Creativity and its dark side

Creativity is, as already said, a skill of the modern age, and so have scientists. A necessary skill for the challenges of modern times. There are also habits that develop and stimulate creativity, and they are in line with the spirit of modern times. Still, can everyone be creative and what is creativity? Is it the modern age that allowed everyone to be creative or just think they were? What is it that measures whether one is creative, and in modern times, can one measure who is creative and who is not, if there are "modern habits" to foster creativity? If everyone can already work to become creative, has not the modern measurement of creativity actually suppressed real creativity and cast out anything and everything under the epithet "creative"?


Some research has shown that there is also a so-called dark side of creativity. And this same research demonstrates that the dark side of creativity can surface in people who are not objectively creative, but simply think that they are. For example, people who view themselves as creative can develop a sense of entitlement - the belief that seems more deserving than others. They view their ideas as unique, novel, and important, and, as a result, think they are entitled to either act in a certain way, or be rewarded for their efforts. For example, they may view stealing as a justified means of claiming something that they feel they deserve.


Sometimes the dark side of creativity proves to be productive, though something unfairly appropriated as one's own idea is justified by the success of the money-making business.

It is this dark side of creativity – particularly the relationship between creativity and dishonesty – that has piqued the interest of researchers.


Francesca Gino, a professor at Harvard University, and Dan Ariely, a professor at Duke University, found that creative thinking allows individuals to justify their dishonesty, (e.g. “I am not stealing this; I am just borrowing it”). It’s a slippery slope: as soon as a person can justify a behaviour, he or she is more likely to engage in that behaviour.


So it may be said that the habits of modern times do not help us become creative, but that by thinking creatively we find a creative expression and justification for our non-creativity. Intricate, isn't it? Just like modern times and its habits.

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