creative questions answer summery

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Module 4
Creativity & Society
Experiences 7, 8 & 9
Experience 7.
Here are quotations from two very different persons !
?The man who has no imagination has no wings !?.
said Muhammad Ali !
Do you know who Muhammad Ali was ? W5H ?
Here is a quote from Einstein.
?When I examined myself and my methods of thought, I came
to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to
me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.?
Submit your thoughts about these two quotes together !
Creativity can be characterized as a self-defining process.
Self-defining means that an idea is good if the creator
thinks it is good. It really doesn?t matter what anyone
else thinks. New ideas are very fragile, they can be killed
off forever by a frown, a pursing of the lips, or a shake
of the head.
If an idea has little merit, the creator will find that out
for himself soon enough and doesn?t need to be
humiliated by instant rejection. This is especially vital to
keep in mind when trying to build a creative organization
with subordinates or fellow workers.
Here are some factors that limit creative behavior: fear
of criticism and rejection, lack of confidence, stress,
preference for society?s routines and the status quo, rigid
rules and barriers, self-criticism, etc.
Walt Disney had the right idea when he stated
?All our dreams can come true ?.. if we have the courage
to pursue them? and Disney had lots of courage.
As an example, the original idea of the Xerox copier was
rejected for years by all the major companies that were
logical potential developers of this technology. Everyone
laughed at the idea of replacing a cheap piece of carbon
paper and a typewriter with an extremely costly machine.
Maybe nowadays you probably don?t even know what a
sheet of carbon paper looks like. But not long ago, every
typist or secretary had a box of carbon paper to make
copies of documents as they were typed. The next time
you are in a university library, look at MS or PhD theses
submitted before 1950 to see the former quality of copies.
Probably many will be hard-to-read typed carbon copies.
Today of course, it is difficult even to imagine a society
without copy machines. It is fortunate that the original
inventor was the person defining the merit of that
creation and that the scorn of society was ignored !
Here is a popular song (sung by Fred Astaire, the great
dancer and movie star) from a few years ago, which
expresses this ridiculing behavior perfectly and how to
deal with it.
Lyrics by Stacey Kent
The odds were a hundred to one against me
The world thought the heights were too high to climb
But people from Missouri never incensed me
Oh, I wasn’t a bit concerned
For from hist’ry I had learned
How many, many times the worm had turned
They all laughed at Christopher Columbus
When he said the world was round
They all laughed when Edison recorded sound
They all laughed at Wilbur and his brother
When they said that man could fly
They told Marconi
Wireless was a phony
It’s the same old cry
They laughed at me wanting you
Said I was reaching for the moon
But oh, you came through
Now they’ll have to change their tune
They all said we never could be happy
They laughed at us and how!
But ho, ho, ho!
Who’s got the last laugh now?
They all laughed at Rockefeller Center
Now they’re fighting to get in
They all laughed at Whitney and his cotton gin
They all laughed at Fulton and his steamboat
Hershey and his chocolate bar
Ford and his Lizzie
Kept the laughers busy
That’s how people are
They laughed at me wanting you
Said it would be, Hello, Goodbye.
But oh, you came through
Now they’re eating humble pie
They all said we’d never get together
Darling, let’s take a bow
For ho, ho, ho!
Who’s got the last laugh?
Hee, hee, hee!
Let’s at the past laugh
Ha, ha, ha!
Who’s got the last laugh now?
To access this song from the marvelous Music Library
at the University of Washington, go to:
The paintings of Vincent van Gogh were also ridiculed.
At the time these were created, no one wanted them.
Vincent?s brother tried to help him by selling his
paintings but had limited success. Vincent became very
depressed at the lack of acceptance of his work and
ultimately committed suicide.
Now, those who rejected van Gogh?s paintings must be
kicking themselves. Today, these are highly prized, and
one (The Irises) commanded a price of $15 million a few
years ago; at that time the highest price ever paid for a
Perhaps van Gogh did not appreciate the concept of selfdefining creativity. He certainly would be astonished to
learn that in June 2006 Ronald Lauder of Estee Lauder
cosmetics fame bought a painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer
by Gustav Klimt for $135 million. Wow !
