Human Creativity and Scientific Innovation are intrinsically rooted to the same purpose.

1. Understanding these Constructs

Creativity and Innovation often make their way into the human life, be it as a selection criterion for a job, solving real-world problems, or just gaining satisfaction out of a fantastic piece of artwork. They were perhaps even why our species has come to dominate this planet[1] [2].

As Fuentes once put it, “Human creativity is our ability to move back and forth between the realms of ‘what is’ and ‘what could be.’ ”[3] Moreover, it is also our ability to use this imagination and insight to create something new, tangible or not.[4] At the essence, it is more about the process of imagining than the quality of the ideas themselves. Notably, ‘Human’ Creativity restricts the broader idea of creativity to just humans, and not computers or animals.

Innovation is when we use existing infrastructure/knowledge to introduce something valuable. Furthermore, if the process is methodical and the result of scientific value, we term it Scientific Innovation.[5]

Unfortunately, these two concepts are often misunderstood to be interchangeable. Human Creativity is inherently free and unrestricted. It is the product of an open mind. In contrast, Scientific Innovation is tied to reality, restricted by what’s available. It is the result of a directed mind. It focuses on the tangible results. For example, Fiction books are exemplars of Human Creativity. They depict things we cannot do, like magic. However, systems that allow us to control objects by mere gestures are Scientific Innovations.

This essay explores the importance of these two traits and attempts to show how they both eventually boil down to serve the same purpose. Section 2 explores their significance in some of the most fundamental motifs of human life. Section 3 draws upon the relations between both these ideas, and in the Conclusion, we explore how all the previously stated information leads us to their common purpose.

2. Fundamental Human Desires

a) Power and Autonomy

Most of us have a deep desire for our individual identity to be recognised.[6] We like having control of our lives and the freedom to experiment the surrounding space.[7] Power, characterised by an ability to influence, helps us achieve these.[8] Thus, as individuals or as a society, humans are motivated to obtain power. Furthermore, the amount of power one can wield is limitless and provided the benefits of power, the thirst for power is never quenched.[9]

Human Creativity and Scientific Innovation have been instrumental in equipping us with this power. When people’s proposed creativity and/or innovation is accepted by the society, they get recognition, appreciation, entitlement, and in turn, power.[10] This makes them more powerful and thereby grants them more freedom to experiment and control over their lives. Moreover, with industrialisation and automation, more influential jobs now look out for creativity and innovation in applicants[11]. Furthermore, these things allow our race to extend our reach in this universe, and also within itself, with more powerful tools that can serve in our future ventures[12]. Hence, through whatever means, the two constructs serve the same purpose of making us powerful.

b) A Better World

Agreeably, human lives are not perfect, and as long as our lifestyles change, we can always find something we can do better.[13] We constantly work together to solve common problems, to envision dreams, and then to make them a part of our reality.[14] [15] Hence, human life is always progressing to make a better future.

Human Creativity and Scientific Innovation are also integral in this quest. Take our wish to be able to communicate remotely. Here, we are required to wonder and imagine what better could be done, and then use the available resources to make that into reality. Human Creativity and Scientific Innovation (respectively) allow us to do those exact things. Human Creativity helps us imagine the potentiality of communication from miles apart by propelling us to wonder what all possibilities could exist in the same. Scientific Innovation, on the other hand, makes us think how the thought of communication can be transformed into reality by the existing logic and evidence in science. Therefore, in a larger picture, Creativity allows us to envision alternatives/solutions to existing problems and Scientific Innovation helps us develop the ideas to sanction their implementation in the long run. Therefore, though differently, they both enable us to create a better world.

c) Comprehending Reality

Humans are inherently curious creatures.[16] We generally like to know more about the workings of the universe by answering the questions of what, when and where.[17] This understanding allows us to behave optimally and thereby save resources like time and money. It also helps us theorize our purpose in this world. Thus, together we collect glimpses of this vast universe to understand it at depth and comprehend the reality, as correctly as possible.[18] However, any scientific framework begins with some initial assumptions, which may be disproved with new empirical evidence.[19] Hence, our model of reality is constantly refined over time.[20]

