Author: Edward O. Wilson
Publisher: Liveright Publishing
An eloquent exploration of creativity, The Origins of Creativity grapples with the question of how this uniquely human expression—so central to our identity as individuals and, collectively, as a species—came about and how it has manifested itself throughout the history of our species. In this profound and lyrical book, one of our most celebrated biologists offers a sweeping examination of the relationship between the humanities and the sciences: what they offer to each other, how they can be united, and where they still fall short. Both endeavours, Edward O. Wilson reveals, have their roots in human creativity—the defining trait of our species. Reflecting on the deepest origins of language, storytelling, and art, Wilson demonstrates how creativity began not ten thousand years ago, as we have long assumed, but over one hundred thousand years ago in the Paleolithic age. Chronicling this evolution of creativity from primate ancestors to humans, The Origins of Creativity shows how the humanities, spurred on by the invention of language, have played a largely unexamined role in defining our species. And in doing so, Wilson explores what we can learn about human nature from a surprising range of creative endeavors—the instinct to create gardens, the use of metaphors and irony in speech, and the power of music and song. Our achievements in science and the humanities, Wilson notes, make us uniquely advanced as a species, but also give us the potential to be supremely dangerous, most worryingly in our abuse of the planet. The humanities in particular suffer from a kind of anthropomorphism, encumbered by a belief that we are the only species among millions that seem to matter, yet Wilson optimistically reveals how researchers will have to address this parlous situation by pushing further into the realm of science, especially fields such as evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and anthropology. With eloquence and humanity, Wilson calls for a transformational "Third Enlightenment," in which the blending of these endeavors will give us a deeper understanding of the human condition and our crucial relationship with the natural world.
Author: Edward O. Wilson
Publisher: Penguin UK
'An intellectual hero ... A superb celebrator of science in all its manifestations' Ian McEwan 'Darwin's great successor' Jeffrey Sachs The legendary biologist Edward O. Wilson offers his most philosophically probing work to date 'Creativity is the unique and defining trait of our species; and its ultimate goal, self-understanding,' begins Edward Wilson's sweeping examination of the humanities and their relationship to the sciences. By studying fields as diverse as paleontology, evolutionary biology and neuroscience, Wilson demonstrates that human creativity began not 10,000 years ago, as we have long assumed, but over 100,000 years ago in the Paleolithic Age. Chronicling the evolution of creativity from primates to humans, Wilson shows how the humanities, in large part spurred on by the invention of language, have played a previously unexamined role in defining our species. Exploring a surprising range of creative endeavors - the instinct to create gardens; the use of metaphors and irony in speech; or the power of music and song - Wilson proposes a transformational 'Third Enlightenment' in which the blending of science and the humanities will enable us to gain a deeper understanding of the human condition, and how it ultimately originated.
Blending, Creativity, and the Human Spark
Author: Mark Turner
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Humans are unique among all other species in having one cognitive attribute-the ability, almost without conscious effort, to engage in blending. This is the first book that brings the theory of blending to a wide audience and shows how blending is at the heart of the origin of ideas.
The Origin of Creativity and Belief
Author: David S. Whitley
Publisher: Prometheus Books
The magnificent prehistoric art discovered in caves throughout France and Spain raises many questions about early human culture. What do these superbly rendered paintings of horses, bison, and enigmatic human figures and symbols mean? How can we explain the sudden flourishing of artistic creativity at such a high level? And in what ways does this artwork reflect the underlying belief system, worldview, and life of the people who created it? In this fascinating discussion of ancient art and religion, Dr David S Whitley -- one of the world's leading experts on cave paintings--guides the reader in an exploration of these intriguing questions, while sharing his firsthand experiences in visiting these exquisite, breath-taking sites. To grasp what drove these ancient artists to create these masterpieces, and to understand the origin of myth and religion, as Whitley explains, is to appreciate what makes us human. Moreover, he broadens our understanding of the genesis of creativity and myth by proposing a radically new and original theory that weds two seemingly warring camps from separate disciplines. On the one hand, archaeologists specialising in prehistoric cave paintings have argued that the visionary rituals of shamans led to the creation of this expressive art. They consider shamanism to be the earliest known form of religion. By contrast, evolutionary psychologists view the emergence of religious beliefs as a normal expression of the human mind. In their eyes, the wild and ecstatic trances of shamans were a form of aberrant behaviour. Far from being typical representatives of ancient religion, shamans were exceptions to the normal rule of early religion. Whitley resolves the controversy by interweaving the archaeological evidence with the latest findings of cutting-edge neuroscience. He thereby rewrites our understanding of shamanism and its connection with artistic creativity, myth, and religion. Combining a colourful narrative describing Whitley's personal explorations at key archaeological sites with robust scientific research, Cave Paintings and the Human Spirit makes for engrossing reading. It provides a profound and poignant perspective on what it means to be human.
