Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; Creativity: Normal or neurotic?, part one
From the Great Hall of the Cooper Union in New York City. National Educational radio presents the Cooper Union forum series on peace love and creativity the hope of mankind. These programs are recorded by station WNYC. Here now was the chairman of the company union for Dr. Johnson thank you very much. Good evening ladies and gentlemen welcome to the Cooper Union tomorrow. This is your German judge on the fridge. Speaking to you from the great hope the Cooper Union where we are continuing with the program untitled peace love the creativity. And I are not a subject for discussion this evening and I was to do with the creativity and the psychological aspects of rap whether of the. Normal or neurotic. This figure is the famous Dr. Emmanuel K. Schwartz. Dr. Schwartz welcome
here on so many occasions produce so many magnificent lectures here. Letters hardly necessary for me to say that he has some background in the works of these which is these as they call it just like your analyst. So they call it in the orbit of the earth universe in the New School and he is dean of training at the Graduate Center for Mental Health. He has a lot of other things in addition to this very good friend and all that are those figure of Bahrain in the pew. And I'm always delighted to welcome Dr. Schwartz back to the Cooper Union forum goes he is meant of such help not only to me personally to the forum in general. We welcome Dr. Emmanuel Schwartz grid to the psychological aspects of creativity.
Dr. Force the ATM. Thank you guys for the evening ladies and gentleman. You may have heard the chairman of the evening's switch subjects on you tonight. He was doing a creative job. With my attempt to introduce some novelty into the situation tonight. I decided that it's pretty old hat now whether something is normal on the erotic. In fact there's got to be such old hat but most of the world can't tell the difference. When you walk down Tompkins Square here are St. Marks place and you look around people you don't know whether we have are some people from the institutions I mean the mental institutions. I would put all the other people back in. I have a very good friend who says what we need and not insane is sanity we need sane asylums to protect the
sane from this crazy world we live in. So. Oh I thought you know everybody is neurotic and everybody is normal and this whole question is it normal or is it abnormal really really missed leaves us I think in the formulation of a question in that form. The fact of the matter is that we're all all of us of the consequences of both normal and abnormal processes and the human capacity to be creative is no different from any other human capacity. So that it really doesn't help us to say is it want to or is it the other is a human quality in which many kinds of processes participate all the normal and the abnormal. And what I thought I would like to share with you tonight. Are some of my thoughts some of the problems some of the questions about probably the most human of all questions namely the nature of creativity. You see I think that man.
Unlike any other animal in the animal kingdom is characterized by its capacity to be aware of is internal light. Now it may very well be that our at our our dog our OB arity is aware of some internal life but we'll never know much about that because the dog and the cat cannot communicate to us in a language that we can understand. We all like to read in. We try to say isn't that a smart dog you understand every word I say. But that's our view. We're not sure he understands anything but he will be. His performance is quite mechanical. Like the Beavis performance in making the dam. I understand you can't tell one damn from another and nobody really gives a damn about that because it isn't human because it isn't human. And what I was going to talk about tonight is that human quality the very human quality which we seem to need to make us different from other
animals and that is the ability to create. I think man has a need to create. I think every human being has a need to create. I think every human being has a need to create just as we create to create all created us. We call him the creator or because this is a very important. Aspect of living it is an aspect of struggling and living and doing and inventing and changing and developing. And this is what creativity is all about. And I thought I would like to ask you some questions. I'd like to ask myself out loud. I'd like to give you some hunches and conjectures I have about answers about the nature of creativity and then perhaps to give us some homework or some questions of think about some ideas or think about. There is very little that we really know about human behavior. We are in the infancy in my estimation. OB The science of human behavior
psychology and that we are all yet in Mainz in arms in this science. One of the one of the wisps of human psychology is the whole concept of creativity the creative drive the creative emblems. And so I would say if we know very little about human beings we know even less about this very complex thing called creativity. I'm not even going to attempt to define it for you tonight. I'm going to assume that we all have a notion about what creativity is what does it mean to be creative. What does it mean to be engaged in creative work as opposed might say to mechanical work. Our dramas start our discussion with where does this come from. This urge this impose this capacity this this psychological skill or talent to be
creative to do creative things for example to be going to the men's Johns in the subway. You will see Mad much creativity. People will draw pictures on the wall. I say the men as young as I have been in the ladies John in the summer. You ladies what happened tell me about when the women are as creative in the subway as men. But you know grafitti is not limited only to the subway was it also to be found in the johns in the toilets. And there is a great deal of creativity that goes on into thinking these up and I wonder what these people who sit thinking up these little ideas to write on the buttons that you and I buy. But this is a creative talent and this is a creative force. This is something that we are inventing which is another word very much like creativity. This is something we are lobbying to do this is something that makes us excited in the experience of doing.
