One way of understanding our creative intelligence is to compare it to the conventional intelligence that has traditionally been more prized by our schools and workplaces.
This conventional intelligence (sometimes called left-brain intelligence) is associated with intellectual, rational and analytical thought; creative intelligence (sometimes called right-brain intelligence) is associated with thinking that is more imaginative, inventive and innovative.
These are sweeping summaries of complex neurological and social processes but in broad terms:
- Conventional intelligence communicates through thoughts, concepts, opinions and ideas. Creative intelligence communicates through feelings, emotions, imaginings and intuitions.
- Conventional intelligence categorises, creative intelligence breaks the box.
- Conventional intelligence critiques, creative intelligence explores.
- Conventional intelligence controls, creative intelligence allows.
- Conventional intelligence looks out, seeing human reality as material and given (shit happens!). Creative intelligence looks in, seeing human reality as imagined and co-created (shift happens!).
- Conventional intelligence likes answers, creative intelligence likes questions.
- Conventional intelligence sees failure as an avoidable defeat. Creative intelligence sees failure as a necessary learning opportunity.
- Conventional intelligence persuades through intellectual opinion and argument. Creative intelligence persuades through story, symbol and song.
- Conventional intelligence consumes art, writing and music as entertainment. Creative intelligence creates art, writing and music as expression.
- Conventional intelligence sees life as fixed and ultimately meaningless. Creative intelligence makes meaning through pattern and metaphor.
As Bill Moyars once said, ‘creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous’. You don’t have to be making an artwork or a piece of literature to do that. It can happen in the making of relationships, or work, or money or anything else.
The same process that makes one thing makes all things.