Author: Edward O. Wilson
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
New York Times Bestseller From the most celebrated heir to Darwin comes a groundbreaking book on evolution, the summa work of Edward O. Wilson's legendary career. Sparking vigorous debate in the sciences, The Social Conquest of Earth upends “the famous theory that evolution naturally encourages creatures to put family first” (Discover). Refashioning the story of human evolution, Wilson draws on his remarkable knowledge of biology and social behavior to demonstrate that group selection, not kin selection, is the premier driving force of human evolution. In a work that James D. Watson calls “a monumental exploration of the biological origins of the human condition,” Wilson explains how our innate drive to belong to a group is both a “great blessing and a terrible curse” (Smithsonian). Demonstrating that the sources of morality, religion, and the creative arts are fundamentally biological in nature, the renowned Harvard University biologist presents us with the clearest explanation ever produced as to the origin of the human condition and why it resulted in our domination of the Earth’s biosphere.
Author: Barbora Putová,Václav Soukup
Publisher: Karolinum Press, Charles University
"Genesis of Creativity and the Origin of the Human Mind" is a collective monograph which comprises scientific studies written by foremost world experts specialising on evolution of the man, culture and art. Seen from the interdisciplinary perspective, the monograph aspires to describe, analyse and interpret the nascence of artistic creativity and the constitution of the anatomically modern man's mind. It also focuses on the origins of art in the Upper Paleolithic as well as on manifestations of artistic creativity in pre-literary societies and tribal cultures that have preserved until present, e.g. in Southern Africa. The fact that the monograph is a result of works by experts with different specialisations enables us to compare their different approaches to the topic and accentuate the wide array of possible approaches and interpretations of artistic manifestations in a particular historic and cultural context.
Author: Bruce Adolphe
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
After Newton died in 1727, a monument was erected in the Scientist's Corner of Westminster Abbey. It was decorated with a pile of four books and adorned with cherubs holding a prism, a telescope and newly minted coins. The implication is clear. Newton's towering intellect and god-given gift for creative thinking was the origin of his inspiration. Not far away, at the front of the monument to Newton, is the tomb of Charles Darwin, who published On the Origin of Species, which first discussed the evolution of man. The proximity of the monuments is telling. If we are to define the single, most unique human attribute evolution has produced, it must be our ability to think creatively. Thinking is the ultimate human resource. Breaking through the barriers posed by dogma, and reaching beyond the limits of established patterns of thinking to discover what is new and useful is the engine that drives society. This book, which had its genesis in a conference organized by Karl Pfenninger, and held at Aspen, Colorado, entitled 'Higher brain function, art and science: an interdisciplinary examination of the creative process', brings together articles by thirteen contributors from the fields of science, art and music. Two of the contributors have been awarded Nobel prizes, and all are distinguished representatives of their fields. The Origins of Creativity is organized around four central themes of creativity: the creative experience in art and science; the biologicalbasis of imagination, emotion and reason; creative powers and the environment; and the mind's perception of patterns. The views of artists, who couch their ideas in more metaphorical language, mingle with the analytical thoughts of scientists who strive to understand how the brain generates images and ideas. The voices of creators - artist, scientist, mathematician - and of those who study creative activity - neuroscientist, psychologist, philosopher - generate a broad spectrum of views on creativity whose integration offers new insights and becomes a creative act in itself. This book offers insights into the origins of human creativity to scientists, artists, and general readers. Its inter-disciplinary authorship presents a uniquely broad perspective on current research, and the style throughout is accessible and engaging.
