The Big Question in Creativity Research: The Transcendental Source of Creativity

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Abstract

In this commentary, I raise an etiological question, which has been virtually excluded from the horizon of contemporary scholarship. In spite of a long history of philosophical, mystical, and religious approaches considering the transcendent and/or spiritual sources of human creativity, mainstream creativity researchers have become gradually reluctant to acknowledge the supernatural influences in this human endeavour. This account is either disregarded altogether or re-interpreted in a way that substitutes supernatural connections with observable and measurable processes. On the one hand, the latter approach appears to fall within the premises of modern science and thereby earns substantial attention the scientific community. On the other, this could be one of the reasons why creativity research has reached its epistemological cul-de-sac. I argue that by retaining the source of creativity within an individual, one annihilates the whole constellation of personality traits and processes, which have transcendent characteristics. It is important to integrate the study of transcendent experience into the study of cognitive, personality, and environmental underpinnings of creative faculties. A possible direction for this change is offered by transpersonal psychology, which makes an attempt to resurrect an investigation of spiritual reality and integrate it in the study of modern psychology. At the end of the commentary, I sketch a transcendental model of creativity developed along the lines of a transpersonal paradigm.

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