We Need New Explanations of Reality

Every culture has its own way of accounting for reality. These explanations are necessary to enable the culture as a whole, and the individuals within it, to act and to justify those actions. We cannot come to grips with anything until we have some way of understanding and explaining what we are dealing with.

Passing of the Parliament Bill, 1911

Legislation enforces the ideology of those who elected the government, but may quash the ideology of those who voted another way. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Unfortunately, there is a huge problem here. The scheme works best if our explanation of reality is sound. In some areas, we may indeed have adequate accounts of reality (e.g. engineering), but human knowledge is limited, and in many more cases (e.g. medicine), our explanations do not coincide with actuality. In these situations, we must act within inadequate frameworks. So tenuous is our conceptual grasp on reality that sometimes we are aware of the damaging shortcomings of our explanations while at other times we remain in the dark.

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How Artists and Scientists Explain the World

The Cosmos We Seek to Explain

Artists and scientists explain the world in very different ways. Surprisingly, scientists are abstract while artists are concrete. (Image: public domain.)

A crucial aspect of all creative work is the attempt to garner, and then communicate, insights into our lives and the world in which we live. The shallower forms of popular psychology seem to have influenced many creativity researchers and authors who write books about the creative process. One commonly meets the claim that the creative process is identical in both artists and scientists. In fact, to wander just a bit, some writers go so far as to say everyone probably has the same capacity for creativity. It just manifests in different ways depending on where the individual’s interests lie or what his life situation is. These notions may sell books by making the average person feel they are as creative as anyone else is, but they do nothing to explain the obvious reality that some folks stand far above the rest when it comes to creative ability.

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