Is creativity a ‘natural’ process?




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The Planetary Collegium


Book chapter

Peer reviewed


We are a product of the natural world and cannot dissociate ourselves from it. This may be the reason human models of culture - like persistent dynamic patterns in nature - resist the two extremes of:     disorder-inertia;     order-crystallisation; These two extremes lead to either rigidity or dissolution - qualities that appear to attract equal degrees of avoidance, except for a few special (and sometimes innovative) cases, which act a 'seeds' that shift attention from - or even destroy - existing outmoded forms. The resulting balance between the polar urges towards order/control and freedom/chaos can be seen as the result of this dynamic equilibrium.

We disparage creative works that are too rigid or formulaic as much as we do those that are too unstructured or undirected. Over and above the cultural at a lower and more fundamental level, do the various human aesthetics spring from the very natural processes of which we are a part? In other words, is creativity and the appreciation of its outcomes informed - or even driven - by the dynamic complex equilibrium of our human biology and chemistry, combined with the physics of the natural world? If this might be the case, even in part, we need to examine what it means for the notion of 'individual' expression.

This paper explores the idea that the processes studied under the umbrella of complexity are related to those followed during the process of creativity. It also touches on other ideas that relate to this connection between the natural world and human creativity, for instance from those arising from fundamental properties of number, and the connection between collaboration and the emergence of creative structures.



aesthetics complexity creativity patterns self-organisation, aesthetics


Everitt, D. (2011) Is creativity a ‘natural’ process? The Planetary Collegium


Research Institute