The Gestalt's Garden

The myth of the collaborative genius

| 190 words
#myth-solitary-genius #myth-colaborative-genius #creativity

Which myth about creativity do you prefer to believe?

The myth of the solitary genius:

  1. An individual with superhuman abilities.
  2. Appears out of nowhere, free of influence or precedent.
  3. Has a sudden moment of inspiration.
  4. He devotes his whole life to his work.
  5. Creates a masterpiece of world-renowned success.

The myth of the collaborative genius:

  1. An individual with normal abilities.
  2. Born into a society that influences him and nurtures him with ideas.
  3. Finds a niche in the knowledge of that society.
  4. Uses ideas and tools available from society to fill that gap.
  5. Creates a useful and novel work that is integrated into society’s knowledge.

If we believe in the myth of the solitary genius, we will see creativity as an anti-social act that is only available to privileged minds.

The problem?

I don’t have a privileged mind, therefore, according to this myth, doing creative work is out of my reach.

On the other hand, I do see myself reflected in the myth of the collaborative genius. I don’t need to be a genius for my own sake: interacting, collaborating and using the ideas of others is what makes us geniuses.

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