Knowledge and creativity

Knowledge is power.  We’ve heard it said.  However, I’ve always thought this saying to be well off the mark.

Wisdom is power.  Knowledge is just knowledge. One can be wise – and act wisely – with a little knowledge. Conversely, one can have vast amounts of knowledge and still make dumb decisions (like, based on greed, for example).

It is a similar case with creativity.  Knowledge is, of course, an important contributor to creativity.  The more you know, the more you can be creative. Knowledge often has a cyclic relationship with curiosity – each can stimulate or enhance the other – and curiosity goes hand in hand with creativity.

But knowledge is not creative ability itself.  One can be creative with little knowledge.  Do you know how to play a few notes on an instrument? You can be creative.  I preach this to my students and I live it.  I don’t wait for knowledge to allow myself to be creative.  You could say “I’m going to learn about this first; then I’m going to be creative.”  You can make a habit of this way of thinking and never create anything.

Creativity is like wisdom.  It makes good practice in spite of the degree of knowledge.

And like wisdom, creativity is power.

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