My Definition - Julia Cristofano
My opinions on creativity are largely based on artistic genius because that is the area with which I am most familiar. I have struggled with the idea of scientific genius because I think of creativity as something produced by someone's hands, like a painting or a piece of written work, not a discovery of, for example, a new cellular process. In the beginning, I believed that scientific genius was more coincidence then a deliberate act of creativity. However, as I read more, I became more open to different types of creative genius in a variety of fields. I have come to believe that creative genius can be divided into two distinct categories: artistic genius and scientific genius. This is not to say that these are the only types of creative genius but the majority of geniuses can either be grouped as artistic geniuses (i.g. painters, writers, actors, etc.) or more analytical scientific geniuses (e.g. researchers, psychologists, doctors, etc.). The conception of creative genius in both of these areas comes about in relatively the same way, but the motivations behind these creative inventions and the recognition of the resulting product or discovery come about in very different ways. Because of this it is very difficult to encompass them all under one overarching definition.
Despite these differences, the process in which an artistic or scientific act of creative genius occurs is very similar. Both scientists and artists experienced similar moments of clear and seemingly unmitigated creative thought, what one might call a “stroke of genius”. They describe how an image just comes to them and it is this sudden thought that leads them to the breakthrough they have been looking to achieve.
Additionally, people can be highly intelligent in many areas and not be very creative because creative genius comes in fleeting bursts. A creative person is not a genius or necessarily “creative” in every aspect of their lives. Even in their given field, they may only be very well versed in one highly specialized area. However, it is in this small and specific area of interest and intelligence that a person can be considered a genius if he or she comes up with a theory or solution that is profoundly unique and original.
Moments of genius, the foundation for creative discovery, are what tie together the fields of art and science from the standpoint of creativity. Individuals in these fields who are considered geniuses may not necessarily be more creative then their peers, but perhaps they are more in tune with themselves and better able to recognize particularly abstract and seemingly random ideas as potential breakthroughs in there field. The true definition of genius, in this sense, is the act of understanding ones own thoughts and being curious enough to question the surrounding world. Being labeled a creative genius does not denote extreme intelligence rather, it implies a curiosity about the one’s environment and persistence in trying to question the unknown.