When we consider the “nurture” side of the creativity dilemma, there is also an impressive amount of evidence that we can point toward. The rise of higher education systems throughout the world has coincided with the rapid increase in technological advancement, social order, scientific discovery, and artistic achievement that we have witnessed in the past half millennia; there is very little debate over whether the rate of humanity’s progress has sped up.
This embracing of creativity and artistic expression has allowed millions of people around the world to pursue non-traditional careers and passions, which would have been forbidden or deemed useless in earlier periods of history, and it is likely that this is responsible for the upsurge in creative productivity. It is much more of stretch to assume that our brains have naturally evolved over a miniscule time period (in terms of evolutionary progress) to spur such advancement and the explosion of creativity that has defined modern times. It is far more convincing to argue that given an environment where free thought is allowed and cherished, and liberated from the traditional demands on our time and energy for survival and reproduction, many more people were able to learn how to be creative.
Throughout life, the human brain is subject to something called imprinting. Although this process slows down considerably as we age, it means that there is some malleability and flexibility within the structure of the brain after a person is born. Entire fields of study and commercial industries depend on this fact. Experts urge parents to read to their children, expose them to new languages at a young age, be careful what they say, mind their body language, and show affection to their offspring. These are just a few of the thousands of things that could affect the way that a child’s brain develops and, thus, how that child perceives the world.
Everything that a child is exposed to, even from before the time that it takes its nascent steps, could have an effect on the development of its future character. This idea of imprinting is often considered one of the strongest arguments put forward by the “nurture” camp in relation to the development of creativity. What if certain brains never stop the imprinting process? What if the process could actually speed up, rather than slowing down? The mysteries of the brain are such that nothing is inconceivable, and many of the most creative individuals of today often cite their upbringing, education, and childhood passions as the primary motivation for their interest in and pursuit of their respective creative outlets.
With the massive leaps forward being made in technology, stable societal structures, unrivaled educational systems, mass globalization, and hyper-access to information that abound in this digital age, it seems inevitable that the environment around us will be a huge, causative factor in the development of our personalities. Without being too reductive, this line of argument is essentially a case of “monkey see, monkey do.” Following the nuturists’ line of reasoning, the incredible wave of creativity that we have experienced in recent years can be explained by our perpetually being inspired by others and motivated to do great things through witnessing the brilliant feats of innovation that surround us.
We have far greater access to the ideas and success stories of others, leading us to train and develop our own creative spirit. We see the fruits of the same potential that lies within all of us, made manifest in the achievements of others. With the right stimuli over the course of our lives, our impressionable, pliable personalities should be able to be sculpted in any number of ways, right?
Unfortunately, the argument for nurture is too often postulated through a negative assertion. This is not always effective, as it tends to sway many people toward believing that creativity and genius are ultimately natural gifts that can only be emulated and aspired to, rather than achieved with work and practice. This negative approach can be heard from every person who ever points to a negative aspect of society and tries to use this to explain a behavior that is lacking in morality, kindness, or common sense.
They may blame their recent actions on the environment they grew up in; the influences that have affected them since childhood; or the lack of direction given to them by figures who traditionally provide guidance, such as teachers, parents, community members, or other role models. This negative assertion states that when bad nurturing takes place, good results are never the outcome. Too often, these are the kinds of arguments that are used in support of the nurture side of the debate. Know more about the nurture side of human creativity only at the University Canada West.