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The origins of creativity, d'Edward O. Wilson : Émotions paléolithiques, institutions médiévales et technologies de dieu

Les origines de la créativité, du sociobiologiste Edouard O Wilson

Titre : The Origins of Creativity
Auteur :  Edward O. Wilson
Éditeur : Penguin
Pages : 248
Année : 2017
ISBN : 978-0141-986340

 

La créativité humaine est le trait déterminant de notre espèce. Mais quelles motivations nous poussent à créer de l'Art, raconter des histoires ou écrire de la musique? Quant cela a-t-il commencé ? Et pourquoi ? Retraçant les grandes étapes évolutionnaires de la créativité, Edward O. Wilson démontre comment la science et les humanités sont essentielles pour comprendre qui nous sommes.

A propos de l’auteur :

Edward O. Wilson est considéré comme le fondateur de la sociobiologie, discipline qui étudie comment des comportements peuvent assurer aux individus qui les possèdent de meilleures chances de succès évolutif. Il se donne comme objectif d’intégrer les sciences sociales dans la théorie évolutionniste néo-darwinienne. Edward O. Wilson est détenteur de 2 prix Pulitzer.

Table des matières :

  1. The reach of creativity
  2. The birth of the humanities
  3. Language
  4. Innovation
  5. Aesthetic surprise
  6. Limitations of the humanities
  7. The years of neglect
  8. Ultimate causes
  9. Bedrock
  10. Breakthrough
  11. Genetic culture
  12. Human nature
  13. Why nature is mother
  14. The hunter’s trance
  15. Gardens
  16. Metaphors
  17. Archetypes
  18. The most distant island
  19. Irony: A victory of the mind
  20. The third enlightenment

References and further reading
Acknowledgments
Credits
Index

 

Mon avis sur l'ouvrage "The Origins of Creativity de Edward O. Wilson :

Bien que l’œuvre de Wilson et cet ouvrage en particulier ne soit pas dédié à la relation de l’Homme à la Technologie, l’auteur l’aborde dans certaines sections. Ce qui m’a donné envie de lire cet ouvrage tient notamment à l’une de ses célèbres définitions de la nature sociale propre à l’humanité :

« Paleolithic Emotions, Medieval Institutions and God-Like technology. »

Ça pourrait vous intéresser :

La créativité humaine est ce qui rend notre espèce unique sur Terre. Pour comprendre les racines de notre créativité et qui nous sommes, il est essentiel de comprendre la science et l’humanité qui sont intimement liées. La notion des « humanités » est clef dans l’œuvre, et pourrait se définir comme les Lettres ou plutôt comme les Sciences Sociales en générale : arts créatifs, musique, discours, philosophie… et toutes les relations qui existent entre les individus.

Parmi les concepts qui m’ont plus, Wilson nous partage des définitions éclairées de ce qu’est la créativité et l’innovation, ce qui n’est pas chose facile à définir. La créativité est globalement évolutive (les artistes cherchent à innover et se différencier à travers l’originalité de leur œuvre). L’espèce humaine est unique dans le sens ou elle est la seule a avoir un vrai langage, construit, évolutif…

Les sciences humaines sont systématiquement dévaluées par rapport aux domaines scientifiques, ce qui est préjudiciable pour comprendre la nature humaine. Ces domaines ne devraient pas être en compétition mais le sont malheureusement très souvent, encore aujourd’hui.

Une course vers le tout technologique au détriment des humanités impacte notre contact avec la nature, la biodiversité, les métiers artisanaux et manuels (qui ont tendance à disparaître).

Les sciences et la technologie s’intéressent maintenant à l’origine du mental et de l’esprit, domaines autrefois réservés des sciences humaines. (La naissance de l’ingénierie cognitive appliquée à la cybersécurité, sujet de mon mémoire, en est une belle illustration 🙂

Nos conditions de pré-existences (sédentarité, coopération et échange) expliquent pourquoi nous nous intéressons de près à nos célébrités (car trop nombreux pour connaître tout le monde, on s’intéresse à certaines personnes uniquement, les plus innovantes, les plus provocantes, etc..)

Dans la lignée des grands récits qui s’intéressent à l’évolution de l’espèce humaine à travers l’histoire (Sapiens de Harari) ou dans son interaction avec la technologie (Le bug Human de Bohler ou Apocalypse Cognitive de Bronner), cet ouvrage par son angle sociobiologique est une belle découverte que je vous recommande !

A ma connaissance, cet ouvrage n’existe malheureusement pas en Français. L’écriture d’ Edouard O. Wilson est précise et agréable rendant le propos accessible.

Les concepts et idées ayant retenu mon attention

  • A team of psychologists from the University of Virginia and Harvard University recently found that volunteers disliked sitting alone for even as little as six minutes with nothing to do but think. The enjoyed mundane external activities more. They even preferred administering electric shocks to themselves if nothing else was available.

  • The full explanation of any biological phenomenon, including creativity in both science and the humanities, engages three levels of thoughts:

    1. What is it? Provide the structure and functions that define the phenomenon (a bird taking flight, your reading of this sentence, etc.)

