Friday, August 05, 2011

Fear of a creative planet?

Mike Madison has a provocative post about research suggesting a bias against creativity. Of course, when it comes to creative financial instruments, that fear seems to have been well-founded, but new artistic styles are a little harder to connect to social collapse (though there have been plenty of condemnations of degenerate art, so I'm indulging in my own causal biases). As described, the research doesn't actually seem to have been about art but about evaluations of product ideas, though the reporter was readily willing to extrapolate.

Law has formally set its face against fear of creativity in various ways, from having a minimum utility requirement in patent to Holmes' famous statement that
It would be a dangerous undertaking for persons trained only to the law to constitute themselves final judges of the worth of pictorial illustrations, outside of the narrowest and most obvious limits. At the one extreme, some works of genius would be sure to miss appreciation. Their very novelty would make them repulsive until the public had learned the new language in which their author spoke.
If there is a fear of creativity, my guess is that it's worse when the creativity comes from an outgroup or a group you're not a member of--consider the overwhelmingly white judiciary's reception of rap, for example, where most judges showed no interest in learning the new language in which the artists spoke.

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