Searching for meaning…

By Nihad Bassis

  Nihad Bassis, PhD Candidate at Polytechnique School of Montreal

Nihad Bassis, PhD Candidate at Polytechnique School of Montreal

How to define creativity?

We can find answers in several ways such as artworks, philosophical speeches, dictionaries, in moments of inspiration and many other situations and sources of information. 

Consulting Google the first definition I found was:

Disgruntled as a philosopher I decided to seek other sources of definition, something more formal… so I found this:

Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems… —Robert E. Franken.

I found it overly formal and restricted! What do you think?

In the search for a good concept I tried to find a visual concept ... something more intuitive, so I thought of this mindmap: 


After this visual experience I decided to consult the reputed dictionary Webster then I found the following concept:

The ability to make new things or think of new ideas. 

Webster also helped me revealing the following synonyms for the word creativity: cleverness, creativeness, imagination, imaginativeness, ingeniousness, ingenuity, innovativeness, invention, inventiveness and originality. 

From these lexical concepts, I decided to go to the ontological concepts to find the spring head of creativity... the world of ideas. Developed by the Riverhead Books, this video presents the most important concepts that are part of the ontological view of creativity. Look at…

Countless others sources of definition can be used. Personally, I prefer alternative sources such as musics, photos and poems. Reading a poem by William Blake I found my best definition:

Creativity is the ability to see a World in a Grain of Sand and a Heaven in a Wild Flower, hold Infinity in the palm of your hand, and Eternity in an hour.

Finally, only with the practical experience some things are comprehended… I believe that the experience is a place where words fall silent and the inspiration comes!