Jerome Bruner’s essential conditions of creativity

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post about creativity based on the thoughts of psychologist Jerome Bruner…

Harvard psychologist Jerome Bruner (1915–2016), was celebrated for his work in cognitive psychology and learning theory in education. In 1962, he published the book On Knowing: Essays for the Left Hand  — an exploration of, as he put it, “the act of knowing in itself and how it is shaped and in turn gives form to language, science, literature, and art.”

According to the marvellous website Brain Pickings, Bruner (pictured above) saw the left hand in a metaphorical sense — something that represented the power of intuition, imagination, and spontaneity — while he saw the right hand as symbolic of the “doer” or achiever.

The post goes on to address what it calls “one of the most illuminating essays” from the book, “The Conditions of Creativity,” in which Bruner wrote:

There is something antic about creating, although the enterprise be serious. And there is a matching antic spirit that goes with writing about it, for if ever there was a silent process, it is the creative one. Antic and serious and silent. 

If the subject of creativity interests you — and it should, if you’re a writer — then read this entire, erudite and thought-provoking post. I particularly like the way it concludes with a summary of Bruner’s six essential conditions of creativity.