And so I would like to look to the question where does the source come. Where is the sauce. Where does creativity come from. One of the simplest formulations of that question is is it inspiration or is it perspiration. That is if you want to be creative you have to sit down and work at it. It's plain ard work work work work work work. Is that what creative work is all about is that what makes us a genius might say in painting or in sculpture or in science or even in living. Do we have to work at it or is it inspiration do we sit back. So I kind of daydream close our eyes. So I went to a semi trance and let it all come to us. Let an inspiration come to us. Is it divinely inspired or is it since fired by the devil. You know
that that there was a time in man's history where any creative act to paint a picture to think a newsboy was thought to be a devil inspired. That is it meant that we were breaking out breaking away from the established order because that's what creativity is about. A creative person is someone. Who breaks away from what is given to believe beyond a given. There's always something eccentric about creative word deviant. New Novel different and the establishment begins the trauma no obvious battles. If I come up here and I wore a psychedelic jacket you would have to tremble watch the gun man WATCH WATCH do it man. But I'm right because you happen to be establishment you are part of a force that prevents me from taking my head from go away from flying from doing because what happened to the establishment
and every time something creative is done. Every time a new idea is invented every time a new ball begins to simmer. Everybody in the establishment quakes. We try to hold it down because we don't like chain. We don't like the new we don't like the difference. It's on the media. We all want to be back in the bosom of the family. It's on the media not the brand. So back to question one question where does creativity come from. You have to work at it is a consequence of work or is it a consequence of being inspired divinely by God by the gods. Or is it a consequence of being inspired by the devil. One of the central preoccupations of psychical research psychological research psychiatric research when all the research is in the mind. One of the primary preoccupations is the mind body problem.
And so one of the things that has come up is that creativity has something to do with body chemistry. Those who want to create a certain kind of body chemistry and those who are not of a different kind of body chemistry although they use different words for this kind of thing we're all guys do you know when I was a kid I had a chemical set or a chemistry set and I used to go make bricks probers and attest to you know I think kids don't do that anymore they now makes atom bombs or something like that. They prefer you know nuclear energy grant chemicals they make think want to turn blue and blue litmus paper turned pink. And this was the beginning of my of my own creative imagination I began to imagine what this big pink and blue stop was all about. But they use fancy words for body chemistry they talk about DNA and RNA. And I hope you're not a lecture about the sometimes I don't want to get into it but there are always people who believe that if you switched the DNA in our any arrangements.
That is the new reality gases in the in the podiums of the of the cell structure. We can make geniuses out of us all. In fact there is an interesting study which says that the difference between a genius and a non genius is how much your guess that he may have in his bloodstream. Now if that's true we'll give everybody an injection of Euro gas and let's see if we create geniuses as you can see I have little faith little confidence in the idea that chemistry is what will make us creative. What will make us more human. But there are people who believe this and there are theories which suggest prayers and closely related to this is a very simple thing that you hear all the time. I yearn all the time people say well you can be creative because you got so much energy so much physical energy. And people are convinced and they convince themselves that if you got a lot of energy if you're born very energetic born strong and quotation marks whatever that may mean somehow that makes me a genius that makes for creativity. And I don't
think much of that even because I have a feeling that you'll find the energy if you have the psychological motivation for it that needs putting the chicken before a dog in a cart before the horse. That it isn't that you have the energy and therefore you suddenly become creative it is that you have the impulse to be alive. By the way that's what a great poet called it. He said it's the impulse to be alive that's where creativity as something living in you then goes and that has to come out. He was imprisoned in there and he had to find a way to let it come out. So it is and I think that you have all of this energy and you've got to do something with it so you start creating. I don't know what those white paint wore you saw in the horse's mouth the Alec Guinness film every time he sees you or he's going to paint a picture on it. He needs big walls now because he's got lots of energy. Well I don't think that's true. I don't think that a body represents the source.
Of inspiration this awesome creativity because the source of the work which we recognize is creative because if you spot dealing with a body you say you've got B of A hammer there's a great analyst who said that every creative person is a person who was damaged very early in life. His body was damaged. He generally had a secret damage for example. He has only one testicle. One's a hydra seal I want to hang a small one and I that's what this analyst said that if you analyze great geniuses you want to scupper they have some secret physical damage and that the creativity was an attitude toward restitution not of the physical. Problem but restorative in the sense of his image his body image about it. I don't normally and so I spent all my life creating sculpture because I would like to have a shorter nose apps if I think that's what spoils my body image.