Now please imagine that you have all the artistic skills
to paint anything you want. Bill Gates of Microsoft calls
you and says ?I hear you are one of the world?s finest
painters ? will you paint a great masterpiece for my
huge living room ? ? You say ?Sure ? what would you
like me to paint ?? Bill Gates responds ? I have no idea !
You choose the subject?.
Decide what you would paint for Bill Gates and explain
your selection.
This situation comes up all the time in real life when a
good new idea is lacking.
The remaking of old movies, like King Kong or War of the
Worlds or Superman (after a multiple year hiatus) are
examples. The production of movie sequels, after an
initial financial success, also indicates the decision to sell
the same basic idea, over and over again. The multiple
Star Wars and Mission Impossible movies exemplify this.
Going back to that ridiculing song by Fred Astaire !
Do the names mentioned in the song mean anything to
you ? ?people from Missouri? ?Columbus? ?Edison?
?Wilbur and his brother? ?Marconi? ?Rockefeller?
?Whitney? ?Fulton? ?Hershey? and ?Ford?
Could you make up a few lines for this song ? Please try !
Have you ever written a song ?
Or thought about writing one ?
What do you need to start ?
An idea of course !
What do you write first ? The words or the music ?
You don?t have to be a musician to write a song.
Writing the lyrics for someone else?s music is quite
common. The names of Gilbert (words) & Sullivan
(music) come immediately to mind.
Words came before music here.
People laughing at new ideas is very common. This is
something a creative person has to deal with !
Repeatedly !
In fact, when the reaction to an idea is indeed laughter,
this can be taken by the creator to be actually
encouraging, rather than discouraging.
Why ? Because it shows that the arrangement of
thoughts, images, sounds etc. has some unexpected or
unusual aspect. This is usually reflected by laughter.
Jokes are often like this in having a surprising or
incongruous twist. You probably already appreciate that
persons who can tell jokes can be very highly
remunerated. You could be one !
When Jay Leno was active his contract was $17 million
per year and David Letterman got nearly twice that.
Talking about comedians recalls the story of the
preacher who was an avid golfer. Every chance he could
get, he could be found on the golf course swinging
away. It was an obsession. One Sunday was a picture
perfect day for golfing.
The sun was out, no clouds in the sky, and the
temperature was just right. The preacher was in a
quandary as to what to do, and shortly, the urge to play
golf overcame him.
He called an assistant to tell him that he was sick and
could not do church, packed up the car, and drove three
hours to a golf course where no one would recognize
him. Happily, he began to play the course.
An angel up above in Heaven was watching the preacher
and was quite perturbed.
He went to God and said, “Look at the preacher. He
should be punished for what he is doing.”
God nodded in agreement.
The preacher teed up on the first hole. He swung at the
ball, and it sailed effortlessly through the air and landed
right in the cup three hundred and fifty yards away. A
picture perfect hole-in-one. He was amazed and excited.
The angel was a little shocked.
He turned to God and said, “Begging your pardon, but I
thought you were going to punish him ?”
God smiled. “Think about it — who can he tell ?”
Assignment for Experience 7.
Answer the stimuli high-lighted in green in
this Experience and submit to Canvas.
Do you have a favorite joke ? You should
have ! Please submit it in the assignment
for possible circulation to your classmates
Experience 8.
Humor and Creativity
So Humor and Creativity are intimately related.
In the conventional classroom, with the Spring creativity
course, each class begins with six students each telling a
joke to a large class. This is not an easy thing to do.
Some students ask to be excused from this assignment
because they are afraid of speaking in front of a large
Perhaps their fear is, that maybe the joke will fall flat.
However, the ability to tell a funny story to a group can
be a valuable career skill !
When you present your creative ideas during your career
you will have to face these problems. So find a joke or
story that you really enjoy, memorize it and practice
telling it to anyone who will listen. Enter the Seattle
Standup Comedy Competition held annually !
It?s quite an experience !
Here is one Professor Allan told at an International Paper
Physics meeting at Oxford University in England. The
audience consisted of about 400 scientists from all
around the world. The meeting was actually held in a
building that had a strange sign outside on the building
saying Dept. of Psychology and Zoology.
