Modes of Creativity: Philosophical Perspectives

Read-skimmed this one, finding it very hard to concentrate on the elaborate sentence structures that Singer built around his point (which I’m still not sure I get). A bit disappointed, since the last Singer book I read was dog-eared, underlined, devoured in tentative bites that exploded in my head. Suffice it to say, he explores the idea of creativity. On the personal side, this was the first book I checked out since joining the Mechanics’ Institute Library, which reminded me of what libraries should be like. I interacted with the librarian, chatting about the book while he hand-stamped the due date. Because of this, I know that two other people have checked the book out since it was acquired in August. No self-checkout here!

Creativity results from collecting items in one’s own experience and then transforming them in a practical manner that is personal to oneself. p27

Breathing in a substance that comes from without, which is what terms like inspiration or being inspired mean literally, is different from what happens in the doing of creative work. That depends instead upon a kind of breathing out, an expiration that bestows upon the environment something new and welcome and usually less ephemeral than the air one exhales. p106

The aesthetic activity ends not because of any predetermined ultimacy that has been miraculously attained but rather because the artist becomes sated, and possibly exhausted, with this particular project, and senses that further alteration may ruin what she has done. She may also feel motivated, for whatever reason, to put her energies into something else that now clamors for attention. Various artists work from a preliminary plan, but in working from a plan, an outline or sketch, the artist is always revising it moment by moment. Consecutive revision of this kind can properly be seen as a form of intelligence. p124

Insights about the nature of things or a relish for the beauties of well-wrought forms can be sufficient for a great many talented people. But a poet or novelist who scans the world from a philosophical or politically engaged perspective does not thereby relinquish the right to be considered a creative artist. p130