About creation and creativity

"Until the sixteenth century, creation (from the same Latin root as ‘create’) was used solely in the context of divine creation, the beginning of the world. The view that ‘creatura non potest creare’ (the creature who has been created, cannot himself create), was integral to the medieval religious belief system. Indeed the use of ‘creation’ to denote present or future human-making was not to emerge in English until the major transformation of thought that accompanied the birth of humanism during the Renaissance.

Long after that period the word continued to be used to invoke a godlike creator. Even the first recorded use of ‘creative’ seems to have been in this older sense – ‘this Divine, miraculous, creative power’ (Cudworth, 1678). By the time Haydn came to compose The Creation, the association of the word creative with human art and thought was becoming conscious and much more acceptable. It remained so throughout the nineteenth century. In 1815, for example, the poet Wordsworth wrote to a friend, ‘High is our calling, friend, Creative Art’. Only during the second half of the twentieth century was ‘creative’ used with increasing frequency across a wide variety of domains. This constant use, notes Raymond Williams in Keywords, significantly diluted the impact and power of the word; nevertheless, he argues, such changes of connotation are inevitable when ‘we realise the necessary magnitude and complexity of the interpretation of human activity which “creative” now so indispensably embodies’ (Williams, 1984, p.84)."

http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/file.php/3623/ict5_04t_3.pdf (28/08/08)


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