Can evolutionary biology explain the human impulse to create?

#1
The Origins of Creativity review – stick to the ants, professor
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017...ightenment

EXCERPT: Entomologist EO Wilson’s meandering attempt to forge a new philosophy from arts and science is irritating rather than enlightening.

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Can evolutionary biology explain the human impulse to create?
https://theamericanscholar.org/why-we-ne...iW-V0qnE2x

EXCERPT: [...] We don’t know why our aesthetics are tuned this way, but Edward O. Wilson suggests that the “optimum complexity principle” reflects a kind of compromise between the brain’s greed and its limitations. We crave sensory input, but we can process only so much of it at any given moment. Hence, a novel image that can be grasped whole, with a single glance, feels oddly satisfying, a prize for sore eyes. The same reasoning may explain why the number seven is often considered lucky. A grouping of seven objects looks big enough to be worth our while but manageable enough to be quantified at first sight.

The optimum complexity principle is just one of many examples that Wilson rallies in The Origins of Creativity, his latest plea for the grand unification of the sciences and the humanities. The two camps are often viewed as enemy combatants, or at least paisley and plaid—best kept apart—but Wilson is deeply impatient with academic partitioning. Artists, he argues, should have a grasp of basic neuroscience and how the brain evolved. Scientists must appreciate the humanities for infusing human life with meaning. Only by joining cognitive forces, Wilson argues, can we hope to tackle the evergreen mysteries of existence and dodge the traps of our own making. Why are we so smart and so stupid, so violent and so generous, so besotted with nature yet seemingly intent on destroying it?

MORE: https://theamericanscholar.org/why-we-ne...iW-V0qnE2x

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E.O. Wilson’s New Book, “The Origins of Creativity,” Examines the Relationship Between the Humanities and the Sciences
https://eowilsonfoundation.org/e-o-wilso...-sciences/

EXCERPT: An eloquent exploration of creativity, *The Origins of Creativity* grapples with the question of how this uniquely human expression—so central to our identity as individuals and, collectively, as a species—came about and how it has manifested itself throughout the history of our species. In this profound and lyrical book, one of our most celebrated biologists offers a sweeping examination of the relationship between the humanities and the sciences: what they offer to each other, how they can be united, and where they still fall short. Both endeavours, Edward O. Wilson reveals, have their roots in human creativity—the defining trait of our species...

MORE: https://eowilsonfoundation.org/e-o-wilso...-sciences/
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#3
(Dec 8, 2017 04:34 AM)Secular Sanity Wrote: I get a little high from finding out something new.  Even when I'm just hiking and discover a cool new spot. How about you, C C?  


After an office computer had its drivers mangled a couple of days ago by a program gone rogue, I got a buzz when I discovered that the Run dialog box was the one item left that could be opened by a keyboard command. Received an even bigger high when entering rstrui brought up System Restore, and there was a point from the week before available to go back to. Was yet more astonished / elevated when I found that Restore could actually still work enough to do its job.

I'm certainly no Teela Brown, but there's intoxicating relief in what streaks of narrow-escape, quick resolving, "whew" luck I do encounter. Wink

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#4
(Dec 8, 2017 05:25 PM)C C Wrote: I'm certainly no Teela Brown, but there's intoxicating relief in what streaks of narrow-escape, quick resolving, "whew" luck I do encounter. Wink

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Yeah, but those moments make me feel a little uneasy, undeserving, perhaps.  It's a good attitude to have, that’s for sure, but if I’m honest with myself, on an average, I’m neither lucky nor unlucky.  I work hard, ask questions, and solve my problems to the best of my ability.  


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNBXaHT2ebE

I’m talking more about the reward that you get just from learning something new.  It can be addictive, don't you think? I think that curiosity is the key to creativity.  I think that the creative process is a functional output—a narrative of the information we sought, and a way to share it.
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#5
Evolutionary psychology definitely favors creative solutions, as a behavioral adaptation to survival problems. But can it explain why humans have this potential while other creatures do not? Or is creativity just something that lends an evolutionary advantage, but isn't derived biologically? I'd tend toward the latter, as there seems no evidence of creative precursors in other species.
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#6
(Dec 8, 2017 09:38 PM)Syne Wrote: Evolutionary psychology definitely favors creative solutions, as a behavioral adaptation to survival problems. But can it explain why humans have this potential while other creatures do not? Or is creativity just something that lends an evolutionary advantage, but isn't derived biologically? I'd tend toward the latter, as there seems no evidence of creative precursors in other species.

