Creativity, Light, and metaphor

What is creativity? 

Well, I’m not going to answer that. Not with words or any sort of definition, anyway. In a panel discussion this summer with Saeed Arida and Edith Ackermann at the MIT Media Lab, George Stiney pointed out that the very act of pinning creativity down in words limits our understanding of it:

Every time we latch on to a taxonomy, we limit ourselves… As soon as we substitute a word for a thing, we miss a chance for seeing.

– George Stiney at the MIT Media Lab

And it’s not just with creativity, Stiney’s line of thinking was suggesting, but with words in general. Stiney’s work in the realm of understanding creativity has its own language of geometry and shapes to communicate its ideas. He joyfully pushed the conversation into fascinating places and he enjoyed the “dramatically anti-nominalist wave” that the conversation was riding. And as someone who is prone to fixating on words and their definitions sometimes, I enjoyed it too.  Continue reading