Frankly, I never thought an outside authority was required to define creativity. I hold a democratic view that we're all capable of being creative, to a lesser or greater extent, to lesser or greater renown. To create is to bring something new or original into existence; to make, invent, or produce rather than to imitate. Does it necessitate, as Andreasen asks, "external confirmation by publishers, critics, and other arbiters in order to judge the presence of genuine creativity?"
She cites psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's argument that if creativity is to have an impact on culture and not simply exist in the mind of an individual, there must be external standards to define "true creativity." Andreasen contends that creativity has to have three essential components. First, originality: "Creativity involves perceiving new relationships, ways of observing, ways of portraying...[and] is not limited to particular domains, such as the arts." Second, utility, which is primarily the "ability to evoke resonant emotions in others, to inspire, or to create a sense of awe at what the human mind/brain can achieve." Third, creativity must lead to creating something. Andreasen groups these three as person, process, and product.
Take American novelist, short-story writer, and poet Herman Melville (1819-1891). Between 1845 and 1950, he enjoyed celebrity, especially when Typee became an overnight bestseller in England. However, Moby-Dick did not, when it appeared in 1851. A year later, Pierre fared even worse. For the last thirty years of his life, Melville was virtually ignored. Should we infer that he wasn't creative after all because he lacked critical acclaim at the time? Yet, today, Moby-Dick is considered his greatest work.
Blame and praise, happiness and suffering:
These are impermanent, passing,
Having a changeable nature.
How do you define creativity? Is public recognition crucial?
Who are the individuals you admire as creative yet are not well known?
Are fame and fortune important to your own creativity?