Inside the Box: People don’t actually like creativity
2013 12 09
By Jessica Olien | Slate
In the United States we are raised to appreciate the accomplishments of inventors and thinkers—creative people whose ideas have transformed our world. We celebrate the famously imaginative, the greatest artists and innovators from Van Gogh to Steve Jobs. Viewing the world creatively is supposed to be an asset, even a virtue. Online job boards burst with ads recruiting “idea people” and “out of the box” thinkers. We are taught that our own creativity will be celebrated as well, and that if we have good ideas, we will succeed.
It’s all a lie. This is the thing about creativity that is rarely acknowledged: Most people don’t actually like it. Studies confirm what many creative people have suspected all along: People are biased against creative thinking [PDF], despite all of their insistence otherwise.
“We think of creative people in a heroic manner, and we celebrate them, but the thing we celebrate is the after-effect,” says Barry Staw, a researcher at the University of California–Berkeley business school who specializes in creativity.
Staw says most people are risk-averse. He refers to them as satisfiers. “As much as we celebrate independence in Western cultures, there is an awful lot of pressure to conform,” he says. Satisfiers avoid stirring things up, even if it means forsaking the truth or rejecting a good idea.
Even people who say they are looking for creativity react negatively to creative ideas, as demonstrated in a 2011 study from the University of Pennsylvania. Uncertainty is an inherent part of new ideas, and it’s also something that most people would do almost anything to avoid. People’s partiality toward certainty biases them against creative ideas and can interfere with their ability to even recognize creative ideas.
A close friend of mine works for a tech startup. She is an intensely creative and intelligent person who falls on the risk-taker side of the spectrum. Though her company initially hired her for her problem-solving skills, she is regularly unable to fix actual problems because nobody will listen to her ideas. “I even say, ‘I’ll do the work. Just give me the go ahead and I’ll do it myself,’ ” she says. “But they won’t, and so the system stays less efficient.”
In the documentary The September Issue, Anna Wintour systematically rejects the ideas of her creative director Grace Coddington, seemingly with no reason aside from asserting her power.
This is a common and often infuriating experience for a creative person. Even in supposedly creative environments, in the creative departments of advertising agencies and editorial meetings at magazines, I’ve watched people with the most interesting—the most “out of the box”—ideas be ignored or ridiculed in favor of those who repeat an established solution.
“Everybody hates it when something’s really great,” says essayist and art critic Dave Hickey. He is famous for his scathing critiques against the art world, particularly against art education, which he believes institutionalizes mediocrity through its systematic rejection of good ideas. Art is going through what Hickey calls a “stupid phase.”
In fact, everyone I spoke with agreed on one thing—unexceptional ideas are far more likely to be accepted than wonderful ones.
Staw was asked to contribute to a 1995 book about creativity in the corporate world. Fed up with the hypocrisy he saw, he called his chapter “Why No One Really Wants Creativity.” The piece was an indictment of the way our culture deals with new ideas and creative people”
In terms of decision style, most people fall short of the creative ideal … unless they are held accountable for their decision-making strategies, they tend to find the easy way out—either by not engaging in very careful thinking or by modeling the choices on the preferences of those who will be evaluating them.
Unfortunately, the place where our first creative ideas go to die is the place that should be most open to them—school. Studies show that teachers overwhelmingly discriminate against creative students, favoring their satisfier classmates who more readily follow directions and do what they’re told.
Even if children are lucky enough to have a teacher receptive to their ideas, standardized testing and other programs like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top (a program whose very designation is opposed to nonlinear creative thinking) make sure children’s minds are not on the “wrong” path, even though adults’ accomplishments are linked far more strongly to their creativity than their IQ. It’s ironic that even as children are taught the accomplishments of the world’s most innovative minds, their own creativity is being squelched.
Read the full article at: slate.com
Tune in to Red Ice Radio and Radio 3Fourteen:
John Taylor Gatto - History of Education, Social Engineering, Indoctrination in the School System & Homeschooling
Gavan Kearney - Hour 1 - The State of the Art, Corrosive Counter-Culture & Attack on Beauty
Richard Grove - Learning vs. Schooling & Prophecy vs. the Business Plan
Jon Rappoport - Hour 1 - The Surveillance State & War on the Individual
Stefan Molyneux - Initiation of Force, Freedom from Illusion & Parenting
G. Edward Griffin - The Collectivist Conspiracy
Dominick Ohrbeck - Reptilian Marketing vs. The HeartBrain Model
Neil Hague - Control of the Art Industry, The Old World Order, The Age of Leo & The Awakening Sun
Radio 3Fourteen - Jon Rappoport - The Artist Against the System
Doublethink: The Creativity-Testing Conflict
The secret to creativity: Background noise?
Lady Gaga touts abstinence to protect creativity
Creative minds "mimic schizophrenia"
Creative minds: the links between mental illness and creativity
John Dewey and the Chaos of Contemporary Public Education
F is for Fail - Schools Rewarding Poor Grades with Honor Roll
Transforming America’s Schools into Authoritarian Instruments of Compliance
School is a prison — and damaging our kids
Latest News from our Front Page
Obama critic D’ouza spared prison for violating election law
2014 09 24
Conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza avoided prison on Tuesday when a U.S. judge sentenced him to serve eight months in a community confinement center after he pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance law.
D’Souza, 53, was ordered by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan to live in a center, which would allow him to leave during non-residential hours for ...
’Digital twins’ will make decisions for us - and even console loved ones after we die by 2020, futurist claims
2014 09 23
By 2020, our day-to-day lives, relationships and even what to have for dinner could be controlled and run by digital versions of ourselves.
According to futurist John Smart, within the next six years many of us could have so-called ‘digital twins’ that schedule our appointments and even have conversations with others on our behalf.
And they could one day console loved ones ...
Israel Joins The Fighting, Shoots Down Syrian Warplane Which Acted In "Threatening Manner"
2014 09 23
Whether as a result of recent icy to quite icy diplomatic relations between the two nations, or just because it has other motives, Israel had clearly abstained from joining the US effort to contain the CIA-created ISIS terrorist juggernaut. However, overnight, with the US finally doing what Israel has hoped it would do for so long, namely being engaged in ...
Proof Ebola Is Airborne And U.S. Troops Will Be Caught In A Death Trap
2014 09 23
“Help needs to come fast. Because even if the new U.S. aid starts to slow down the epidemic next week, it will take a year or a year and a half to wipe out Ebola from West Africa,” says Jeffrey Shaman, an associate professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
He’s making models of ...
Your Smartphone Broadcasts Your Entire Life To The Secret Service
2014 09 23
Intelligence services collect metadata on the communication of all citizens. Politicians would have us believe that this data doesn’t say all that much. A reader of De Correspondent put this to the test and demonstrated otherwise: metadata reveals a lot more about your life than you think.
Ton Siedsma is nervous. He made the decision weeks ago, but keeps postponing it. ...
|More News » |