Okay friends. Come in and have a seat. I'm passing a plate of brownies again (do you like yours fudgy? these are fudgy). I also have a big bowl of fresh cherries. Mmm. Oh, and while we're at it, we'll just pretend I have air conditioning and that it's nice and cool in here. We're going to catch up a bit first (how've you been doing?) and then dive into another discussion about creativity (here's the first one, in case you missed it). Because I have another quote that I'd like to ponder and discuss with you.
Creativity is a characteristic given to all human beings at birth. – Abraham Maslow
What do you think? True or false? Is our creativity more about the genes we were born with or more about the environment in which we are raised? Or some of both?
I'll go first, but I'm not going to pretend I have all the answers. I may change what I think after hearing what all of you have to say.
I think it's true that everyone is born with the potential to be creative. I think it's part of being human. But I also think that creativity is a delicate flame that needs to be nurtured and fanned in order for it to grow and be realized. So my answer is nature and nurture.
This is something I think about a lot (and one of the reasons I do a lot of what I do).
When you read about the upbringings of creative people, of artists and writers and musicians, you see some who were raised in incredibly creative environments. Picasso was especially encouraged by his father, also an artist, from a young age. His father provided art materials and guidance and praise. And Mozart’s story is legendary for the encouragement and attention his father gave his musical education from a very young age. (For the sake of simplicity I'm keeping this list to those who are creative in the arts even though I believe that people can be creative in any number of areas.)
BUT, you also see artists and other people who are creative despite their upbringing—despite all odds, sometimes. Frida Kahlo spent her childhood (and lifetime) in pain due to polio and later a serious accident. Andy Warhol’s childhood was plagued by poverty, shyness, and childhood illness. Michael Jackson was physically and emotionally abused as a child. I'm sure the list could go on and on.
So I have to conclude that it's not just environment. That creativity is inherent and can survive through adversity. Maybe it doesn't always, but it can. Or maybe it's that creativity can be jumpstarted by adversity as well as by the gentle encouragement of a nurturing, creative environment. I think it shows how resilient people are, and how resilient and universal the creative urge is. It’s the urge to live, really—the urge to be. And I think that creativity can be healing as well.
Okay, your turn. Are we born creative or raised creative? Answer from personal experience, from instinct, from reading, whatever…