[Mark Safranski a.k.a. “zen“]
Creativity is a subject that has interested me, going back to the days long, long ago when I was an art student. Creativity is only mildly correlated with IQ, but like “intelligence”, the deeper you delve into the study of creativity and creative thinking the more “creativity” looks like a multifaceted, multidimensional and diverse set of capacities, habits and circumstances than it does a single, universal, characteristic or ability.
Creativity has been studied from a neuroscientific, psychological, evolutionary, behavioral, economic and social perspective but what of creativity”s opposite? What about Ennui?
From a cognitive perspective, the two may be flip sides of the same coin, note the correlation between highly creative people and incidence of depression. It may also be a sign of overuse of certain brain functions, like adrenal exhaustion from an excess of physical and mental stress over a long period of time. Creativity, being in “the flow” is intoxicating but it usually involves peak exertion which accumulates weariness. Exemplary performance in one area can also come at the expense of penalties in another area.
Or perhaps ennui is the natural, cyclical ebb and flow between generative conceptual fertility and barrenness, the brain preparing itself for the next creative “surge” to come?
When are you creative and when are you not?