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ISSN 2299-7806

NR 3(11)/ 2014

ARTYKUŁY, s. 107–125




Ganna Bilyk

Approaches to the understanding of creativity are divided in relation to the “ontological measure”. Accordingly, the positive approach involves the addition of a new Being to the world through creativity; the negative approach involves the subtraction of the Being from one of the components of the creative process, for the possibility of creativity. It is possible to allocate “the direction” of creativity, in relation to the addition or subtraction through the study of “creator – creation” relations in every conception of creativity. For example, negative creativity is possible only through subtraction of the Being from the position “creator”. The conceptions of Berdyaev and Blanchot are chosen as representative approaches. In addition, the researcher notes that there are more complicated approaches to the understanding of creativity, for example, “neutral” or transformative ones, which are based on the transformation of the existing Being in the world.

The anthropological aspect of creativity is revealed through the notion of intentionality.

This concept shows equal opportunities of different approaches and concepts in the field of practice of creativity.

Keywords: creativity, “negative” approach, “positive” approach, intentionality The scheme of creativity Creativity is widely understood as a way of being and a means of existence. This existence presents an attitude to the world. In fact, philosophy of creativity studies connections people create or imitate in relation to the world through creativity. Problems of precedence of the source of creativity and of means and possibilities of its expression become the focus of the philosophers’ research. And here two of the most fundamental questions arise: what type of background does the need to write come from, and whether creativity has to be reduced to a personality of an author: “We do not write according to what we are;

we are according to what we write. But where does what is written come 108 Ganna Bilyk, “Negative” and “Positive” Conceptions of Creativity… from? Still from us? From a possibility in ourselves which is discovered and affirmed only through literary endeavors?”1.

A source of creativity cannot be only reduced to the author’s I. On the other hand, there are no reasons to locate creativity originally somewhere beyond the limits of the subject of creativity. It is possible to discuss and speculate about influences, feelings, reflections of the subject on the outside ideas, about the suddenness of inspiration and the artificial conditioning of inspiration by means of, for instance, external stimulants, but not about the objective existence of a reservoir of inspiration and creativity somewhere devoid of the very subject of creativity, separated from its consciousness as well as the subconscious, its psychic structure and physical body.

Relations of a subject of creativity with creativity are characterized by dependence and interdetermination (multiple causation). Creativity is a condition of its existence, its legitimation and a space of its activities at the same time. Dependence on these three components grants a subject rights, place of activities and some frames.

The very existence of a subject of creativity depends on creativity

so therefore creativity provides its peculiar boundary. In creativity a subject exists and relates to it as derivative; their relations remain subordinate. Creativity is the only condition for a subject of creativity to exist:

“To say that the poet only exists after the poem means that he receives his »reality« from the poem, but that he does not dispose of this reality except in order to make the poem possible. In this sense he does not survive the creation of the work. He lives by dying in it. This also means that the finished poem regards him with indifference; it does not refer to him. He is by no means entitled to be cited and glorified by the poem as its origin. For what is glorified by the work is the work, or art, which the work holds concentrated in itself. And the creator is the one who from then on is dismissed, whose name is erased and whose memory fades. This also means that the creator has no power over his work, that he is dispossessed by it, that in it he is dispossessed of himself.

He does not hold its meaning, its privileged secret. It is not incumbent upon him to »read« the poem – that is, to pronounce it anew, to speak it each time as new”2.

Creativity is always considered to be greater and, as a rule, original in relation to I.

M. Blanchot, The Space of Literature, University of Nebraska Press, London 1982, p.


Ibid., p. 227.

109 Ganna Bilyk, “Negative” and “Positive” Conceptions of Creativity… Thus, the need of creativity (which is defined as the necessity to express creation in accordance with negative approaches) is the internal superior of a creator. And not only inspiration, but also a form of correlation between inspiration and subjectivity can be named a source of creativity.

Dominance – “superiority” of creativity is demonstrated on the example of a quantitative timing indicator. Creativity deals with time in other way than a subject – creativity denies it. Creativity (and creation as an important component of creativity) exceeds a creator by scales relation to infinity. This “superiority” is expressed through lack of a creation ability to be expressed, because a finite and limited subject with disabilities of embodiment tries to give existence to something that is not subject to means of expression on the whole.

A subject of creativity brings its finiteness into infinity of a work where it preserves itself as infinity. An ontological status of a subject of creativity is précised through this place of conditional infinity, considered to be a place of creativity. The declared subjectivity in a work which can hypothetically remain in culture eternally is not infinite in itself. It only attributes to infinity as to its place of existence. The finite makes something infinite happen. In this relation, a subject comes short of quantity indicator but exceeds in an indicator of actual source of being because only through it the possible becomes real.

Relations of interdependence, belonging and “giving” being are characteristic of connections of a subject of creativity in a space of its existence. To define these connections and their specifics the researcher uses the “creation creator” scheme where a creator transmits creations, a creation exceeds a creator, and its complete expression is impossible.

