Contemporary Approaches to Creative Thinking: A Symposium Held at the University of Colorado

By Howard E. Gruber; Glenn Terrell et al. | Go to book overview

4
CONFORMITY AND CREATIVE THINKING

RICHARD S. CRUTCHFIELD University of California, Berkeley

In his essay "Self-Reliance," Emerson ( 1841) comments on the antipathy of conformity and creativity. "The virtue in most regard," he writes, "is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators. . . ."

Two key words in this passage offer a clue to the inherent opposition of conformity and creative thinking. One word is "self-reliance." Conformity, involving loss of self-reliance, undermines the person's creative powers by weakening his trust in the essential validity of his own processes of thought and imagination.

The other word is "realities." Conformity inhibits the person's ability to sense and grasp basic reality, and the loss of this contact with reality is fatal to creative thinking. In short, conformity tends to destroy creativity by alienating the creator both

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Contemporary Approaches to Creative Thinking: A Symposium Held at the University of Colorado
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iv
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xv
  • 1 - The Conditions Of Creativity 1
  • 2 - The Birth And Death of Ideas 31
  • 3 - The Processes Of Creative Thinking 63
  • Appendix 118
  • 4 - Conformity And Creative Thinking 120
  • 5 - On the Psychodynamics Of Creative Physical Scientists 141
  • 6 - Retrospect And Prospect 175
  • Index 213
  • Index 215
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