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Everyday Creativity and New Views of Human Nature: Psychological, Social and Spiritual Perspectives Hardcover – January 1, 2007
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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From the Publisher
What is everyday creativity? This book offers a great synthesis of the literature and a wealth of ideas and perspectives about everyday creativity from the leaders in the field. It is scholarly, interesting, and practical--an excellent combination. Ruth Richards continues to develop this important concept and tells us the practical benefits of everyday creativity.
--Sandra W. Russ, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH; author of Affect and Creativity: The Role of Affect and Play in the Creative Process; editor of Affect, Creative Experience, and Psychological Adjustment
This work is a tremendous leap forward in our understanding of human nature. It demonstrates that everyone is capable of discovering creativity in the immediate moment. Our senses come alive, our emotions are stirred, an inward door opens, and our consciousness is expanded. Everyday behaviors and cognitions are transformed into flashes of intuitive insight that feed the growth-oriented dimension of personality. With this volume, we cross the threshold into a new psychology.
--Eugene Taylor, PhD, Saybrook Graduate School, San Francisco, CA; Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; author of William James on Exceptional Mental States
Everyday Creativity and New Views of Human Nature presents us with a stunning array of models of everyday creativity. It demystifies and illuminates. Both academic and accessible, this volume offers students and teachers of philosophy, psychology, education, and social policy provocative and useful insights into the underrecognized power of creative energy in our daily lives. Furthermore, it takes us beyond the realm of personal change to the possibility of social transformation. It inspires us to reach, with creative courage, for openness to experience, flexibility, collaboration, and movement to new realms of human potential by simply supporting the creative energy in each of us.
--Judith V. Jordan, PhD, Director, Jean Baker Miller Training Institute, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA; Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; editor of The Complexity of Connection; author of Women's Growth in Connection
Everyday Creativity and New Views of Human Nature offers a treasure trove of new perspectives on the nature and functions of one of the least understood and most important human attributes.
--Arnold M. Ludwig, MD, author of The Price of Greatness: Resolving the Creativity and Madness Controversy and King of the Mountain: The Nature of Political Leadership
Reading this book is like attending an enthralling exhibition: Contributing eminent artists grapple with the most important themes of our time. Their collection sparkles with urgency and intensity. Ruth Richards brings a subversive understanding that the secret of change lies in the apparent ordinariness of our own lives. The ingredients for transformation are here for everyone who wants humanity to evolve creatively and positively. It's a treasure.
--Jonathan Milne, founder and Managing Director, The Learning Connexion, Wellington, New Zealand, a university-level program offering Diploma of Art and Creativity, nominated for the Wellington Creative Gold Award; author of GO! The Art of Change
Ruth Richards, one of the world's leaders in the study of creativity, has assembled an enormously valuable compendium of leading-edge research on the nature of creativity and its relationship to learning, spirituality, art, social justice, and the search for meaning. The amazing insights brought forth by this broad array of distinguished writers and thinkers lead us to the inescapable conclusion that the study of creativity is the "high ground" for a new and deeper understanding of the cognitive process. This is an essential resource for anyone interested in new ways of thinking about how we transform ourselves and the world.
--Michael Grady, MFA, Chair, Department of Arts and Consciousness, John F. Kennedy University, Berkeley, CA
This collection assembled by Dr. Ruth Richards represents a remarkable range of ideas, characterized by sound scholarship, beautifully written prose, and surprise. The book, itself, embodies the essence of creativity in its presentation, and its breadth and thoroughness destine it to become a multidisciplinary classic.
--Jeanne Achterberg, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Saybrook Graduate School, San Francisco, CA; Senior Editor of the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Therapy; author of Imagery in Healing: Shamanism and Modern Medicine and Woman as Healer
In this book, Ruth Richards has synthesized an important dialogue that invites a broad readership. By viewing everyday creativity in a multifaceted mirror, we are invited to more clearly see the complexity of who we are; how we image ourselves; what we may become; and how to open ourselves to life, spirit, and transformation. This book speaks to anyone who is interested in the human capacity for transformation. The core creativity it addresses applies to spiritual experience as well as to survival and adaptation. It is excellent to see a book tackle everyday creativity at this level.
