Is Creativity Intelligence Having Fun?


It’s been nice to be able be going to Byron Bay and Tweed Heads recently (I’m doing a structural editing course with Laurel Cohn through the Byron Writers Festival.  The three hour drives (plus the time it takes to get back across the border) have given me a lot of time to think about perspectives on creativity.   

Creativity is intelligence having fun is a quote attributed to Albert Einstein.  On one level I like the quote – I like to identify as being intelligent so when I’m being creative of course I like to believe that it’s as a result of my intelligence.  However there’s another side of that “quote” which could frighten people away from attempting creative endeavours – the very word which draws me in “intelligence” could easily scare someone else away.   

Cape Byron Lighthouse

I think that the concept of creativity has been stolen from people and rather than being something that we can all enjoy and participate in, creativity has become a commodity.   I believe that this stems from the commodification of the world that has occurred thanks to the rise of capitalism since the 17th century.  

Creativity is the way that human beings have survived for millennia.  Without creative thought there would not have been the development of tools, exploration of the world and development of ways to feed the family and heal the sick.  The people who decided that ships needed a way to see the coastline at night and created a lighthouse showed immense creativity and saved countless lives. 

The Macquarie Dictionary defines create as “make it or bring it into existence.”  Its example sentences are the creation of characters in a play and the making of a meal.  Its sister publication, The Pocket Macquarie Thesaurus has concoct, develop, establish and breed among its synonyms.  It is clear from the dictionary and thesaurus that creativity is innate in all of us.

A waterhole viewed from the Tweed Heads Art Gallery