The Compulsion to Create: Definition and Genesis of the Phenomenon

Agnieszka Janiszewska-Szczepanik 1
  • 1 University of Lodz, , Poland


Is it possible to speak of the compulsion to create? And if so, what underlies it? In this article, I set out to offer a comprehensive explanation of what may cause the strong desire for creative activity observable in many artistically-inclined individuals. To describe this desire, I use the term compulsion to create, and drawing upon examples from both pop-culture and the lives of famous artists on the one hand, and philosophical and scholarly writings on the other, I seek its sources in the individual’s psyche. I discuss how the compulsion to create depends, among other factors, on an individual’s personality and mental state (in the sense of Sigmund Freud’s and Elaine N. Aron’s theories), transcendental circumstances (in the sense of Carl Jung’s theory) and character traits (as defined by Jordan Peterson). Then, I frame the phenomenon studied within the 4Ps Model of Creativity. I point to a significant correlation between the compulsion to create and high levels of an individual’s creativity. Additionally, I discriminate between the notions of the drive to create and the compulsion to create. The article proposes a definition of the compulsion to create which allows for a clear understanding of this notion and its popular application in the field of creatology.

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