    2. How was it put together? What were the events that resulted in the conditions of its origins, whether ten seconds or a thousand years ago?

    3. Why do the phenomenon and preconditions exist in the first place? Why not a different mode of evolution not present on this planet that might have produced a different kind of thinking brain?

  • The small events in prehuman evolution appears to have been a shift from a primarily vegetarian duit – fruit, seeds, soft foliage – to one with substantially more meat. The shift was made easier by the habitat in which it occurred.

  • No animal species, at least none out of the more than one million known, has a language. Linguists define it as the highest form of communication, an endless combination of words translatable into symbols, and (this is the important part) arbitrarily chosen to confer meaning.

  • What exactly is creative literature, by what means is language rendered as art? And how are we to judge it as such? The answer : by its innovation of style and metaphor, by its aesthetic surprise, by the lasting pleasure it gives.

  • Fine novels and antique photographs are pixels of history. Put together, they create an image of existence as people actually lived it, day by day, hour by hour, and in the case of literature, the emotions they felt. Finally, they trace some of the seemingly endless consequences that followed. That is why we so value Proust…

  • Innovation of this kind in the creative arts is important in a second way. The evolution of the arts parallels organic evolution int he manner they both work. The best artists and performers seek original ways to express themselves in image, sound, and story. Originality and style are everything, measured by the degree to which the innovations attract imitation.

  • The humanities, particularly the creative arts and philosophy, continue to lose esteem and support relative to the sciences for two primary reasons:

    • their leaders have kept stubbornly within the narrow audiovisual bubble we inherited happenstance from our prehuman ancestors

    • they have paid scant attention to the reasons why (and not just how) our thinking species acquired its distinctive traits.

  • Therein lies the dilemma of the humanities. They, and with them a large part of liberal education, are expected to describe and explain the essence of a social world of Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions, and go-like technology with no clear idea of meaning or purpose

  • The humanities, particularly the creative arts and philosophy, continue to lose esteem and support relative to the sciences

  • Like every other species surviving today, ours was just extraordinarily lucky. Over 98 percent of the species that ever lived have vanished

  • Without the invention of language we would have remained animals. Without metaphors we would still be savages.

  • Human beings are not only weak in grasping time but nearly unconscious of what is going on around them in present time. In our daily lives we imagine ourselves to be aware of everything in the immediate environment. In fact, we sense fewer than one thousandth of one percent of the diversity of molecules and energy waves that constantly sweep around and through us.

  • The Heart of the Matter confirms that for all our frivolities and foibles, we are (how to put it?) a decent people. We overreach, we boast, we fumble, we have an inordinate fondness for guns. our most celebrated heroes are not poets or scientists; few Americans can name event dozen of either living among us. Our heroes instead are billionaires, start-up innovators, nationally ranked entertainers, and champion athletes.

  • The humanities, in contrast, are supported primarily by educational institutions, which receive their income from tuition and endowments, along with a tax)based sliver from government. In the competition between science and the humanities for funds provided by the American people the humanities rank consistently lower than science.

  • Competition from faith-based culture is not the only force suppressing the humanities. For more potent is the digital revolution. Science and technology are not hostile to the humanities; They bend them to no supernatural dogma or blind ideology. Nevertheless, their competition has become overwhelming; Artisanal manufacture, garden agriculture, and commercial wild fishing are shrinking toward extinction. Automation, mass production and global communication increase the world economy, not the influence of the humanities, such that the best jobs are taken by those trained in science, technology, and technology commerce and low

  • 3 pre-conditions came together to produce a human-grade species:

    1. the creation of campsite, made possible by the shift in diet as early as the ancestral Homo erectus

    2. high levels of cooperation among members of the group. Each person knew all the others, and something about their labor roles, their ability, and their character.

    3. those with higher capacity of language had enjoyed higher survival and reproductive rates than their group-mate rivals; More importantly, in competition between groups, those who won were superior not only in mortal territorial agression but also in the ability to form alliances, develop trade, and extract materials and energy from sources in the natural environment.

  • The brain grew from 99cc in the ancestral Homo erectus to 1,300 cc or even higher in the early Homo sapiens. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we spend most of our time chattering while scribbling (gribouiller) pictures and symbols. and why, in societies too large to know all its members, we treasure and gossip about celebrities.

    • Like every other species surviving today, ours was just extraordinarily lucky. Over 98 percent of the species that ever lived have vanished

    • A playface is assumed by adults with young family children and often includes mock-biting (mordiller?). Play differs as genetic trait between boys and between girls, with boys prone to engage in imitation fighting, singly or between coalitions, as a way of expressing dominance. […] That all of these signals and movements are hardwired genetically is supported by their appearance in blind, deaf and mute infants. Although these infants have no previous visual or auditory experience, they engage in the same appropriate smiling and crying, plus calmness to denote a neutral mental state.

    • Why nature is mother? A speech by Julia Roberts on behalf of Conservation International

    I don’t really need people but people need me
    Yes, your future depends on me
    When I thrive, you thrive
    When I falter, you falter or worse
    But I’ve been here for eons
    I have fed species greater than you, and
    I have starved species greater than you

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