Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi talks about creativity

In a TEDTalk (Oct 24th 2008), Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi talks about creativity, fulfillment and his concept of flow (being completely involved in an activity for its own sake) and this perhaps provides a good introduction to further ideas and thoughts about how individuals can become successful in terms of creativity. This video is also available through YouTube.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his book entitled "Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention" writes:

.....creativity results from the interaction of a system composed of three elements: a culture that contains symbolic rules, a person who brings novelty into the symbolic domain, and a field of experts who recognize and validate the innovation. (page 6)

Therefore, to understand creativity it is not enough to study the individuals who seem most responsible for a novel idea or a new thing. Their contribution, while necessary and important, is only a link in a chain, a phrase in a process. To say that Thomas Edison invented electricity or that Albert Einstein discovered relativity is a convenient simplification. It satisfies our ancient predilection for stories that are easy to comprehend and involve superhuman heroes. But Edison's or Einstein's discoveries would be inconceivable without the prior knowledge, without the intellectual and social network that stimulated their thinking and without the social mechanisms that recognized and spread their innovations. To say that the theory of relativity was created by Einstein is like saying that the theory of relativity was created by Einstein is like saying that it is the spark that is responsible for the fire. The spark is necessary, but without air and tinder there would be no flame. (page 7)

Creativity, at least as I deal with it in this book, is a process by which a symbolic domain in the culture is changed. New songs, new ideas, new machines are what creativity is about. (page 8)