Tuesday, June 30, 2009

the view from here (and there)

this is an interesting article in the economist about a study connecting one's creativity to one's having lived abroad. the research method and and testing used in the study lacks credibility but it does get the conversation going and is something i've had a hunch about for some time. in particular is the ability to see the world in more than one way, to percieve it from varying locations and be immersed in divergent perspectives (obviously, this is something that can be achieved intentionally in most cases without even leaving one's hometown). monocultural contexts often lend themselves to concrete ways of seeing things, resulting in "either/or" and dichotomistic views of the world. but the "third way" is the way of creativity and comes from being able to envision something other than the two options that have always been present. you name it, wether it's the visual arts (paul gauguin, etc), literary arts (ernest hemingway, etc) or leadership (barack obama, etc)- creativity seems to flourish in people that are able to view the world from more than one angle.


pedro said...

I'm not sure I would claim to be creative, but I can attest that the intentionality of entering into one's context even domestically has a large impact on one's ability to perceive from different perspectives.

Through our conversations together phnil, I'm always struck by how you very obviously had to adapt in order to survive your transition from Oaxaca to Chitown. I would also like to think that your sister's career focus has led her on a path of intellectual creativity that is bridiging the gap between two cultural perspectives.

p.s. Glad to see you're reading the Economist.


elnellis said...

i'm not sure i'd agree with your claim to not being creative! the way you think and live is so creative, and yes, highly intentional- a global perspective if i ever saw one.
and yeah, i think you are right about about the survival/adaptability piece. and as far as how that plays out in the realm of creativity, look no further than the "primitive" technologies and repurposing of items that people around the world who don't have the buy it and toss it mentality. again- the brilliance of the "third way."