--Nik Warren, PhD, President of AHIMSA (nonviolence in Sanskrit), an interfaith organization dedicated to encouraging dialogues and public forums that bridge spirituality, science, and society; editor of Dimensions of Unity: Dialogues of Spirituality, Science, and Society
Too often the term creativity is narrowly used to describe the individual gifted in the arts, the scientist who develops a new theory, or the inventor of cutting-edge technology. Everyday Creativity and New Views of Human Nature illustrates the point that creativity is inherent in every person and is, in reality, an organic part of life itself. It drives home the message that the life well lived is a creative one--and the creativity inherent in life itself transforms the person in return. Creativity heals lives individually and has the potential to transform society as a whole.
--Marie A. DiCowden, PhD, founder and CEO, The Biscayne Institutes of Health & Living, Miami, FL; author/editor of Humanizing Health Care and The Colors of Prayer by Heart
This book offers a fresh approach to the significance of creativity in the lives of all of us at every age and stage of our development. Although the product of everyday creativity is a goal, readers will see that the process of being creative can have transforming psychological benefits. This volume includes the best contributing authors in the field and great editing by Ruth Richards.
--Delmont Morrison, PhD, University of California, San Francisco, and Shirley Linden Morrison, MA, Notre Dame de Namur University, Belmont, CA; coauthors of Memories of Loss and Dreams of Perfection
This impressive book brings together a variety of fascinating essays on both personal and social aspects of creativity. The essays are authored by distinguished scholars and draw on academic research yet are written in such a clear and engaging manner that they are accessible to a wide audience. The book will be of great interest not only to scholars and students but also to anyone who wants to learn more about creativity from some of the world's experts on the subject.
--Dennis Kinney, PhD, Research Psychologist, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA; Associate Professor in Psychology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
This fascinating volume presents important and unusual perspectives on creativity. Drawing extensively on systems perspectives, the authors provide us with a broader and richer approach to the phenomenon of creativity in all its permutations and manifestations.
--Alfonso Montuori, PhD, Professor, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA; coeditor of Social Creativity and Creators on Creating; coauthor of From Power to Partnership: Creating the Future of Love, Work, and Community
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I agree. I felt just as creative when I was improvising a tool to pull up wall-to-wall carpets during remodeling as I did when I was writing a poem. The most unexpected situations call for creativity. A costumer for the San Francisco Opera was explaining what his work is like. He described the occasional crisis in his business - a cleaning fluid ruins the tenor's waistcoat the day before opening, the soprano is ill today and the understudy is three sizes smaller -- and how they solve the problem on the spot.
This is not just a frivolous viewpoint held by liberal-arts types. A survey by IBM of 1500 CEOs in May, 2010, found that of all the qualities they look for in a prospective employee, the highest-ranked was creativity. I was reminded of the Apollo 13 explosion and the creativity of the engineers on the ground who had to design an entire new set of survival mechanisms to rescue lost astronauts - instantly! So developing and cultivating your own creativity can be rewarding in many ways.
This book is for people who are seriously interested in knowing what researchers have discovered about human creativity - what it is, what supports it, its role in our evolution, and how creativity can help us solve our most pressing problems. Thirteen essays by experts in creativity give solid scholarly information about the field. The last essay integrates the book and suggests specific benefits of setting aside the notion that "I'm not creative" and welcoming creativity into your life.
Richards, a national expert in the field of creativity, brilliantly collects and then weaves the work of colleagues from many disciplines into a tapestry of understanding. We see creativity from views as diverse as chaos theory and audience flow to spiritual balance and large scale learning patterns. Then, demonstrating what she is telling us, Richards uses her own creativity to summarize this diversity in her chapter "Twelve Potential Benefits of Living More Creatively". With the clarity and richness of her summary we are handed a powerful tool with which we can honor and grow our own creativity.
This book should be a must read for anyone interested in understanding our most essential human nature.
Which brings me to another strength of the book: It is accessible to a non-psychologist like myself. It has a minimum of jargon, a fine bibliography, and lucid style.
Ilene A. Serlin, psychologist, author of Whole Person Healthcare (2007, Praeger). Whole Person Healthcare [Three Volumes]