Author: Scott Elias
Innovation and creativity are two of the key characteristics that distinguish cultural transmission from biological transmission. This book explores a number of questions concerning the nature and timing of the origins of human creativity. What were the driving factors in the development of new technologies? What caused the stasis in stone tool technological innovation in the Early Pleistocene? Were there specific regions and episodes of enhanced technological development, or did it occur at a steady pace where ancestral humans lived? The authors are archaeologists who address these questions, armed with data from ancient artefacts such as shell beads used as jewelry, primitive musical instruments, and sophisticated techniques required to fashion certain kinds of stone into tools. Providing 'state of art' discussions that step back from the usual archaeological publications that focus mainly on individual site discoveries, this book presents the full picture on how and why creativity in Middle to Late Pleistocene archeology/anthropology evolved. Gives a full, original and multidisciplinary perspective on how and why creativity evolved in the Middle to Late Pleistocene Enhances our understanding of the big leaps forward in creativity at certain times Assesses the intellectual creativity of Homo erectus, H. neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens via their artefacts
A Journey to the Origins of Human Creativity
Author: Nigel Spivey
Publisher: Basic Books
In the late nineteenth century, the first discoveries of prehistoric painting were greeted with incredulity. How could there have been such deft and skillful artists in the world over 30,000 years ago? Noted art historian Nigel Spivey begins with this puzzle to explore the record of humanity's artistic endeavors and their impact on our own development. Embarking with the motto, “Everyone is an artist,” Spivey takes us on a quest to find out when and how we humans began to explore the deepest questions of life, using visual artforms. With the help of vivid color illustrations of some of the world's most moving and enduring works of art, Spivey shows how that art has been used as a means of mass persuasion, essential to the creation of hierarchical societies, and finally, the extent to which art has served as a mode of terror management in the face of our inevitable death. Packed with new insights into ancient wonders and fascinating stories from all around the globe, How Art Made the World is a compelling account of how humans made art and how art makes us human.
Darwinian Perspectives on Creativity
Author: Dean Keith Simonton
Publisher: Oxford University Press
How can we account for the sudden appearance of such dazzling artists and scientists as Mozart, Shakespeare, Darwin, or Einstein? How can we define such genius? What conditions or personality traits seem to produce exceptionally creative people? Is the association between genius and madness really just a myth? These and many other questions are brilliantly illuminated in The Origins of Genius. Dean Simonton convincingly argues that creativity can best be understood as a Darwinian process of variation and selection. The artist or scientist generates a wealth of ideas, and then subjects these ideas to aesthetic or scientific judgment, selecting only those that have the best chance to survive and reproduce. Indeed, the true test of genius is the ability to bequeath an impressive and influential body of work to future generations. Simonton draws on the latest research into creativity and explores such topics as the personality type of the genius, whether genius is genetic or produced by environment and education, the links between genius and mental illness (Darwin himself was emotionally and mentally unwell), the high incidence of childhood trauma, especially loss of a parent, amongst Nobel Prize winners, the importance of unconscious incubation in creative problem-solving, and much more. Simonton substantiates his theory by examining and quoting from the work of such eminent figures as Henri Poincare, W. H. Auden, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Charles Darwin, Niels Bohr, and many others. For anyone intrigued by the spectacular feats of the human mind, The Origins of Genius offers a revolutionary new way of understanding the very nature of creativity.
How human creativity remakes the world
Author: David Eagleman,Anthony Brandt
“The authors look at art and science together to examine how innovations—from Picasso’s initially offensive paintings to Steve Jobs’s startling iPhone—build on what already exists and rely on three brain operations: bending, breaking and blending. This manifesto . . . shows how both disciplines foster creativity.” —The Wall Street Journal “The Runaway Species approach[es] creativity scientifically but sensitively, feeling its roots without pulling them out.” —The Economist The Runaway Species is a deep dive into the creative mind, a celebration of the human spirit, and a vision of how we can improve our future by understanding and embracing our ability to innovate. David Eagleman and Anthony Brandt seek to answer the question: what lies at the heart of humanity’s ability—and drive—to create? Our ability to remake our world is unique among all living things. But where does our creativity come from, how does it work, and how can we harness it to improve our lives, schools, businesses, and institutions? Eagleman and Brandt examine hundreds of examples of human creativity through dramatic storytelling and stunning images in this beautiful, full-color volume. By drawing out what creative acts have in common and viewing them through the lens of cutting-edge neuroscience, they uncover the essential elements of this critical human ability, and encourage a more creative future for all of us.