Because the unusual combination of disciplines in this
sign intrigued him, at lunchtime Professor Allan
wandered down one of the corridors until he found an
English faculty member who worked there.
That person explained that the unusual combination of
psychology and zoology in a single department had been
specially created by the Foreign Office of the British
Government to study why the rhinoceros population in
Africa was falling steeply while the population of
elephants was simultaneously increasing rapidly.
To tackle this problem the psychologists in the new
department had had the creative idea of putting the
elephants and rhinoceri together so that the latter
might be stimulated by watching the elephants mate.
?Interesting approach? commented Professor Allan.
?What was the outcome ?? ?Unfortunately?, the
faculty researcher answered, ?the elephants seemed to
want to mate with the watching rhinoceri and in fact in
one instance there had been a living offspring of this
unusual union?. ?Amazing? said Professor Allan, ?
And what you did call that ??.
?The ELEFINO? responded the Englishman.
Did you laugh ? Smile ? Roll in the aisles ?
The Japanese scientists sitting in the front row of the
Oxford audience certainly did not.
Why not ? Would you have told this story to an
international group ?
Here is a shorter illustration involving a parent-teacher
conference where the poor performance of a student is
being discussed. The teacher says ?There is one good
thing we can say about your son?s performance?.
?What?s that? responded the parent. ?
At least we know he wasn?t cheating? answered the
Assignments for Experience 8.
Submit a joke or story to Professor Allan via
Canvas as usual and explain why you
believe it is funny.
Respond to the stimuli high-lighted in green
in this Experience and submit to Canvas.
Experience 9.
Now here is a simple little game for you to play.
Imagine the thing commonly used to drive nails into wood.
What is it called ?
Now visualize the item used to remove screwnails from
wood. What is it called ?
Can you now picture the more complicated article that can
grip and pull out nails ?
What is it called ?
If you were to gather up these three items in one hand
what would you call them collectively ?
If you were given these items, brand new and of the
highest quality from Sears, what would you do with them ?
You need to exercise your creative imagination to answer
this last question !
Here is the quotation to help you with this experience.
?Creative thinking is a journey through the imagination
to a better reality?
Do you accept or reject this statement ? Give your
It is helpful to appreciate that humor is like creativity
because both combine unexpected elements to form
something new. For example, watch on television the
opening monolog of any of the late night comedians.
Notice that even a successful professional comedian has
jokes that fall flat. Note how the failures are handled.
How ? By making another joke out of the joke that failed !
Marvel at the creativity of the writers who come up
with jokes involving current events almost every day.
Especially Saturday Night Live on TV. Visualize the staff
meeting that must take place nearly every day where
the ideas are presented and discussed. Some are
accepted, but some are rejected of course.
Where in Society do these ideas come from ?
How many writers does each comedian have ?
Could you be one ? Of course you could !
How much are these idea generators paid ?
So, from now on, whenever you hear a comedian
performing, examine the humor from a creativity
standpoint. Can you create a new joke based on current
events that a comedian might use ? Of course you can !
Submit it for possible circulation to the online class.
Use W5H to start !
How does the creativity of the idea team of each
television competitor differ ?
Does each serve a different sector of society ?
Which television comedian do you prefer and why ?
Would these shows be a success in a different society ?
How about Canada ? How about Mexico ?
This is a really vital part of the course ? awakening your
perception of the various manifestations of creativity all
around us no matter in what society we live.
You may be intrigued to know that the longest running
show in TV history was Sabado Gigante (Saturday
Gigantic). It was in Spanish and was on the air without
interruption for 40 years ! Reflect on the creativity and
innovation involved over that long period of time !
While we are on the subject of creativity in television,
make a point of watching one of the new shows that you
have never seen before. Several have recently started.
Analyze one from a creativity point of view. Use W5H.
Would you ever watch it again ? Is it a success as far as
you are concerned ? Compare with a Seinfeld episode !
Is it not amazing how poor some of these shows are ?
How did the creators ever manage to sell the concept to
the networks ?
Could you write a better one ? Of course you could !
If you never watch television and don?t want to even to
turn it on, then instead look at the newspaper. The
headlines in newspapers are always succinct and often
show a high level of creativity.