Without Human Creativity and Scientific Innovation, our progress would be negligible in this quest. Our assumptions, as claimed earlier, are never completely correct and we constantly work to refine our model of reality. Human Creativity and Scientific Innovation help us do this; the former prompts us to consistently question the veracity of the existing models and explore better ones at the same time; the latter, by using logic, helps us defend/attack the integrity of our existing models and find plausible explanations to the new ones. For instance, we always assumed that time is absolute, however, Einstein’s creativity questioned this assumption by using logic and thereby innovation, to prove this claim. And thereafter, it was his creativity, backed by innovation again, that created a new universally accepted model, ‘the theory of special relativity.’[21] Similarly, we asked if thoughts had any actual impact on the surroundings and today, Noetic Science is using both creativity and innovation to explore just that[22]. In the past, we asked ‘what’s on Mars?’ and we’ve studied it so much now that we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about the Earth’s seafloor![23]. Hence, we can say that we need both Human Creativity and Scientific Innovation to better understand reality, albeit in different ways.

d) Happiness

Humans are always in search of happiness.[24] Consequently, they like almost anything that makes them happy.[25] Human Creativity and Scientific Innovation are two such ideas, which, although serve this purpose individually, have overlapping paths.

Broadly, creative endeavours make us happy by the thrill and joy of exploration. They also add a further sense of accomplishment when the result is tangible and complete, and when one receives appreciation.[26] Innovation, on the other hand, provides happiness in two other ways: the sense of discovering and developing (not exploring) some truly new facet of this world, and the sense of being part of a bigger project that provides some significant benefits to others.[27]

However, Creativity, like innovation, can also work for a bigger cause. Similarly, Innovation can also provide a sense of accomplishment and recognition. Therefore, even though their individuality is distinct, their paths overlap. However, there is still a dominant route of impact wherein creativity mainly provides happiness through the process of creation and Innovation uses the result to make us happy. Regardless, they both make us happy.

3. Dependence and Independence

Even though Human Creativity and Scientific Innovation differ significantly (as claimed earlier), the concepts are inseparable. Creativity is the ability to imagine and produce new and unique ideas. Innovation is the implementation of that creativity, a real and concrete form of the idea raised by that creativity, but tied to reality. For example, the thought of being able to fly was our creativity and turning that into advanced high-speed airplanes was Scientific Innovation. However, the idea of being able to fly would have no meaning if not for the effort that went into making it a reality. Similarly, the effort that went into modelling an airplane would not have existed without the idea of being able to fly. Therefore, in the scientific domain, Scientific Innovation cannot exist without Human Creativity and Human Creativity would have no meaning without Scientific Innovation. Hence, regardless of the motif at hand, Human Creativity and Scientific Innovation always go hand in hand.

4. Conclusion: The Same Intrinsic Purpose

Through the essay, we’ve observed that both as individuals and as a race, we broadly have 4 fundamental desires: to become more powerful, to be able to live in a better world, to be happy and to better understand our surroundings. Here, where few other things can help make progress, Human Creativity and Scientific Innovation surely do. They may work through different means, but eventually accomplish the same tasks. Additionally, these two traits generally work in conjunction to make that impact, as explored in Section 3. Therefore, from an essential and intrinsic perspective, they both eventually serve the same things and thus are intrinsically rooted to the same purpose.

We leave the investigation of the direct route through analysis of the exact dynamics and the more specific applications for future research.

I wrote this ‘academic’ article with my friend Soham Agarwal in September 2020. Hope you found it an interesting read!

Citations

[1] Fuentes, Agustin. Creative Spark — How Imagination Made Humans Exceptional. Penguin Putnam Inc, 2017.

[2] Despain, David. “Early Humans Used Brain Power, Innovation and Teamwork to Dominate the Planet.” Scientific American, Scientific American, 27 Feb. 2010, www.scientificamerican.com/article/humans-brain-power-origins/.

[3] Fuentes, Agustin. “Creativity Is the Heart of the Human Experience.” The Cut, The Cut, 22 Mar. 2017, www.thecut.com/2017/03/how-imagination-makes-us-human.html#:~:text=Human%20creativity%20is%20our%20ability,our%20bodies%20and%20minds%20benefit.

[4] This is a distillation of the essence of Creativity from the various interpretations of it on the internet. (2–5 in the Bibliography.) Depending on use and context, variations to this idea are made.