Other creatures do have the potential, but "our species’ remarkable achievements are first and foremost down to the fact that we pool our knowledge and build upon it. The absence of complex culture in other animals isn’t down to a lack of creativity. Rather it’s their inability to transmit cultural knowledge with sufficient accuracy. That’s why no monkey ever composed a sonata."
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#7
(Dec 8, 2017 08:16 PM)Secular Sanity Wrote:
(Dec 8, 2017 05:25 PM)C C Wrote: I'm certainly no Teela Brown, but there's intoxicating relief in what streaks of narrow-escape, quick resolving, "whew" luck I do encounter. Wink

Yeah, but those moments make me feel a little uneasy, undeserving, perhaps.  It's a good attitude to have, that’s for sure, but if I’m honest with myself, on an average, I’m neither lucky nor unlucky.  I work hard, ask questions, and solve my problems to the best of my ability.  

I’m talking more about the reward that you get just from learning something new.  It can be addictive, don't you think? I think that curiosity is the key to creativity.  I think that the creative process is a functional output—a narrative of the information we sought, and a way to share it.


A "reward" feeling is there. But it seems splintered in me (at this stage of life, anyway).

Curiosity wise, perhaps I'm less enthused about "new" objects / events and invented skills of the sensed level of the world. Since whatever "unknown" novelties remain will usually still fall under existing and expected classes of things. At the very bottom (or top?) of the hierarchy there are universal attributes like any _X_ having a spatial shape / configuration that's either static or changing, and it being just another cog in an environment of mechanistic relationships / interactions.

OTOH, discoveries of varying kinds can have value in terms of everyday survival, obstacle-removal, goals, success, status, holding a group together, power or getting an edge on the competition. And there's indeed a "physiological rush" from those, too. But I don't count their significance as purely stimulating the intellect (that type of excitement). More along the line of satisfying plain old-fashioned animal needs, motivations / urges, egoism (not just narrow self but an extended self notion of family and tribe).

The idea of "natural" itself may be a grand, limiting concept that eradicated whole legions of possibilities in play before its dominance. Commonsense-wise I thus don't expect to encounter anything outside that box's scope and predictions. But in terms of boredom -- of being doomed to nothing more than "new" specific items that are continually subsumed in familiar, broad categories and their sub-classifications -- I've got to occasionally get outside that suffocating tyranny. Wander in speculative recreation or kick off the constraints and devise new conceptual frontiers (even if they have to remain abstract or minus correspondence to sensations).

Of course, that may suggest a wandering managed by reason. But reason by its very nature is just rummaging around in known categories, concepts, and principles (or just carrying out what tumbles out of the latter or what qualifies for the former). Analysis can clarify a mistake or confusion, and there may be discovery of some _X_ from just a personal or private standpoint -- but what is found or has had the mud cleaned off (clarified) was already there in the "box" (rediscovered) or what a set of rules / instructions formulaically outputs (is anticipated).

Switching back to everyday affairs, I guess that's why curiosity-wise I would at least prize contingent novelties which (at first anyway) seem to be less adhering to overarching guidelines or regulation (but usually that's a short-term illusion). IOW, what reason and working in a restriction can't deliver in and of themselves while sitting in an armchair, on paper, or via running a simulation.

People increase their odds of encountering those "accidental" or "lucky" discoveries / insights (whether good or bad) by deliberately expanding their range and venturing into less familiar areas and chaotic zones. Which includes contact with people with exotic interests or thought orientations, and even getting into trouble or risk-taking. A disciplinary ethic is still applicable in terms of recognizing the value of what one has stumbled / chanced upon.

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#8
Are the arts just higher-order problem-solving?
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#9
Illumination is rewarding for me.  Ah-ha moments...I love them.  

(Dec 8, 2017 11:29 PM)C C Wrote: People increase their odds of encountering those "accidental" or "lucky" discoveries / insights (whether good or bad) by deliberately expanding their range and venturing into less familiar areas and chaotic zones. Which includes contact with people with exotic interests or thought orientations, and even getting into trouble or risk-taking. A disciplinary ethic is still applicable in terms of recognizing the value of what one has stumbled / chanced upon.      

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That is so true.  I have tons of stories of very eccentric people that I've encountered during some of my outings.  Some have been a little creepy, but for the most part, you always come away with something different, something totally unexpected.  You just have to ask the right questions.

(Dec 8, 2017 11:34 PM)Syne Wrote: Are the arts just higher-order problem-solving?

Maybe.  

Communication, emotional expression, and skill. 

Hmm...maybe that's what we are...art.
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#10
No particular secret that I work in a model shop. We sell all the stuff you need to make planes, boats and suchlike. Not surprisingly most of our customers are old/retired (over 60). Slight surprise that virtually all are male. I can answer for why males over 60 build models (I am and I do) but not why females don't. Any suggestions?
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