I just read this article in Newsweek the other day about the so called "Creativity Crisis" in America and think it's a real must read for a lot of reasons.
The article talks about how since the 1950's psychologists have been giving people a standard test to measure creativity. And this isn't only artistic creativity we're talking about here. Rather, they define creativity as the ability to come up with many unique solutions to a problem (divergent thinking) married with the ability to examine and judge those solutions to determine which one is the most useful (convergent thinking). Beyond writing and the arts you can see how this definition could apply to engineering, or business, or the sciences, or the military, to pretty much anything really. It's about creative problem solving in the widest possible sense.
Now here's the interesting, and troubling, thing.
From 1958 to 1990 the average American CQ (creativity quotient) score rose steadily. After 1990 though the score began to fall each year. And it's falling still. Not only that, but the group that's seeing the biggest drop in creative problem solving are kids from kindergarten through the 6th grade.
No one knows exactly why this is. People blame TV and movies. They blame the internet. They blame schools that focus on rote memorization and standardized testing. Whatever the case, you can see some ugly places this could be heading. I'm no scientist or anything but it seems to me that one of the reasons humans got to where they are is this capacity for creative problem solving. Would we have harnessed fire without it? Started agriculture? What about the car and airplanes and the internet and modern medicine? Would any of it have come to be without creativity?
I mean, geez, talk about a dystopia. What happens to a society that forgets how to be creative? (Wow. Does that sounds like the tagline to the mot boring teen novel ever, or what?)
So take a look at the article and let me know what you guys think of all this. Is there a creativity crisis in America and if so why is it happening and what do you think we can do about it?
Also what do you think of their definition of creativity as it relates to writing? Does it seem right to you? Is it useful?