The Heroism of Being a Contrarian: Jacob Bronowski on the Essential Character Trait of the Creative Person

“The creative personality is always one that looks on the world as fit for change and on himself as an instrument for change.”


The Heroism of Being a Contrarian: Jacob Bronowski on the Essential Character Trait of the Creative Person

“If one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes,” Van Gogh wrote in a magnificent letter to his brother about how taking risks and making inspired mistakes moves us forward. He was speaking, of course, from the only perspective he knew — as an artist and a human being — but he was also speaking to a central principle of creativity that holds true in art, science, and any human endeavor.

That principle is what the great Polish-born British mathematician, biologist, writer, and historian of science Jacob Bronowski (January … Read the rest

The Heroism of Being a Contrarian: Jacob Bronowski on the Essential Character Trait of the Creative Person

“The creative personality is always one that looks on the world as fit for change and on himself as an instrument for change.”


The Heroism of Being a Contrarian: Jacob Bronowski on the Essential Character Trait of the Creative Person

“If one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes,” Van Gogh wrote in a magnificent letter to his brother about how taking risks and making inspired mistakes moves us forward. He was speaking, of course, from the only perspective he knew — as an artist and a human being — but he was also speaking to a central principle of creativity that holds true in art, science, and any human endeavor.

That principle is what the great Polish-born British mathematician, biologist, writer, and historian of science Jacob Bronowski (January … Read the rest

Polish Poet and Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska on How Our Certitudes Keep Us Small and the Generative Power of Not-Knowing

“Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous ‘I don’t know.’”


Polish Poet and Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska on How Our Certitudes Keep Us Small and the Generative Power of Not-Knowing

“Attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion,” the great painter Richard Diebenkorn counseled in his ten rules for beginning creative projects. “One doesn’t arrive — in words or in art — by necessarily knowing where one is going,” the artist Ann Hamilton wrote a generation later in her magnificent meditation on the generative power of not-knowing. “In every work of art something appears that does not previously exist, and so, by default, you work from what you know to what you don’t know.”

What is true of art is even truer of life, for a human life is the greatest work … Read the rest

Polish Poet and Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska on How Our Certitudes Keep Us Small and the Generative Power of Not-Knowing

“Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous ‘I don’t know.’”


Polish Poet and Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska on How Our Certitudes Keep Us Small and the Generative Power of Not-Knowing

“Attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion,” the great painter Richard Diebenkorn counseled in his ten rules for beginning creative projects. “One doesn’t arrive — in words or in art — by necessarily knowing where one is going,” the artist Ann Hamilton wrote a generation later in her magnificent meditation on the generative power of not-knowing. “In every work of art something appears that does not previously exist, and so, by default, you work from what you know to what you don’t know.”

What is true of art is even truer of life, for a human life is the greatest work … Read the rest