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书摘:创造力与矛盾人格

 
Creativity
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
 
有创造力的人没有单一的风格,惟一共通的地方就是复杂性:同时拥有相互矛盾的特点并在两者之间自如转换。Csikszentmihalyi列了十对这样的矛盾:既精力充沛又易受伤害,即外向又内向,既自信又谦卑,既聪明又天真,既有想象力又务实,既嬉戏又有纪律,既有激情又有超脱的客观,既革命又传统,以及,拥有跨性别的气质。所有人都有内在矛盾,但一般人在矛盾中感到不适,有创造力的人则将其变成了创造力的来源。
 
 
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The point is that you cannot assume the mantle of creativity just by assuming a certain personality style. One can be creative by living like a monk, or by burning the candle at both ends. Michelangelo was not greatly fond of women, while Picasso couldn’t get enough of them. Both changed the domain of painting, even though their personalities had little in common. Are there then no traits that distinguish creative people? If I had to express in one word what makes their personalities different from others, it would be complexity. By this I mean that they show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes—instead of being an “individual,” each of them is a “multitude.” Like the color white that includes all the hues in the spectrum, they tend to bring together the entire range of human possibilities within themselves.
 
 
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These qualities are present in all of us, but usually we are trained to develop only one pole of the dialectic. We might grow up cultivating the aggressive, competitive side of our nature, and disdain or repress the nurturant, cooperative side. A creative individual is more likely to be both aggressive and cooperative, either at the same time or at different times, depending on the situation. Having a complex personality means being able to express the full range of traits that are potentially present in the human repertoire but usually atrophy because we think that one or the other pole is “good,” whereas the other extreme is “bad.”
 
 
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creative persons definitely know both extremes and experience both with equal intensity and without inner conflict.
 
 
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It might be easier to illustrate this conclusion in terms of ten pairs of apparently antithetical traits that are often both present in such individuals and integrated with each other in a dialectical tension.
 
 
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1. Creative individuals have a great deal of physical energy, but they are also often quiet and at rest. They work long hours, with great concentration, while projecting an aura of freshness and enthusiasm.
 
 
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This does not mean that creative persons are hyperactive, always “on,” constantly churning away. In fact, they often take rests and sleep a lot. The important thing is that the energy is under their own control—it is not controlled by the calendar, the clock, an external schedule. When necessary they can focus it like a laser beam; when it is not, they immediately start recharging their batteries.
 
 
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2. Creative individuals tend to be smart, yet also naive at the same time.
 
 
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Later studies suggest that the cutoff point is around 120; it might be difficult to do creative work with a lower IQ, but beyond 120 an increment in IQ does not necessarily imply higher creativity.
 
 
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3. A third paradoxical trait refers to the related combination of playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility.
 
 
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4. Creative individuals alternate between imagination and fantasy at one end, and a rooted sense of reality at the other. Both are needed to break away from the present without losing touch with the past.
 
 
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5. Creative people seem to harbor opposite tendencies on the continuum between extroversion and introversion.
 
 
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6. Creative individuals are also remarkably humble and proud at the same time.
 
 
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7. In all cultures, men are brought up to be “masculine” and to disregard and repress those aspects of their temperament that the culture regards as “feminine,” whereas women are expected to do the opposite. Creative individuals to a certain extent escape this rigid gender role stereotyping. When tests of masculinity/femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers.
 
 
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8. Generally, creative people are thought to be rebellious and independent. Yet it is impossible to be creative without having first internalized a domain of culture. And a person must believe in the importance of such a domain in order to learn its rules; hence, he or she must be to a certain extent a traditionalist. So it is difficult to see how a person can be creative without being both traditional and conservative and at the same time rebellious and iconoclastic.
 
 
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9. Most creative persons are very passionate about their work, yet they can be extremely objective about it as well. The energy generated by this conflict between attachment and detachment has been mentioned by many as being an important part of their work.
 
 
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10. Finally, the openness and sensitivity of creative individuals often exposes them to suffering and pain yet also a great deal of enjoyment. The suffering is easy to understand. The greater sensitivity can cause slights and anxieties that are not usually felt by the rest of us. Most would agree with Rabinow’s words: “Inventors have a low threshold of pain. Things bother them.” A badly designed machine causes pain to an inventive engineer, just as the creative writer is hurt when reading bad prose. Being alone at the forefront of a discipline also makes you exposed and vulnerable.
 
 
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