Author: Jacob Bronowski
Publisher: Yale University Press
“A gem of enlightenment. . . . One rejoices in Bronowski’s dedication to the identity of acts of creativity and of imagination, whether in Blake or Yeats or Einstein or Heisenberg.”—Kirkus Reviews “According to Bronowski, our account of the world is dictated by our biology: how we perceive, imagine, symbolize, etc. He proposes to explain how we receive and translate our experience of the world so that we achieve knowledge. He examines the mechanisms of our perception; the origin and nature of natural language; formal systems and scientific discourse; and how science, as a systematic attempt to establish closed systems one after another, progresses by exploring its own errors and new but unforeseen connections. . . . A delightful look at the inquiring mind.”—Library Journal “Eminently enjoyable to read, with a good story or ‘bon mot’ on every page.”—Nature “A well-written and brilliantly presented defense of the scientific enterprise which could be especially valuable to scientists and to teachers of science at all levels.”—AAAS Science Books & Films Contents 1. The Mind as an Instrument for Understanding 2. The Evolution and Power of Symbolic Language 3. Knowledge as Algorithm and as Metaphor 4. The Laws of Nature and the Nature of Laws 5. Error, Progress, and the Concept of Time 6. Law and Individual Responsibility
Author: Edward O. Wilson
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
National Book Award Finalist. How did humanity originate and why does a species like ours exist on this planet? Do we have a special place, even a destiny in the universe? Where are we going, and perhaps, the most difficult question of all, "Why?" In The Meaning of Human Existence, his most philosophical work to date, Pulitzer Prize–winning biologist Edward O. Wilson grapples with these and other existential questions, examining what makes human beings supremely different from all other species. Searching for meaning in what Nietzsche once called "the rainbow colors" around the outer edges of knowledge and imagination, Wilson takes his readers on a journey, in the process bridging science and philosophy to create a twenty-first-century treatise on human existence—from our earliest inception to a provocative look at what the future of mankind portends. Continuing his groundbreaking examination of our "Anthropocene Epoch," which he began with The Social Conquest of Earth, described by the New York Times as "a sweeping account of the human rise to domination of the biosphere," here Wilson posits that we, as a species, now know enough about the universe and ourselves that we can begin to approach questions about our place in the cosmos and the meaning of intelligent life in a systematic, indeed, in a testable way. Once criticized for a purely mechanistic view of human life and an overreliance on genetic predetermination, Wilson presents in The Meaning of Human Existence his most expansive and advanced theories on the sovereignty of human life, recognizing that, even though the human and the spider evolved similarly, the poet's sonnet is wholly different from the spider's web. Whether attempting to explicate "The Riddle of the Human Species," "Free Will," or "Religion"; warning of "The Collapse of Biodiversity"; or even creating a plausible "Portrait of E.T.," Wilson does indeed believe that humanity holds a special position in the known universe. The human epoch that began in biological evolution and passed into pre-, then recorded, history is now more than ever before in our hands. Yet alarmed that we are about to abandon natural selection by redesigning biology and human nature as we wish them, Wilson soberly concludes that advances in science and technology bring us our greatest moral dilemma since God stayed the hand of Abraham.
Author: Bert Hölldobler,Edward O. Wilson
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Discusses the anatomy, physiology, social organization, ecology, and natural history of ants
Author: Edward O. Wilson
Publisher: Island Press
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Edward O. Wilson -- University Professor at Harvard, winner of two Pulitzer prizes, eloquent champion of biodiversity -- is arguably one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. His career represents both a blueprint and a challenge to those who seek to explore the frontiers of scientific understanding. Yet, until now, little has been told of his life and of the important events that have shaped his thought.In Naturalist, Wilson describes for the first time both his growth as a scientist and the evolution of the science he has helped define. He traces the trajectory of his life -- from a childhood spent exploring the Gulf Coast of Alabama and Florida to life as a tenured professor at Harvard -- detailing how his youthful fascination with nature blossomed into a lifelong calling. He recounts with drama and wit the adventures of his days as a student at the University of Alabama and his four decades at Harvard University, where he has achieved renown as both teacher and researcher.As the narrative of Wilson's life unfolds, the reader is treated to an inside look at the origin and development of ideas that guide today's biological research. Theories that are now widely accepted in the scientific world were once untested hypotheses emerging from one mans's broad-gauged studies. Throughout Naturalist, we see Wilson's mind and energies constantly striving to help establish many of the central principles of the field of evolutionary biology.The story of Wilson's life provides fascinating insights into the making of a scientist, and a valuable look at some of the most thought-provoking ideas of our time.
