Greek Concept Of Creativity

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Concepts of Creativity Over Time
“Poiein”,to make, “techne”, to make things according to rules, “facere”, man made, “creatio”, creation from nothing, “excogitation”, to think up, “de novo creat”, to create anew. These Greek and Latin terms represent, quite literally, the origins of the word “creativity”, although they also embody the evolution of the concept itself. Poiein was used by ancient Greeks to refer to poetry, and illustrates their belief that creativity, and the creator, were of divine origin since only God and the poet truly created something ‘new’. Techne was used, then, to describe all other forms of art. Painters, sculptors, and artists of the like could only imitate Gods creation, and thus were subject to the rules of nature.
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The Greeks concept of creativity revolved around the idea that one could not ‘create’, as divine beings could, rather, an artist could only ‘re-make’ or imitate the natural world. Plato, along with many other exceptional thinkers at the time, believed that the demiurge created the natural word as an imitation of eternal ideas; therefore, the arts were imitations of imitations and “far removed from the truth” (Weiner, 35). Still others believed that art was not intended to imitate nature, but to reveal its sacred qualities and purest forms underling reality. An important idea in ancient Greece at the time was that of a muse. “Each muse was thought to provide a guiding spirit or source of inspiration for the mortal creator… Given this conception, human creativity remained subordinate to divine creativity” (Simonton, 3). A muse could possess an artist and provide the ‘genius’ to which exceptional creativity was attributed. It was thought that each individual in Grecian society possessed a ‘daimon’ or guardian spirit who controlled the destiny and fate …show more content…
Although the Romans held architecture and engineering to a higher regard than the traditional forms of creativity, they did reproduce various forms of Grecian fine arts. Sculpture, portrait and landscape painting, cameos, jewelry, and bronze casting are just some examples of the Greek artistic techniques adopted by the Romans. Their real strengths, though, were within the fields of engineering and architecture—building roads, bridges, aqueducts, and massive structures. “These accomplishments were bound to modify, somewhat, conceptions of what counted as creative” (Weiner, 41). The vast creative undertakings of Romans did, in fact, alter perceptions of creativity. Genius, inspiration, and imagination began to be included in the perceptions of the artist, to an extent. Inspiration was still commonly believed to be of divine origin, but concepts like imagination and intellect, or ‘genius’, were ultimately associated with mans innate creative ability (Sternberg, 18). “Although in the beginning everybody could be said to “have a genius,” at least in the sense of possessing a unique capacity, the term eventually began to be confined to those whose gifts set them well apart from the average. The expression “creative genius” thus unites two concepts with Greek and Roman roots pertaining to how the spiritual world permeates human affairs. Outstanding creativity was the gift of the gods or spirits, not a human

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