Friday, December 9, 2016
In this article, game designer Sande Chen looks at the science of creativity, as inspired by quantum physics.
A few days ago, I started reading the book, Quantum Creativity, by Amit Goswami. A retired professor in theoretical physics, Goswami views creativity through the lens of quantum physics. And just like quantum physics was a leap away from Newtonian physics, so too is what Goswami calls "quantum creativity." While Goswami did intend this book for people not familiar with quantum physics, it's not actually that easy to follow.
What I have gleaned is that creativity can be understood as belonging into two categories: inner and outer creativity. You can have one without the other, but merging both together is immensely better.
Outer creativity is the manifestation of expression in the arts and the sciences that we would have no problem calling creative. We see the works of art. We see the scientific discoveries. Inner creativity, however, is about spiritual transformation and growth. It's about meaningful context. Psychologist Abraham Maslow distinguished this type of creativity as self-actualizing creativity and for outer creativity, he used the term, talent-driven creativity.
Learning about the science behind human creativity made me see that my search for meaningfulness in stories and games is likely because I don't want an inner and an outer creativity in a dichotomy, broken down into Hero's Journey and Heroine's Journey, but as an entwined creative experience that can be led by emotions and admired or felt on a spiritual level.
I realize I may be headed into the New Age-y zone with this book, but I did find it interesting to see a perspective so different from my own experience. Never would I have thought that quantum physics would contain such insights into the workings of creativity. I think it's important to read these different perspectives and I expect I will definitely be reading this book over to try to understand it better.
Sande Chen is a writer and game designer whose work has spanned 10 years in the industry. Her credits include 1999 IGF winner Terminus, 2007 PC RPG of the Year The Witcher, and Wizard 101. She is one of the founding members of the IGDA Game Design SIG.