Edward Wilson keeps disappointing.
I would love to read a biologist's view on
"The Origins of Creativity", but this is certainly not it.
The title of the book is completely misleading.
The book says nothing about the origins of creativity, and nothing in general
about creativity. If you take Wilson literally, this book actually says
that creativity does not exist: we are just programs executing a code.
But the book is so devoid of any scientific proof that it is hard to say
what it talks about.
Mostly, i perceive it as an attack on the humanities, whom Wilson accuses
of not being scientific enough. In other words, stop writing poetry and
start studying some Einstein.
The humanities, according to him, are "rootless in their explanations of causation and they exist within a bubble of sensory experience." And "they remain largely unaware and uncaring about the evolutionary events of prehistory that created the human mind, which after all created the history on which the humanities focus."
One problem is that he shows very little knowledge of the humanities, which
is a giant field.
For example, when he discusses cinema, he picks two Indiana Jones films
that don't make my top 500 list of best films of all times.
It's like someone drawing conclusions on science after reading a medieval
The other problem is that
he has nothing to blame on the sciences, only on the humanities, hence he
misses the whole point of why people like
C.P. Snow worried about the "two cultures".
(For the record, i have been organizing art/science events all my life,
such as the LASER series and the
Pretty much the only thing i liked about this book is his definition of
"creativity": "the innate quest for originality".
Unfortunately, he does little to elaborate on this definition.
You can find my own takes on this in my numerous essays.
The book ends on an optimistic note that is not justified by what preceded
it and that it is very puzzling for those of us who work in this field.
Quote: "the blending of scientific and humanistic thought is increasing with time... the synergy between them is accelerating".
No evidence is presented about this. I haven't seen Leonardos popping up
everywhere, but maybe he has.
I am not sure what exactly Wilson wants the humanities to do, but i fear that
he simply wants them to disappear, to merge with the sciences, and accept
the only form of creativity is the one that comes from academic careers like
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