Is everyone creative? Sure they are but in very different ways and to varying degrees. There is a big difference between the folksong you wrote for your college sweetheart and a symphony composed by Beethoven. Our democratic longing to make everyone and everything equal has lead us to make creative greatness indistinguishable from an act of personal expression. What is lacking is meaningful appreciation of the different levels of creativity and how we can use them as steps for increasing our own potential.
Borrowing from everyone from Aristotle to Zappa, let’s examine the five levels and types of creativity, from the easiest to the most difficult to master, and some of the creative methodologies associated with each.
Mimesis is a term passed down to us from the Ancient Greeks meaning to imitate or mimic. This is the most rudimentary form of creativity. Animals from Caledonian crows to orangutans have the ability to create tools simply by observing other creatures. Watch a mother and child together and it becomes clear that we do the same. It is the foundation of the learning process.
An often overlooked form of creativity is simply taking...