward courage. It’s what makes us human beings.
Creativity is not simply originality and unlimited freedom. There is much more to it than that. Creativity also imposes restrictions. While it uses methods other than those of ordinary thinking, it must not be in disagreement with ordinary thinking–or rather, it must be something that, sooner or later, ordinary thinking will understand, accept, and appreciate. Otherwise the result would be bizarre, not creative.
Silvano Arieti (June 28, 1914 – August 7, 1981), Italian-American psychiatrist, psychologist
Creativity does not depend on inherited talent or on environment or upbringing; it is the function of the ego of every human being.
Human creativity uses what is already existing and available and changes it in unpredictable ways.
There is a deep question whether the possible meanings that emerge from an effort to explain the experience of art may not mask the real meanings of a work of art.
Jerome Bruner (born October 1, 1915), an American psychologist
Education must, be not only a transmission of culture but also a provider of alternative views of the world and a strengthener of the will to explore them.
Problems are not the problem; coping is the problem.
Virginia Satir (June 26, 1916 –September 10, 1988), American psychotherapist
Clear thinking requires courage rather than intelligence.
Thomas Szasz (April 15, 1920 – September 8, 2012), American psychiatrist
Creative people who can’t help but explore other mental territories are at greater risk, just as someone who climbs a mountain is more at risk than someone who just walks along a village lane.
R. D. Laing (October 7, 1927 –August 23, 1989), Scottish psychiatrist
In the information-communication civilization of the 21st Century, creativity and mental excellence will become the ethical norm. The world will be too dynamic, complex, and diversified, too cross-linked by the global immediacies of modern (quantum) communication, for stability of thought or dependability of behaviour to be successful.
Timothy Leary (October 22, 1920 – May 31, 1996), American psychologist and writer
Research shows that the deciscions of a group as a whole are more thoughtful and creative when there is minority dissent than when it is absent.
Philip G. Zimbardo (born March 23, 1933), American psychologist
Human behavior is incredibly pliable, plastic
Creativity is like freedom: once you taste it, you cannot live without it. It is a transformational force, enhancing self-esteem and self-empowerment.
Natalie Rogers (born October 9, 1928), American psychologist
Fostering creativity within yourself and others revitalizes the ability to feel, express, and act constructively – crucial competencies for our world.
Those of us who can facilitate the healing of the grief, anger, and sense of hopelessness that exist today are called to help humanity recover joy, creativity, and a sense of personal empowerment within community.
An inherent impulse within each of us longs for creative expression.
The creative members of an orthodoxy, any orthodoxy, ultimately outgrow their disciplines.
Irvin D. Yalom (born June 13, 1931), American existential psychiatrist and psychologist
The spirit of a man is constructed out of his choices.
Irvin D. Yalom
Mood evidently affects the operation of System 1: when we are uncomfortable and unhappy, we lose touch with our intuition.
These findings add to the growing evidence that good mood, intuition, creativity, gullibility, and increased reliance on System 1 form a cluster. At the other pole, sadness, vigilance, suspicion, an analytic approach, and increased effort also go together. A happy mood loosens the control of System 2 over performance: when in a good mood, people become more intuitive and more creative but also less vigilant and more prone to logical errors.
Daniel Kahneman (born March 5, 1934), Israeli-American psychologist