A Little Book of Creativity
Author: Phil Beadle
Publisher: Crown House Publishing
Dancing about Architecture: A Little Book of Creativity is a compendium of outrageous ideas: ideas about how to take more risks, and about how to go about coming up with better ideas. Ideas about how to plan experiences that leave people who are in the same room as those ideas awestruck, and ideas to help you avoid the textbook, the worksheet the barely stifled yawn. From using The Book of Revelation as a planning device; to seeing every experience through the prism of physical activity or song; to measuring a poem to find its real heart; it outlines a methodology that, if you use it, will make you an even greater creative force than you already are.
Author: Edward O. Wilson
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Half-Earth proposes an achievable plan to save our imperiled biosphere: devote half the surface of the Earth to nature. In order to stave off the mass extinction of species, including our own, we must move swiftly to preserve the biodiversity of our planet, says Edward O. Wilson in his most impassioned book to date. Half-Earth argues that the situation facing us is too large to be solved piecemeal and proposes a solution commensurate with the magnitude of the problem: dedicate fully half the surface of the Earth to nature. If we are to undertake such an ambitious endeavor, we first must understand just what the biosphere is, why it's essential to our survival, and the manifold threats now facing it. In doing so, Wilson describes how our species, in only a mere blink of geological time, became the architects and rulers of this epoch and outlines the consequences of this that will affect all of life, both ours and the natural world, far into the future. Half-Earth provides an enormously moving and naturalistic portrait of just what is being lost when we clip "twigs and eventually whole braches of life's family tree." In elegiac prose, Wilson documents the many ongoing extinctions that are imminent, paying tribute to creatures great and small, not the least of them the two Sumatran rhinos whom he encounters in captivity. Uniquely, Half-Earth considers not only the large animals and star species of plants but also the millions of invertebrate animals and microorganisms that, despite being overlooked, form the foundations of Earth's ecosystems. In stinging language, he avers that the biosphere does not belong to us and addresses many fallacious notions such as the idea that ongoing extinctions can be balanced out by the introduction of alien species into new ecosystems or that extinct species might be brought back through cloning. This includes a critique of the "anthropocenists," a fashionable collection of revisionist environmentalists who believe that the human species alone can be saved through engineering and technology. Despite the Earth's parlous condition, Wilson is no doomsayer, resigned to fatalism. Defying prevailing conventional wisdom, he suggests that we still have time to put aside half the Earth and identifies actual spots where Earth's biodiversity can still be reclaimed. Suffused with a profound Darwinian understanding of our planet's fragility, Half-Earth reverberates with an urgency like few other books, but it offers an attainable goal that we can strive for on behalf of all life.
How Imagination Made Humans Exceptional
Author: Agustín Fuentes
Category: Social Science
A bold new synthesis of paleontology, archaeology, genetics, and anthropology that overturns misconceptions about race, war and peace, and human nature itself, answering an age-old question: What made humans so exceptional among all the species on Earth? Creativity. It is the secret of what makes humans special, hiding in plain sight. Agustín Fuentes argues that your child's finger painting comes essentially from the same place as creativity in hunting and gathering millions of years ago, and throughout history in making war and peace, in intimate relationships, in shaping the planet, in our communities, and in all of art, religion, and even science. It requires imagination and collaboration. Every poet has her muse; every engineer, an architect; every politician, a constituency. The manner of the collaborations varies widely, but successful collaboration is inseparable from imagination, and it brought us everything from knives and hot meals to iPhones and interstellar spacecraft. Weaving fascinating stories of our ancient ancestors' creativity, Fuentes finds the patterns that match modern behavior in humans and animals. This key quality has propelled the evolutionary development of our bodies, minds, and cultures, both for good and for bad. It's not the drive to reproduce; nor competition for mates, or resources, or power; nor our propensity for caring for one another that have separated us out from all other creatures. As Fuentes concludes, to make something lasting and useful today you need to understand the nature of your collaboration with others, what imagination can and can't accomplish, and, finally, just how completely our creativity is responsible for the world we live in. Agustín Fuentes's resounding multimillion-year perspective will inspire readers—and spark all kinds of creativity.
Author: Brian Boyd
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Brian Boyd explains why we tell stories and how our minds are shaped to understand them. After considering art as adaptation, Boyd examines Homer's Odyssey and Dr. Seuss's Horton Hears a Who! demonstrating how an evolutionary lens can offer new understanding and appreciation of specific works. Published for the bicentenary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species, Boyd's study embraces a Darwinian view of human nature and art, and offers a credo for a new humanism.