I'm I've got a war under my shower here and saw this disturbs me and I use my imagination as a young person says this analyst to try to be re story here tonight the narcissistic trauma that use these fancy words are always more present to the damage to the candy to the vanity that this little or any significant physical damage might have meant. But for this person he makes a big thing out of it you know makes a mountain out of a mole hill and he spends his life imagining how he can change his physical be through written creation to rest but you did work. I I doubt that to measure as a source of creation. There is another view that a creative person is one who perceives the world differently. You and I look at one another and we
look. Standing upright My head's up my IP to do some other creative person looks at us and sees us upside down or inside out or this way instead of that way. But maybe the idea that they perceive you differently. We look at the same thing but we see it differently. And so it is thought that it is in the way in which we look at the world the way in which we see the world. That and some of our Makes for a creative person a creative person see the world differently to try to make it look the way you see it. OB isomers. Maybe he sees it more clearly than you and I see it and wants to change it and therefore creates a new kind of world. There is the theory of a source of creativity is in the imagination. But only if we let our imaginations go. If we let our imaginations go free if we let ourselves think fantastic thoughts but just let our minds go praying that this will give make
us creative all will touch our creative impulse. There is a theory that all creativity stems out of conflict and from conflict to anxiety anxiety puts the pressure on us. We got to resolve a conflict and we create something to resolve that conflict. That's another theory. You'll find this again and again in the literature that creativity is a consequence of conflict or tension or of anxiety. This is one of the sources of the idea that it's abnormal it's happening logically induced. Now oh this idea that it is it's due to conflict. Is closely related to the idea that it is due to personal disturbance and you may have heard the expression but the natives are restless tonight. It is this restlessness. Some people think is what makes for creativity. You are restless. I am restless. So what do you want to get up to do something about.
This leader who will do something about it. Is generating a creative person. He's going to do something about our restlessness our tensions our conflicts. Now this restlessness is very closely related to what Thomas Munn called a melancholia that lies behind all creativity. He says You gotta be sad you have got to be sad in order to be creative. He doesn't think we have to sing with joy. If we're going to create something because if you do that why creating the things you've got to be a sad sad sad. And if you're really deep down said it you'll do something about it you'll create. I'm not sure I won't have this one either. I think it may be true that there is a piece of sadness in all of us who create in all of us who want to change ourselves and the world is a piece of sadness with what it is. Because to be creative means you've got to reject the given you've got to want to change the world
and someone you are not aware about to necessarily all of the goal and not be in a world the subjective world you want to change it in some way. You want to move the pieces around to create a new in our world and I don't think that the really be melancholic anymore than I think the other theory that the really psychotic are the ones that do the creative work. I don't think creativity originates in those areas either. I'll show you the great poet said that if you want to be creative you've got to have a missionary zeal. You've got to want to change the minds of other people. I want to get the machine the world the U.S. because you're convinced that this is a way to bring salvation of man. How it may very well be that every creative person in the sense is a missionary. It is not necessarily untrue that all of these play some little part in it.
But it's like the story of the elephant you know on the three blind men. It depends upon the way you grab hold of it as to what it looks like you know the story of a tree branch how one rabbit on the chair one by the trunk and and one I don't know wherever else but you can use your imagination and so you have to have a different view of the other because nobody could see the whole of it. And it's true of a creative person and the and the the studies of creativity we may be all grabbing on to some little bit of what is created. And I'm sure that Shelley and eats you also al this. I'm sure that they had something going for them that there was some truth in what they had to say that indeedy you gotta have a mission. You got to want to make a statement you want you know I want to have an audience who will listen to you because you think you've got a piece of the truth in order to you to be creative in order for a person to be creative. Now there's another theory that says that a creative person is fundamentally narcissistic. Again fancy word as vanity of the pansy words. He's a show
off and it was a show in the south he didn't show Walt and so what do you got to do it is not an object we show up like that is what I got to create something look at your review note. Maybe we really wanted Mama to look at him and say look what a great man am I. And he creates something big he creates something big. Anyhow the idea that creativity is to show one's self to show all is somebody in there by get love from any other. Here's another theory again and maybe a piece of truth here. There is still another one. This will not please you somewhat because it's the neurotic non and normal problem again. There is there is a theory about creativity that says creativity is 80. Another word Augie Eros syndrome. Eros is the God of love you know and it's a substitute for love they say
that if you don't make law you know you were created. If you are creative you haven't got time and energy to make love. If you make love you don't create. So bear the consequence of this theory is if you want to create it in the sense of changing the world around you. The thing to do is to abstain sexually. I'm not sure that this is. One that I would recommend. While that is not unusual the psychoanalytic movement went through a logic period where abstinence was thought to be curative and for NZ one of the great analysts of the old felt of the way to cure male impotence was to get him not to have a bowel movement for at least a week. And this way he would learn to control his fingers and thereby overcome his impotence. So it's not new in that we need to abstain. Many of our religions believe in abstinence is the way to God to happen. And you know sex is dirty and so wants of us can fit into that
kind of theory. I'm not. It doesn't. I have not much stomach for that kind of theory anyhow. That is one of the theories I want to expose to you the pieces of truth on all sides and maybe we'll see that the situation is far more complicated than we thought. Robert Frost says that what makes him creative is that he's jealous. Jealous Yes jealous you heard the numbers now as well Robert Frost. Is he jealous that's why he creates. He wants to be the other guy I don't know what the other guy is competing with the other guy it might have been his brother might have been his father's mother but in some way. But he said this is what makes fog create creative work. This is what makes him want to sit down to be creative is that he is driven by jealousy and he wants to be to me jealous of all the previous poets in the world.
