The Calculated Creative

The Essence of Creativity

For our continued survival and flourishing we must democratize creativity. And place creativity at the very core of what makes us human.

Creativity has long been seen as an elusive, even mystical force - the exclusive realm of artists, musicians, and other visionaries blessed with an inexplicable creative spark.

But creativity is far more fundamental to human existence.

With radical implications.

Creativity as an Essential Human Trait

For most of human history, philosophers have emphasized faculties like reason, logic, and language as the highest, most defining human traits. However, a contrarian perspective would argue that creativity is just as essential to being human, if not more so. Creativity is behind every human invention, insight, and work of art throughout history. It drives progress in diverse fields including science, technology, business, politics, and more. In this sense, creativity is a universal and essential human trait, not limited to "creative types" like artists and musicians. Every human is born with creative potential wired into their brains. Some may unlock more of this potential than others, but the capacity for creative thought is a universally human characteristic.

If this view is accurate, it suggests that everyone harbors untapped creative power within them from birth. All humans likely have latent creative gifts waiting to be uncovered through the right environment, encouragement, and instruction. Educational systems designed almost exclusively to cultivate rational intelligence may therefore be ignoring a core aspect of human identity. Workplaces crafted to maximize efficiency at repetitive tasks also fail to tap most employees' creative talents. Fully embracing the essence of creativity would require updating how we teach students and structure jobs to draw out more creative thinking.

Implications of Universal Creativity

If creativity is truly a universal trait, the implications for society and human development would be profound. For one, it would mean that all people should have at least some capacity for creative thought and expression. Educational systems at all levels then should place much greater emphasis on fostering creativity across diverse subjects. Beyond arts and design electives, physics, math, history and other standard courses should incorporate design thinking, imaginative problem solving and open-ended assignments.

Likewise, workplaces and teams need to encourage creative thinking, not just identify those already demonstrating creative talents. Jobs and roles should require and reward creative problem solving, innovation and initiative. Rather than solely top-down governance, political and social organizations also need to elicitor creative ideas from all citizens and members. When seen as a cultural value and philosophical necessity rather than isolated skill, creativity can infuse every human domain.

Realizing universal creative potential requires embracing unique ideas and independent thinking over conformity. It also relies on providing freedom for experimentation, play and failure on the path to innovation. Standardized testing, rigid pedagogy and controlled work environments restrict access to natural creativity. Systems and societies will likely need major structural changes if unlocking widespread creative capacity is the goal. That may involve alternative economic models that provide incentives and opportunities for more people to do creative work.

Creativity as an Evolutionary Imperative

Finally, the essence of human creativity just might be an evolutionary necessity for adapting to new environmental and social pressures. The human species has survived and thrived in large part due to our superior brains’ creative problem-solving abilities, enabling us to handle diverse challenges. As the pace of change accelerates globally, creativity becomes even more essential for societies' resilience. Climate change, technological disruption, political instability and other complex problems demand creative insights and solutions.

Future crises threatening human survival cannot be met with tradition or convention alone but will require humanity to maximize its creative potential. Revolutionary new ideas, technologies and social systems are needed to transition global civilization safely through the 21st century. In this regard, unlocking universal creativity could literally be an existential priority for the human race. Failure to tap our collective creative genius makes humanity more vulnerable to catastrophe.

Philosophically appreciating creativity's essence, as a universal human trait enabling adaptation and resilience, makes elevating creativity a profound moral imperative. Rather than leave creativity to chance exceptions, we must place creativity development at the heart of education, work and community. When seen as existential and ethical necessity, the contrarian view of universal creativity has dramatic implications for global societies. It demands wholesale changes so creativity is woven into the fabric of human identity worldwide.


The Takeaway

Recognizing creativity's full philosophical essence - as a universal human trait enabling progress and adaptation - compels us to profoundly rethink how societies are structured, economies function and education is conducted.

Creativity can no longer be confined to arts, design and entrepreneurial niches.

It can no longer be left to credentialed experts or lucky outliers alone either.

For our continued survival and flourishing we must democratize creativity.

Unlock every mind’s creative gifts.

And place creativity at the very core of what makes us human.

Make Your Work
Suck Less

Pulling back the curtain on the creative process to help make your work a little less terrible. A 3-minute read delivered each week on Monday morning.

The Calculated Creative

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to The Calculated Creative.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.