Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences

The roots of human creativity: Fire-talks and “hammocking” in the runaway species

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Humans are neophile, curious, and explorative animals with impressive capabilities for creative problem-solving. I discuss some of the ultimate roots behind human creativity while reviewing two books on creativity and problem-solving. To E. O. Wilson, the driving force behind creativity is our instinctive love of novelty, and creativity’s ultimate goal is “self-understanding.” I elaborate on and question this assumption. The theories of inclusive fitness and group selection are discussed, with Wilson in favor of the latter. Finally, the theory of gene–culture coevolution is introduced as fundamental to the unity of science and the humanities and to closing the gap between these two cultures. Eagleman and Brandt’s volume is more of an entertaining history of design and human inventiveness than a study in creativity as such. We hear about the three main operations of creative process: bending, blending, and breaking, and these operations are the primary means by which all ideas evolve, according to the authors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEvolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture
Pages (from-to)99-104
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Reviewed works:
Eagleman, David, and Anthony Brandt. 2017. The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World. New York: Catapult. 296 pages.
Wilson, Edward O. 2017. The Origins of Creativity. London: Allen Lane. 256 pages

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