Creativity in Social Systems Essay
•Resource: “Nine Features of the ‘Creativogenic’ Society” in Ch. 4 of the text.
•Prepare a 750 word essay on creativity in social systems. Consider the following as your prepare your paper:
How could you draw on the nine features of the creativogenic society to improve the creativity in the social systems of which you are a part, such as families, clubs, religious organization, charities, sports teams, and places of employment?
Devise and explain at least three strategies in your paper.
-Nine Features of the “Creativogenic” Society
What characteristics would provide such impetus? Arieti (1976) proposed nine features that seem essential to the “creativogenic” society.
The availability of cultural (and certain physical) means. Mozart would not have been successful had he been born in Africa, nor Michelangelo in Alaska.
Openness to cultural stimuli. Not only must the means be available to the creative person, but the population (or at least some significant part of it) must also desire the results. Eighth-century Europe was not a very hospitable place in which to be a genius.
An emphasis on becoming, not just being. “A culture that puts emphasis only on immediate gratification, sensuousness, comfort, and immediate pleasure does not promote creativity” (p. 314).
Free access to cultural media for all citizens without discrimination. In the past, essential information has been made available only to a privileged class—the clergy, the wealthy, the religious or ethnic majority, and, most often, members of the male sex. This, Arieti said, is the major reason for women’s underrepresentation on the lists of great historical achievements. A number of authors have suggested that the woman’s role as childbearer “sublimates”—that is, assuages her need—to be creative. Arieti claimed that this is a false explanation, in that society has cast the female role on women, leaving them little choice in the matter.
Freedom, or even moderate discrimination, after severe oppression or absolute exclusion. Of course, Arieti does not recommend this incentive, but he predicted that women and minorities would make more creative contributions in the near future.
Exposure to different and even contrasting cultural stimuli. Although cultures are strongly reinforced not to change (people usually believe that time has proved the value of cultures), incorporating new stimuli from other cultures makes creativity more likely. American multiculturalism and tolerance have obviously benefited here.
Tolerance for and interest in unusual viewpoints and ideas. This concept will be described at length in Chapter Five.
The opportunity for interaction between significant persons. As we concluded from the study of creative people’s families in Chapter Three, crucial influences on young people’s lives can come from many quarters, but only if they live in a society that permits and encourages interaction with others who have different views. For instance, the Warsaw Ghetto of World War II made contact between Christians and Jews virtually impossible, cutting off the chance for the exchange of imaginative ideas.
The promotion of incentives and awards. When Arieti wrote this, the possible negative effects of reinforcements had not yet been identified or studied. However, he did seem to have anticipated the importance of what came to be called intrinsic motivation, for he said, “The greatest award to creativity is creativity itself” (p. 324).