This expressed disability is a result and attribute of the whole scheme, a consequence of non-correspondence of means with that is expressed, incompleteness of means of embodiment that comes, first of all, from incompleteness of the main “instrument” of embodiment, a subject of creativity. The main questions can be set out in all these connections.

The question of creativity is formulated towards the research field.

Talking about the ontology of creativity, we can formulate the question in the following way: “What characteristic aspects has the being of creativity got towards the being of a human?” First of all, I am interested in the process of creativity, which can be understood within anthropology because it cannot be separated from a human being. We can agree that creativity is an anthropologic action, a process. I suggest that we should study the ontological aspect of this process. How does being a human happen in this process?

110 Ganna Bilyk, “Negative” and “Positive” Conceptions of Creativity… To study these problems, we ought to take different world outlook conceptions of creativity and study them through the metaphor of “addition” and “subtraction” of the being as an “ontological measure”.

Conventional separation of approaches to understanding creativity in its most simple scheme is reduced to either addition of the being (through inclusion into the “greater” being) or its subtraction. Within an operational fiction I divide approaches into “positive” and “negative” where positive ones are based on addition of the being to the world through the process of creativity, on the increase of the being through an act of creativity. Negative ones are based on the subtraction of the being from the being of the Creator which is not full (and negative are depleted in their ultimate variant). This basis, an original premise is an ontological intention that is the necessary condition of creativity. And according to this original setting, creativity can happen. This intentionality will be studied further. And it is important to note that this division is a new approach to the philosophic reflection on creativity.

This division is possible due to the basic scheme of creativity.

This “creator – creation” scheme is understood as a reflection of the process and a model of relations which happen. In this scheme, creation is a general understanding of what a creator tries to embody, what can be a conception, an image of a piece of work, an idea. A creator is a subject of creativity, a carrier of an idea who turns this idea into reality/practice. And most conceptions admit the advantages of a creation over a creator both in quantity and being. Schematically, this model of relations can be defined as “creation creator”. “Inspiration is not the gift of the poem to someone existing already, but the gift of existence to someone who does not yet exist3”.

This phrase of Blanchot reflects the above-mentioned idea, expresses the possibility for a subject of creativity to exist through creation. But the conception which is the foundation of this phrase is based not on the addition of the being to a creating person but on the subtraction. Differences between the conceptions can be shown on the basis of the “creation – creator” scheme. I suggest that we should focus on the understanding of these relations through the metaphor of “addition” and “subtraction”.


111 Ganna Bilyk, “Negative” and “Positive” Conceptions of Creativity…

–  –  –

“Positive” relations mean non-negation of one component of the system as well as existence of an additional (positive) result, as a rule, a piece of art. Often this “positivity” is understood as enrichment of culture and as improvement of the world; often, it is understood as an esthetic relation, too. Though, in general, our division does not concern the moral and ethical or evaluating aspect of problematics.

An example of positive conception can be the Neo-thomist approach to the understanding of creativity. The original premise of this approach may be summarized as follows: desirability of talent, strategy of enrichment of the world and the advantage of that a creator tries to express over that s/he can express (and over its means). Best of all these theses are shown in the text of thinker Karol Wojtyła (John Paul II): “All artists experience the unbridgeable gap which lies between the work of their hands, however successful it may be, and the dazzling perfection of the beauty glimpsed in the ardour of the creative moment: what they manage to express in their painting, their sculpting, their creating is no more than a glimmer of the splendour which flared for a moment before the eyes of their spirit4”; “Obviously, this is a sharing which leaves intact the infinite distance between the Creator and the creature”5.

In these fragments the distance between what is really done and what it stands for, that is the basis of this, is obviously articulated. It is an idea that relates to the greater being. In fact, through the “connection” to this being not only the process of creativity but also a new being as well as the “connection” of a creating person to the greater more perfect being are performed. That is, there is a positive result and positivity in the process.

Separation of this basis happens as simplification of the system of creativity which is more complicated that any speaking about it. When we separate the most basic scheme it appears that absolutely different world outlook systems have (just in this aspect) similar basis. For example, we can consider Marxist interpretation of creative activities to be a positive conception. In this interpretation a component of activities is important because properly directed activities are a social good and a step to the evolutionary changes of society. Creative activities are only a partial display of generally possible and generally useful activities and Pope John Paul II, Letter of his holiness to artists, From the Vatican, Easter Sunday, April 4th, 1999.


112 Ganna Bilyk, “Negative” and “Positive” Conceptions of Creativity… therefore art should be positive. An addition of new sense and material is the next stage of social development.

Correspondingly, a creator performs as a mechanism that puts this social good in life. S/he is a function, a medium of articulating a proper idea according to the right method. The correspondence with the proper idea is important in relations of a creating person and creation / creativity / work. Here an idea takes the role of creativity and is one of conditions of creativity and, imaginatively, has a greater measure of being.

Exactly in this understanding the whole complexity of the problem displays: this positivity is only intentional but not necessarily positive in its embodiment or perceiving. Creativity is positive in its modality.

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