Can creativity be taught?

Leave a comment

I’m hoping with my heart and soul that the answer to that question is YES. I would like to become a teacher of creativity, and I don’t yet exactly know what that will mean.

I’m currently taking a course called “Creativity and Its Development,” which surveys theories of creativity and personal observations of artists, scientists and other creative people. It also challenges students to become visionary and artistic by better understanding and engaging their own creativity.

Here are some of my initial impressions:

  • Creativity demands a balance between passivity and activity—letting the muse penetrate the normal din of our active minds by becoming quiet, and then grabbing a hold of inspiration and stubbornly shaping it into something tangible.
  • Creativity requires courage. Courage to slow down, courage to feel, courage to run with an idea and not give up when the product doesn’t match the vision, and finally, the courage to share what you’ve created.
  • You can’t become creative just by analyzing creativity. You must try it out. However, there are lots of resources for exploring creativity and becoming inspired. So far the best handbook I’ve been introduced to is a book called Fearless Creating by psychotherapist Eric Maisel. It’s the artist’s boot camp! I’m only on Chapter 3, but I’m pretty sure that anyone who dreams of becoming an artist and follows this book like they go to Starbucks in the morning will become an artist.
  • “Artist” is an approach to any endeavor. But it’s also a discipline, an occupation and a profession. Not everyone can make a living as a painter, but everyone can be an artist of his or her particular trade.

Imagine a world with many more creative people! People paying attention; people focusing attention; people acting on their instincts and people caring deeply about what they produce. Writer and poet D.H. Lawrence observed, “Art is a form of supremely delicate awareness and atonement—meaning at-oneness, the state of being at one with the object.”1


Art by Carl Gustav Jung, who theorized that “visionary art” is derived from and informs the “collective unconscious.”

1Lawrence, D. H. “Making Pictures.” The Creative Process: A Symposium. Ed. Brewster Ghiselin. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985. 62-67.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s