Saturday, November 04, 2006

Common traits of creative people and a few words about intelligence

According to Csikszentmihalyi (1997):

  1. Creative people usually have a broad range of knowledge about a lot of subjects and are good at using mental imagery.

  2. Creative people aren't afraid to be different -- they are more open to new experiences than many people, and they tend to have more vivid dreams and daydreams than others do.

  3. Creative people value their independence.

  4. Creative people are often unconventional in their work, but not otherwise.

Number four is something I've noticed a lot. So many people who live unconventional lives are so limited in true creativeness in problem solving and in understanding views different than their own in an objective manner. Yes, they do things different that the "mainstream", but they imitate each other rather faithfully and appear more threatened by those who variate from their variation. This goes for extreme "fundamentalists" as much as it goes for radical "alternatives". Neither group is actually living a conventional lifestyle. When all is said and done, both are trying desperately to set themselves about from the common person.

I think for the deliberate unconventionalist, it's a matter of trying too hard. They are so frantically trying to be "different" that they do not take the mental space and time to actually let their mind give "birth" to new concepts and ideas in a natural manner. And they are so afraid of being "normal" that they don't have the courage to walk down an accepted path to see if there may be something useful there that can be modified into something worthwhile.

I realize that I haven't really been posting from my studies here as I usually do. Some of it is a lack of time. Some of it is that I am taking studio classes and reviewing other material. And I've been posting my Art History notes on my VOX account because of certain features there. (Though I won't truly be happy with VOX until they offer full HTML support, but since it was designed for the less programming literate user, it's probably not going to happen. However, it's great for reviewing books, movies and music. If you want an invite, feel free to contact me for one.)

Anyway, I'm reviewing topics in psychology, which has been nice, since I am getting a broader overview to things I learned more in-depth before. This morning I read the section on IQ testing and again I am still extremely amused how some people cling to their IQ scores without having any real understanding of what they actually mean or represent, much less any knowledge of what the studies have shown on the subject. High IQs only predict academic success - NOT REAL INTELLIGENCE. In other words, they only predict how well you can function in this culture's educational system. It was originally meant to help identify people who needed extra help in learning in a normal school setting.

Psychologist have found that people showing high levels of practical intelligence tend to function very badly in academia. However, that doesn't mean that practical intelligence guarantees a happy and successful life either. The single most common element for those who live a full and successful life is a consistent sense of self.