The Origins of Creativity
"Creativity is the unique and defining trait of our species; and its ultimate goal, self-understanding," begins Edward O. Wilson's sweeping examination of the humanities and its relationship to the sciences. By studying fields as diverse as paleontology, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience, Wilson demonstrates that human creativity began not 10,000 years ago, as we have long assumed, but over 100,000 years ago in the Paleolithic Age. Chronicling the evolution of creativity from primates to humans, Wilson shows how the humanities, in large part spurred on by the invention of language, have played a previously unexamined role in defining our species. Exploring a surprising range of creative endeavors-the instinct to create gardens, the use of metaphors and irony in speech, the power of music and song- Wilson proposes a transformational "Third Enlightenment" in which the blending of science and humanities will enable a deeper understanding of the human condition and how it ultimately originated.
- Hardback | 256 pages
- 150 x 218 x 23mm | 420g
- 03 Oct 2017
- WW Norton & Co
- Liveright Publishing Corporation
- United States
"Luminous. . . . A concise, thoughtful exploration of how human understanding will be enhanced by `a humanistic science and a scientific humanities.'" -- Kirkus Reviews "Wilson makes a case for blending an understanding of the sciences into the humanities in his latest work, raising provocative questions in the process." -- Publisher's Weekly "With his trademark boundless intellect and elegant writing, Wilson argues that we need both the sciences and the humanities in order to understand the deep origins of what makes us human." -- Alan Lightman, physicist, novelist, and professor of the practice of the humanities at MIT "Within The Origins of Creativity, E.O. Wilson returns to his most fertile-and most controversial-ideas: the role of biology within human behavior. Always forging ahead, he considers our most abstract behaviors: the apprehension of beauty and our yearning to recreate it. The grand result is a wholly new take on how even our most monumental ideas trace their origins to the organic expression of our human biology." -- Hope Jahren, author of Lab Girl "Professor Wilson has managed to stay interesting and provocative decade after decade, and this latest volume is no exception. It will make you think long and hard and fruitfully!" -- Bill McKibben, author Radio Free Vermont "From our senior statesman of science comes this fascinating, eloquent, and important reflection on the vital kinship between the humanities and the sciences, the well of creativity fueling them both, and our need as a species to combine their truths to deal with today's demanding problems. It's a message that couldn't be more timely." -- Diane Ackerman, author of The Zookeeper's Wife "As always, Wilson tosses off astonishing insights with charming ease (he's a master of the lyrically short sentence). These profoundly humane meditations on nature, creativity, and our primal yearnings will delight his longtime fans and provide newcomers with the perfect introduction to the career and ideas of one of our most distinguished living scientists-whose high school nickname, I was enchanted to learn, was 'Snake Wilson.'" -- Jim Holt, author of Why Does the World Exist? "Brimming with ideas . . . . The Origins of Creativity approache[s] creativity scientifically but sensitively, feeling its roots without pulling them out." -- Economist
About Edward O. Wilson
Edward O. Wilson is widely recognized as one of the world's preeminent biologists and naturalists. The author of more than twenty books, including The Creation, The Social Conquest of Earth, The Meaning of Human Existence, and Letters to a Young Scientist, Wilson is a professor emeritus at Harvard University. The winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, he lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.