May 28, 2005

Wolfe asks: "Do good people make good art?"

Interesting NR column on whether creativity is a virtue:
So where does this leave us? If creativity seems unequally distributed, can bring about destruction, does not intrinsically aid in the moral perfection of the creative individual, and has been tainted by the Romantic cult of genius, it doesn’t seem to warrant consideration as a virtue.

And yet there is something in most of us that accords a high measure of dignity and worth to the creative impulse. Nearly all the world’s religions are grounded in creation stories that also ennoble human beings as agents who perpetuate the divine act of creation by their own actions. In turn, each human action partakes in some measure of the supernatural powers of the creator.

On a personal level, we witness and are enriched by the grandeur of creativity when we see it embodied in art or engineering or statecraft. We sense that creativity lies at the heart of what makes us human, and that without it our lives would be spiritually and materially impoverished.

The world’s great religious traditions reinforce this intuition...While creativity itself may not be a virtue, then, I would argue that the truest, most unsentimental thing we can say about creativity is that it is a constant invitation to virtue...

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