Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which com-prehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend. “I am that which is. I am all that was, that is, and that shall be.”
Ludwig van Beethoven
Books, tapes, and workshops abound on the theme of creativity. Most, however, ask the question “how to be creative?” and try to provide an answer for it, without realizing that they are asking the wrong question and therefore no answer they supply can ever produce the result they intend to produce, that is, creativity or geniushood. For in-stance, if you want to become a concert pianist, you will need to learn how to play the piano. The art of playing the piano can be reduced to many incremental steps, the learning and mastering of which can make you a competent concert pianist. Yet, you will not become a Wilhelm Kempff or a Vladimir Ashkenazy by just knowing how to play the piano or even by just mastering the skills of playing the piano.
The knowledge and the skills are necessary, but are never sufficient to make you a genius pianist. This is the reason why there are hundreds of competent pianists, but geniuses at the level of Kempff, Ashkenazy, or Horowitz are extremely rare. The same can be said other field of creative pursuit from the arts and literature to science, mathematics, philosophy, and business.
Creativity cannot be reduced to some “how to” steps. All “how to” steps come from the past, useful and necessary for learning in the manner of memorizing and repeating that which has been already tried and established, such as the basic procedures for how to play the piano or how to operate an airplane. Creativity, on the other hand, cannot be developed by the method of memorizing and repeating the past. Creativity by defini-tion is the ability to bring forth that which is original or has never been seen before. Thus, the process of developing creativity is diametrically opposite to that of learning by memorizing and repeating.
Furthermore, the very nature of creativity is such that it is entirely irreducible to any kinds of “how to” steps, for it is an expression of the dy-namic wholeness that is the excitatory intelligence that permeates the universe as its organizing principle — as its creativity-as-such. It is a wholeness, which is irreducible to parts, not a totality, which is reducible to parts. Thus, the whole secret of creativity and geniushood defies any of the reductionistic or rationalistic approaches which are prevalent in academic discourse, especially in the humanities, where reductionism is in fact least appropriate.
SOURCE & FURTHER READING: