The Experience of Being Creative as a Spiritual Practice: A Hermeneutic-Phenomenological Study

By Barbara J. Thayer-Bacon | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER FOUR
Creativity Theory

Creativity can be seen as encompassing a broad range of experience from simply ‘doing one’s own thing’ to acts of divine grace. As Carl Rogers writes,

The action of the child inventing a new game with his playmates; Einstein formulat-
ing a theory of relativity; the house wife devising a new sauce for the meat; a young
author writing his first novel; all of these are, in terms of our definition creative. [1961]

The Oxford English Dictionary defines creativity as, “said of the Divine agent; to bring into being, cause to exist; especially to produce where nothing was before, to form out of nothing.” [1989]

These descriptions point towards the divine as well as the mundane nature of creative experience. Creativity in art and science echoes not only the original creation of the universe, but the everyday creation of life, moment to moment.

In an effort to understand creative activity, theorists have asked several basic questions. What is the source of creativity? What is the purpose of creativity; why does one create? What are the phases or movements of the creative process? What are the traits of the creative state, of the creative person? What techniques can facilitate creativity? What are the products or outcomes of creative activity? As the question one asks leads to the answer one receives, these questions have, in a sense, shaped the understandings found by creativity theorists.

Is creativity an emergence of something new, out of nothing, ex nihilo, as divine creation has been seen to be, or is it the rearrangement of the already extant, or the revelation of something previously unseen? Arieti writes,

-21-

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