Free Daily Reads 2022: Article 258

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Misbehaving: being clever and wicked is a form of creativity


Article Summary

The author brings to light the dark side of creativity in this article. Dark creativity uses the creative process to do something socially unappealing and guided by self-interest. Harm might often be the byproduct of one’s actions.

Creativity has largely been viewed as a positive force. This notion has been challenged by the philosopher and educator Robert McLaren. He proposed that creativity has a dark side and that viewing it without a social or moral lens would lead to limited understanding. With time, newer concepts, negative and malevolent creativity, included conceiving original ways to cheat on tests or doing purposeful harm to others. The author and her academic advisor, Dr. Khan, took a problem and looked at it from two different points of view. They questioned whether both could be used and whether both were truly creative. They looked at the problem through four Ps of creativity- person (the individual engaging in the act), process (the strategy employed), product (the creative outcome itself) and press (the situation in hand). After a series of five experiments, they concluded that negative creativity is most likely to be displayed by intelligent individuals with subclinical personality traits.

One can argue that dark humour has the potential to psychologically harm others. Dr. Khan and the author found out that no matter what type of creative misbehaviour you engage in, someone might get hurt. It is the extent of harm compared with the benefit that we must figure out. There study has led to more questions than answers one of which is whether or not there really is a difference between a negatively and a positively creative person. The conclusion states that McLaren’s argument emphasized that creativity, like all human endeavors, had the potential to bring about unchecked harm. But all said and done, it’s up to us how we wield it.


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Words to learn from this Article:

Malevolent: wicked

Predisposed: inclined

Contention: argument, debate

Macabre: ghastly

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