Savor the gems and submit one.
Some old ones for example;
Marlins are game Fish (Florida Marlins tie NY Yankees 22 in World Series of baseball) Seattle Post-Intelligencer,
October 23, 2003, Section D, page 1.
Also Fly shop has ties to the past (Story about an old
shop that sells fly-fishing gear, also Section C, page 1,
Spotlight on small business).
Also, review the comics page in a newspaper from a
creativity standpoint. Rank in your mind the various
comic strips like college grades; A, B, C, or D.
Then analyze why you graded them that way. Pick three
and explain the grade you gave them.
Imagine you are going to draw a comic strip.
What would it be about ?
What do you need to get started ?
An idea again, of course !
Where will this idea come from ? From your creativity !
Do newspapers in other countries have comic pages ?
This is a form of creativity that apparently exists in all
societies. Why is this the case ?
In the U.S. the major newspapers carry a daily large
single panel drawing that is often political in nature and
is often located on the Editorial page.
There are also, usually elsewhere in the newspaper, two
full pages of other cartoons that are often multi-panel
drawings and are mostly nonpolitical.
The terms ?the funnies?? or ?the comics? are used for
these. There are about 25-30 separate strips, each
usually created by a single person, but about half a
dozen are authored by a pair. Some of these strips
appear in newspapers all across the US and perhaps also
in Canada, but probably not in Mexico.
This is called syndication.
Do you ever read these pages ? You should; because
they are a reflection of the society in which you live.
Look at them in that light ! Furthermore, imagine how
the individuals drawing these comic strips create the
characters in the first place.
If you were drawing a strip what would it be about ?
This is an example of the prevalent ?problem of no
problem? situation.
Consider that the author has to prepare a strip every
single day to keep up with the daily publication schedule
of the newspaper. This involves having to come up with
an idea (the creative moment) and then draw it (the
innovation step). And then do it all again the next day.
Some authors do more than one strip so that they can
sell their work to more than one paper in a particular
Examine the comic pages in your local newspaper in
terms of your society.
Define the creativity in three of the comic strips and
explain the connection to the attitudes and mores of
If you were to do this for say a major Canadian or
Mexican newspaper you would expect to find major
differences. In the US, will we soon see comic strips in
Spanish for the fast-growing Hispanic segment of our
population ?
What about strips for other ethnic groups ? Locate a
non-English foreign newspaper and find out if they have
comic strips.
All of the foregoing paragraphs are to show you how our
society and creativity are intimately interrelated even in
the funny pages. Hopefully now, when you see a
cartoon you will always see it through a creative lens.
By asking yourself such questions you can practice your
creativity every day so that you become fluent in
generating ideas about all the things you come into
contact with each day. Don?t worry about the merit of
the ideas ! Every idea can?t be great ! Remember
creativity is self-defining and that life is a series of
Problems confront us every day. Some are as obvious as
what to have for dinner. People who cannot handle the
flood of life?s problems often suffer a mental breakdown
or commit suicide. Of course you can always seek help
from your parents. Don?t forget how wonderful they
have been.
Here is a letter to a father that a creative student wrote
with the hopes of receiving a prompt and generous
Dear Father,
$chool i$ really great. I am making lot$ of friend$ and
$tudying very hard. With all my $tuff, I $imply can’t
think of anything I need, $o if you would like, you can
ju$t $end me a card, a$ I would love to hear from you.
Your Off$pring
After receiving the letter, the father immediately replied
by sending the following:
My Dear Child,
I kNOw that astroNOmy, ecoNOmics, and oceaNOgraphy
are eNOugh to keep even an hoNOr student busy. Do NOt
forget that the pursuit of kNOwledge is a NOble task, and
you can never study eNOugh.
Maybe you could try this approach with your parents.
Incidentally, if you do not live at home, it would be nice if
you surprised your folks with a chatty letter about how
you doing in this class.
Assignment for Experience 9.
Respond to the stimuli high-lighted in green in
this Experience and submit to Canvas.
Don?t forget to keep your Creativity Diary going
and turn in edited highlights weekly.
How many pages of the book you are reviewing
have you read ? Which book did you select ?

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