Artists have a vested interest in our believing in the flash of revelation, the so-called inspiration… shining down from heavens as a ray of grace. In reality, the imagination of the good artist or thinker produces continuously good, mediocre or bad things, but his judgment, trained and sharpened to a fine point, rejects, selects, connects… All great artists and thinkers are great workers, indefatigable not only in inventing, but also in rejecting, sifting, transforming, ordering. The origin , pursuit , and secret of creativity are a central fixation of the Idea Age. The sheer secrecy of creativity — the difficulty in understanding how it happens, even when it happens to us — means that we often associate breakthroughs with an external force.
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Imagine that you are reading a seriously flawed book. Its flaws have grown into a scandal , so you decide to read it to find out about all the hubbub. As you read, you come across this much-publicized problem , and then that one. Rather than abandon it in its disgrace, you find yourself engaged and turning the pages, and suddenly your hand grabs for the highlighter to mark up this excellent paragraph about the origins of creativity, and then that one. But you find two copies at a local bookstore, and you begin reading it, and liking it more and more.
Imagine that. Imagine that the reader is me. Lehrer has gotten himself in trouble for at least four alleged — and in some cases proven — literary transgressions: fabrication, plagiarism of others, self-plagiarism recycling older work , and playing fast and loose with the evidence.
He also lied to hide the fact that he had manufactured a quote attributed to Bob Dylan. Together, the accumulated evidence looks damning. But not all the sins, I am about to argue, are equally grievous. Publishers have the right to expect original work. If you build your work around the revelation of surprising theories, you need the ability to both show and tell, and there will be an urge — since this is literature and not pure science — to sit on top of the suitcase until it closes.
You would think that these issues, added together, would disqualify the book from my serious attention. Imagine my surprise when they did not.
How do these holy rituals work? The Latin phrase — this is from memory, I have been unable to confirm it — is ex opere operato. In plain English, if the minister pours water on the head of the infant and speaks the right words, that child is baptized. And here is the genius: That child is baptized without regard to the moral condition of the minister thank goodness!
The minister may be a racist, a rapist, or a bank robber. I learned this lesson in a strange place: a limo carrying a small group to a special broadcast of the Oprah Winfrey Show.
I never found the degradation of the narrator compelling or revelatory. Correct its mistakes. Add an apology. Make it all transparent. Make it available to another , Jonah Lehrer can do what he wants with the money. It makes no difference to me that an author is rewarded for bad behavior. September 14, Roy Peter Clark. Jonah Lehrer Writing Writing Tools. Category: Uncategorized. I know it worked for me in several ways: It confirmed for me that some of the methods I use as a writer and teacher — such as brainstorming or revision — have validity, based on scientific knowledge of how the brain works.
It helped me see more clearly the parts of creativity that are highly individualistic and those that are social, thus benefiting from collaboration.
It took a cross-disciplinary approach, drawing examples and anecdotes from many different fields, from writing to design to marketing to invention. The author is good at clear explanation of technical subjects, a wonderful virtue for a writer. Comments are closed. Featured Jobs.
Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer – review
Indeed, much of the book is dedicated to applying new neuroscientific discoveries about creativity to practical realms like business and urban design. I recently caught up with Lehrer in San Francisco. The second part of that is crucial. You see this in these sad surveys of school kids. This reflects what educators refer to as the fourth grade slump. And we can all get better at it.
Imagine: How Creativity Works
Imagine that you are reading a seriously flawed book. Its flaws have grown into a scandal , so you decide to read it to find out about all the hubbub. As you read, you come across this much-publicized problem , and then that one. Rather than abandon it in its disgrace, you find yourself engaged and turning the pages, and suddenly your hand grabs for the highlighter to mark up this excellent paragraph about the origins of creativity, and then that one.
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It explores brain science , and creativity and its social aspects. In July , Lehrer acknowledged that he fabricated some quotes attributed to Bob Dylan. In an article on August 10, Steve Myers alleged that quotes from magician Teller , of the performance duo Penn and Teller , were fake, after a fan saw a discrepancy in previous quotes from Teller from an article in in Wired magazine , also by Lehrer. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Imagine: How Creativity Works Hardcover edition. The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 7 April