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Dimensions of Creativity
|by V. Sundaram|
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his masterpiece of a book titled 'Creativity' starts with the question: 'What is creativity?' According to him creativity is some sort of mental activity, an insight that occurs inside the heads of some special people.
But this assumption is misleading.
If he means by creativity any new idea or action that is valuable, then we cannot simply accept without scrutiny or question a person's own account of the criterion for its existence. There is no way of knowing whether a thought is new or a concept is new except with reference to some known and accepted standards and there is no way of declaring whether it is valuable until it passes the test of social evaluation.
Therefore, creativity does not happen inside people's heads, but in the interaction between a person's thoughts and the socio-cultural context. It is a systemic rather than an individual phenomenon. Creativity brings into existence something genuinely new that is valued or becomes valuable enough to be added to the culture of a nation and its society.
The term 'creativity' is a very generic term and covers a very vast ground. It refers to very different entities, thus causing a great deal of confusion.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says that there are at least three different types of phenomena that can legitimately be called by the name of creativity.
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