On Creativity

On Creativity

On Creativity

On Creativity


David Bohm is widely recognized for his significant contributions to the discussion on the relationship between art and science. On Creativity is a collection of essays by Bohm, which are all related directly to the nature of creativity - primarily the latent creativity in the human mind, but interestingly enough, to the creativity in nature and the universe at large as well. A significant portion of the material draws overtly from Bohm's perceptions as a practising scientist - his notions of what underlies a paradigm shift, or how laws of nature, theories and hypotheses are perceived, rationalized and axiomatized. However, the novelty and appeal of Bohm's views of these processes is the suggestion that the work of the visual artist is remarkably similar to that of the scientist. He explores these similarities at length and even goes so far as to suggest that the creative processes of the scientist and the artist are at work in every person.Written by David Bohm, and edited by Lee Nichol, On Creativity is a fascinating read for Bohm aficionados and for those interested in exploring the relation between creativity in art and science.


On Creativity surveys two decades of David Bohm’s reflections on what distinguishes creative processes from those which are merely mechanical. While much of the material in the volume explores the nature of human creativity, Bohm throughout links mind to the realm of natural process, ultimately suggesting that manifestations of creativity in humankind are not merely similar to the creative processes of nature. Rather, they are of the same intrinsic nature as the creative forces in the universe at large.

The human being is thus in the unique position of perceiving the dynamism and movement of the world around him, while at the same time realizing that the means by which this perception takes place—one’s own mind—is of an equivalent order of creativity, participating intimately with the world which it observes. To the extent that our perceptions of the world affect “reality”—and the evidence for this is considerable—we have a corresponding responsibility to attempt to bring into being a coherent relationship between our thought processes and the world they emerge from and interpret.

Bohm draws on a variety of sources for the formation of his views—his forty-five years as a theoretical physicist; his affinity for the visual arts, and his relationships with artists themselves; his conviction that art, science, and the religious spirit are intrinsically related; and his perennial aspiration to articulate a philosophy of mind with creativity at its heart, a philosophy that could be concretely explored in the context of daily life.

In inquiring into the nature of creativity, Bohm does not shy away from questions of beauty, truth, or “the good.” Along the way, he excavates a series of western cultural dualisms—abstract and concrete, intellect and intuition, inner and outer, absolute and relative—always proposing a razor’s edge of attention by

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