A SCIENTIFIC VIEW OF THE "CREATIVE ENERGY" OF MAN *

Lancelot Law Whyte

The main concern of Eranos is the study of Man and his place in the Universe, and our present theme: the human creative faculty and its place in the universe of science, comes near to the heart of the matter. For the creative imagination of the individual is the factor which most sharply distinguishes man from the rest of organic nature, and it is inevitable that sooner or later we should ask what science can tell us about it. We know very little about man's place in the universe until science can give us some understanding of the creative process.

But this process presents a difficult problem for science. Creation implies that something new comes into existence, while scientific method must assume a continuity in every process. Moreover the unconscious phases of the creative process seem to lie beyond the reach of our ordinary time measures, for they bear no apparent relation to other human processes or to events in the environment. Then the creative imagination displays a strange power of anticipation or prophecy, for the full significance of a new idea or work of art may only become evident a generation later. And the creator often seems to be the instrument of a process of universal import, far transcending his own personality and experience. Finally the process does not serve any immediate biological purpose, but carries organic forms beyond themselves, expressing a surplus vitality which explores the unknown and realizes latent potentialities. All these characteristics of the creative process seem at first sight to lie beyond the scope of traditional scientific method.

So it is scarcely surprising that science can as yet say very little about it. There is no recognized biology of thought, no scientific theory of the creative process or of productive thinking. Thus the most one can offer is a hypothesis, a view of the relation of productive thought to other natural processes which may be proved wrong in the future, but can serve as a working assumption in the meantime.

This is a perilous task, like all which must rely on intuition prior to careful testing, but there are reasons for undertaking

____________________
*
[From Eranos-Jahrbuch 1952 ( Zurich: Rbein-Verlag, 1953). Reprinted by permission of the author.]

-349-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Aesthetics Today
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 480

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.