As humans, we are born with a basic imagination giving us self-awareness, awareness of three frames of time, and language. This imagination does not afford each of us with creativity though--despite what common teachers want to think--which further complicates the understanding of the human condition because even though we each have the basic faculties of imagination, not all are restricted to those basics. In other words, some are creative and some are not. The following is an exploration into the intricacies of the three general types of creativity, and how two are natural and one is socially fabricated, to help us color our understanding of both imagination and creativity.
The purest form of creator is the type who pulls things from thin air. The DaVinci's. The Socrates'. The Newton's. They do not reassemble, assimilate, or reorganize, but create something that has never existed before. Their minds naturally operate independent of the need to consult pre-existing templates. True creatives operate on a plane that makes their inner world a flexible, apt tool of understanding the outer world, allowing stimuli in from the outer world but not needing the established or accepted methods of interpreting that stimuli. Thus, true creatives can be locked in a room by themselves and create. Their imagination certainly functions differently, and I will further explain why after we visit the other types of creators.
The more prevalent type of creator are those who assimilate. Instead of creating from thin air, this type of creator's imagination is fed by what they are exposed to in the outside world. They are like sponges. Picture it like this: Ticks need blood hosts to survive, but they need to find them first. What they do is climb upon a tall piece of vegetation and extend their front legs, which are actually modified pheromone receptors. When these legs detect the scent of a blood meal approaching, the tick seizes the opportunity to hitch a ride. From there it crawls to a spot with a blood vessel near the surface, and then it feeds. The assimilator-type of creator works the same way: They open their spongelike mind in order to detect stimuli that could feed their creativity. This is why assimilator-type creators need to actively find the best piece of "vegetation" to perch themselves on in order to catch the type of stimuli that fits their wheelhouse. Yes, each assimilator has a wheelhouse, which is another way of saying natural inclination. This does not mean they are necessarily deficient in other things, it just mean they have certain strengths, which if they play to, will help them assimilo-create in the best way possible.
Since these two types of creators have a natural inclination to create, they have a responsibility. No, not a responsibility to their family to make money, or a responsibility to their town or city to put it on the map, or a responsibility to create for the good of humanity. They have a responsibility to their creative faculty to put themselves in the right position to help that creativity flourish. I say this because I have spoken with--and read about--enough creators to realize that if the natural gift of creativity (no matter the flavor) is not exercised or expressed, that person will experience a void in their life. Creativity is thus part of a person's makeup, and while it is certainly possible to physically restrain them from expressing their particular creativity, it is not possible to completely quell their need to create.
I ought to reiterate that up to this point I have spoken of individuals with a natural compulsion to create, with one type being the true-creatives, or "out-of-thin-air" creatives, and the other type being the assimilators, or "sponges." Just because I made a binary distinction does not mean that there is an underlying or impending good-bad distinction. These two types of creators exist independently of human moral and social value-judgments like this.
Which leads us to the third type of creator.
On a social level, people can be taught to "create," so this type will on the surface be more like an assimilator than a true creator because they require the intake of outside stimuli. They in no way create out of thin air. So what separates them from the assimilators? This social-type utilizes pre-established criteria, formula, and methods for re-presenting the stimuli they learn from outside sources. Also--to bring the ticks back in--they do not have particular pieces of vegetation that are more in their wheelhouse, because as opposed to the other types, who are natural creators and thus have natural bends and propensities, they are purely social and do not have a particular type of vegetation (natural inclination) that exists in their mind that is compelling them to create. In other words, this third type is the concrete creator, or fabricator, for 3 reasons: 1) They require outside stimuli to provide them resources and content, 2) Their creativity is dependent upon re-presenting or reorganizing concrete objects within reality, and 3) To finally broach the topic of imagination, they have a non-circuited imagination.
It should be clear by now that not all imaginations are the same, and not just because of our varying familial upbringing or financial advantage.
The fabricators' imagination is non-circuited because not only do they need outside resources and content to operate, but since they lack the natural creative drive that the other two types have, they need outside influences to continue fabricating. They are not self-propelled. Think of this type as segmented creatives: They fabricate one thing, and then the process is over until something outside of them drives them to fabricate another thing; so on and so forth. This is why their imaginations are non-circuited; their fabrications are not connected in an abstract or meaning sense to one another, nor do they have an inner compulsion (read: something they cannot not do) to fabricate. This is why they generally do it for entertainment or income.
The assimilative creators' imagination are semi-circuited because although they have an inner drive that compels them to create with a certain vision, they are dependent upon absorbing information from that outside reality to feed this vision. Their imagination is thus a mixture of what they have perceived and what they have intuited, allowing them to creative wonderfully striking pieces if they do the legwork, since they have the ability to use a creative imagination to re-present common everyday things in new and fresh ways for both their own understanding, as well as others. (This is how many artists and artist-advocates are led to falsely believe they have a responsibility to humanity, when really their only responsibility is to cultivate that inner creativity, because--as I said earlier--they always feel something is missing when they do not express or engage their creativity). This is why the individual with this type of imagination is drawn to art or soft sciences, because they are the bridge between what is in their mind, and what comprises the outside, resource-laden world.
Lastly, we have the true creatives' imagination, or the "out-of-thin-air" creatives. These are the individuals who could exist as a brain in a vat because their creativity does not carry the requirement of physical engagement. (Stephen Hawking made this argument when someone asked him if his disability impeded his science. He said it did not bother him because his mind was the only faculty of his he engaged anyway.) The true creatives thus have fully-circuited imaginations because they rely on nothing but their own vision, explorations, and reasonings. Yes, they learn outside material, but they think and process all on their own. It sounds odd, but these individuals cannot help but think and create. They do not need to go to school to learn and often thrive when they do not, because school merely trains and indoctrinates the individual in the common/accepted understanding of knowledge and information. Isaac Newton created Calculus because he needed a more advanced science than algebra to push his personal scientific pursuits further, not because the industry asked its brightest to create it. Hence, these individuals are anything but common, and certainly do not need to learn the common way of doing things to know that theirs works well, and hence have a type of imagination that creates, feeds, and checks itself. Or in other words, is completely self-sufficient--or fully-circuited--and why they are generally drawn to math, science, or some other abstract pursuit.
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