Memory and creativity
historical and conceptual intersections
Creativity and memory are typically considered opposite processes in psychology and contemporary culture. Memory is often conceptualized as simply a register of the past and is evaluated based on accuracy. Conversely, creativity is seen as a future-oriented process, typically breaking with the past and generating new and useful products. However, if we are to consider the historical development of these concepts, we will find that, in Ancient Greece, creativity was classified under memory and memory itself was associated with divine inspiration (Mnemosyne was the mother of the nine muses—the liberal arts). The aim of the present chapter is to reconnect these two phenomena by situating them within a broader culture perspective and observing their historical trajectory. Within this long history, the emergence and development of technologies of reproduction (starting from writing, then printing, and up to the digital revolution) have actively shaped both the actual dynamic of memory and creativity and their conceptualization in the humanities and social sciences. While the appearance of printing reinforced an image of memory founded on the idea of reproduction, it simultaneously offered the very antithesis of creativity: exact replication as the "non-creative.' The implications of this divergence will be explored, as well as modern-day possibilities for synthesis through the accelerated development of the digital age. In our historical context, a vision of "repetition' as reconstruction aids sociocultural efforts to theorize memory and creativity as the two sides of the same coin.
Wagoner, B. (2016)., Memory and creativity: historical and conceptual intersections, in J. Valsiner, G. Marsico, N. Chaudhary & V. Dazzani (eds.), Psychology as the science of human being, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 67-83.
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