[5] Again, this is a distillation of the essence through the various definitions provided by trusted sources such as Merriam Webster Dictionary and Google Dictionary.

[6] Fieser, James, and Bradley Dowden. “Recognition.” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 0AD, iep.utm.edu/recog_sp/.

[7] Legault, Lisa. (2016). The Need for Autonomy. Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. 10.1007/978–3–319–28099–8_1120–1.

[8] Lammers, Joris, et al. “To Have Control Over or to Be Free From Others? The Desire for Power Reflects a Need for Autonomy.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, vol. 42, no. 4, Apr. 2016, pp. 498–512, doi:10.1177/0146167216634064.

[9]hSmith, George H. “The Lust for Power.” Libertarianism.org, 12 June 2020, www.libertarianism.org/columns/lust-power.

[10] Vanlint, Nicola. “The Positive Benefits of Creativity.” Life Labs, Kelsey Media, 16 Feb. 2019, lifelabs.psychologies.co.uk/posts/4292-the-positive-benefits-of-creativity.

[11] 12, jojamz August. “Leaders Agree: The Top Work Skills.” Idea to Value, 16 Sept. 2016, www.ideatovalue.com/inno/nickskillicorn/2016/09/.

[12] Swart, Tara, and Tara Swart (@TaraSwart) is a neuroscientist. “The Neuroscience of Creativity (SSIR).” The Source: The Secrets of the Universe, the Science of the Brain by Tara Swart, ssir.org/books/excerpts/entry/the_neuroscience_of_creativity.

[13] “Perfection.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 30 Nov. 2008, www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/shift-mind/200811/the-problem-perfection.

[14] Ibid

[15] Schwartz, Mel. Possibility Principle. Sounds True, Incorporated, 2017.

[16] Kidd, Celeste, and Benjamin Y Hayden. “The Psychology and Neuroscience of Curiosity.” Neuron, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 4 Nov. 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4635443/.

[17] Ibid

[18] We credit the ideas discussed in this paragraph to the following article: Thompson, Chris. “Why Understanding Reality Is Important.” Medium, Understanding Reality, 14 Dec. 2018,

medium.com/understanding-reality/why-understanding-reality-is-important-aba0caef7d65#:~:text=Your%20understanding%20of%20reality%20determines,make%20determine%20your%20entire%20life.

[19] Buder, Emily. “‘We’re All Hallucinating All of the Time’.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, www.theatlantic.com/video/index/577087/neuroscience-perception/.

[20] Ibid

[21] Waldrop, Mitch. “Einstein’s Relativity Explained in 4 Simple Steps.” National Geographic, 22 May 2020, www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/05/einstein-relativity-thought-experiment-train-lightning-genius/.

[22] “What Are Noetic Sciences?” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 10 May 2011, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/consciousness-matters/201105/what-are-noetic-sciences-0.

[23] Vartan, Starre. “Why Do We Know More About the Surface of Mars Than We Do About the Ocean Floor?” Treehugger, www.treehugger.com/why-do-we-know-more-about-surface-mars-we-do-about-ocean-floor-4868212.

[24]Michael Bergeisen is the host of “The Greater Good Podcast.” “The Neuroscience of Happiness.” Greater Good, greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_neuroscience_of_happiness.

[25] Ibid

[26] Lebowitz, Shana. “The Scientific Reasons Why Being Creative Can Make You Happier.” Greatist, Greatist, 5 Nov. 2013, greatist.com/happiness/how-creativity-makes-us-happier.

[27] http://www.evoreg.eu/docs/files/shno/Note_evoREG_18.pdf

Bibliography

  1. Worrall, Simon. “How Creativity Drives Human Evolution.” National Geographic, 23 Apr. 2017, www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/04/creative-spark-augustin-fuentes-evolution/.
  2. Franken, Robert E. What Is Creativity?, California State University, Northridge, www.csun.edu/~vcpsy00h/creativity/define.htm.
  3. Definition of Creativity by Google Dictionary: “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.”
  4. Farnworth, Demian. “What Is Creativity? 21 Authentic Definitions You’ll Love [Free Poster].” Copyblogger, 11 Apr. 2020, copyblogger.com/define-creativity/.
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