Jealous of all of them incidentally that reminds me of an interesting experience I had that takes us back to melancholy and depression. I was once on a panel of dialog with Robert Motherwell the famous American painter. He's a very interesting painter an abstract painter you find him and in the Museum of Modern Art and we were on a panel together having a dialogue about the nature of creativity. And he said that he thought that he was always being pressed as a part of his creative experience that he suffered continuous be pressured to know the word from melancholia he was constantly depressed. And he had just shown us some slides of some of his recent paintings and I said to him I'm a clinician that's my business. You don't look the press to me you know you don't look Jewish. You actually you don't look at the present to me and I said if I look at your painting that you just showed us you had a painting out of his window in Provincetown and he was looking out the window as he
was the front of his canvas and there he saw the sea in front of him and he painted on his plain white canvas online like this which was the blue sea and a little just a little spread of blue in the sky a jumping piece of the wave of water and I said that's not even a question. Someone who can jump into the sky a depression if somebody brings a black in a dollar they're not up there and so we had quite a dialogue as to what he meant by depression. And after many many long exchanges it was quite clear that what he meant by depression may be what Robert Frost means by jealousy. He said I must be aware every time I stand in front of my canvas. The whole history of art before me I must be aware of every painter that came before me because every painting must be a masterpiece.
It must be new it must be an innovation it must be a creation it must be different it must take us beyond where we have been. So I can't just repeat everything or something that had been done before art now can only be one bought the Campion of a Bach or another Rembrandt. Even if somebody can paint Rembrandt better than Rembrandt did. It's already only a copy because it's been you with the innovation that makes for art creation. So he said I must be aware constantly I have the whole burden of history of all my back every time I stand in front of a canvas and want to paint a painting funnyman he was all pressed by the history of Ott who all of the masterpieces before him because he wants to go beyond what is given he better know what's given. Otherwise you're going to repeat like some people who need to rediscover comic trisomy all of the ha I discovered something's going to brag about your letters the goes on.
So maybe this is what Frost meant by jealousy but in a sense he's jealous of the people who came before him and did these masterpieces. And now he's got to go beyond them to beat them in some way. Maybe that's what he meant. There's another theory about a source of creative work in our creative matters. The economic one. You know we can't talk at Cooper Union without bringing up yet anomic theory there and always say the only reason we do any kind of work including creative work is I make money. Many creative geniuses of Koch spend all of their lives poor on poor limp or die poor but this is one of the theories that we are out there in order to as a source of creativity is in the search for economic reward. Now I have outlined for you a whole new
variety of spectrum of odd views about the source of creativity. I would now like to turn to another aspect of this issue namely what do you need in life. What do you got to be besides being human and maybe that's already in order to be creative. What are you doing what are some of the conditions for example. You have to have intelligence. In order to be creative new creative work. You have to have a certain kind of personality. You have to know yourself. And you've got to be able to take a chance a chance you have courage.
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- WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
- Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
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- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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- Episode Description
- This program presents the first part of a lecture by Emmanuel Schwartz.
- Series Description
- This series presents lectures from the 1968 Cooper Union Forum. This forum's theme is Peace, Love, Creativity: The Hope of Mankind.
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Producing Organization: WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Producing Organization: Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Speaker: Fairchild, Johnson E.
Speaker: Schwartz, Emmanuel
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Identifier: 68-10-26 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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- Chicago: “Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; Creativity: Normal or neurotic?, part one,” 1968-06-04, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 8, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-7659hh42.
- MLA: “Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; Creativity: Normal or neurotic?, part one.” 1968-06-04. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 8, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-7659hh42>.
- APA: Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; Creativity: Normal or neurotic?, part one. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-7659hh42