Every day, for a week, I’m writing about the definitions of Creativity thinkers have offered throughout history and why each one cannot be the final definition. Yesterday I wrote about Ancient Greek Artists Following the Rules.
The first pure alphabet, created by Semitic slaves to track the work of underlings, stirred little sand and much less awe from anyone in Ancient Egypt.
Egyptian dawns came only after a daily war between gods. Gods controlled rains and winds, births and deaths. Creativity, as an idea, did not yet exist, but creating of any kind proved the realm of gods. Not humans.
The god/Pharaoh built stuff, not with hands, but with grand ideas of how things should be and subject humans to execute his will. The architecture of pharaohs endures to wow the most jaded 21st century tourists and is certainly Creative. But the first alphabet, known as abjads could reasonably trump material wonders as a precious seed for centuries of global-scale human communication and the spread of knowledge. The alphabet allowed humans to absorb language through vision.
Neuroscientist Stanislas Dehaene says,
We delight in reading Nabokov and Shakespeare using a primate brain originally designed for life in the African savanna.
Even so, Dehaene says,
Brain imaging demonstrates that the adult brain contains fixed circuitry exquisitely attuned to reading.
Creators, even if not recognized as such for 3,800 years, come as lowly as the diligent worker/slaves with just enough knowledge to alter the human brain. A General Theory of Creativity must somehow encompass grand, if unknown, future effects of Creation.
Filed under: Creativity: Historical Perspective, Defining Creativity, General Theory of Creativity, What is Creativity | Tagged: Ancient Egyptian Creativity, Definiting Creativity, General Theory of Creativity, Semitic Creativity, The Alphabet | Leave a Comment »