Creativity has been on a downward spiral in many segments of society as a result of profound information overload. We can call up information on almost any topic with a few clicks of the keyboard. As a result, we’ve gained massive amounts of awareness into the way our world works and into things and people and places of which we would previously have never been exposed. And yet we’ve lost something, too: We’ve lost a sense of the powerful dangers of knowledge. We’ve lost the ability to create meaning and substance out of the power of not-knowing.
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Not long ago, there existed a phenomenon called “not knowing.” Pre-internet, there were times when “I don’t know” was not just an acceptable answer to a question—it was the only answer. Pre-internet, people would say, “I don’t know,” and move on with their lives, rather than immediately Googling the answer to whatever question was being asked. Sometimes you simply didn’t know and moved on with your life. Other times, you didn’t know, and so you created an answer by fashioning a story that explained things in a way that made sense to you. Mythology, world religion, and the earliest days of science, exploration, and discovery were all rooted in the attempt to craft a story that fit the reality mankind perceived to exist.
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With more access to more information than at any point in human history, society has become incurious and willfully ignorant about things that we should never have allowed to slip aside. Most damaging of all, an incurious culture is the fastest, most effective way to destroy creativity and genius.
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In a time when people didn’t immediately know everything, society fostered curiosity, exploration, and discovery. The thrill of the new was sparked by a dissatisfaction with a lack of knowledge or understanding. The creative process began, and still begins, from a place of curiosity and not-knowing.
Link to the rest at Medium
PG will suggest that “incurious cultures” have abounded throughout history. Indeed, incurious cultures may be the historical norm with few exceptions.
PG further suggests the curiosity of individuals has proven far more important than the curiosity or lack of curiosity of the cultures in which they lived although a wealthy culture could fund (or crush) the curiosity of creative individuals.
Wealthy cultures can attract creative individuals by supporting their efforts. Due to the business creativity of the Medici family, Florence became a prominent center of medieval trade and commerce. The Medici Bank was the largest bank in Europe during the 15th century due to innovations in financial accounting and bank management, with branches in Rome, Venice, Geneva, Bruges, London, Pisa, Avignon, Milan, and Lyon, some of which were formed as limited liability partnerships.
What we would today call the Trust Departments of the Medici banks managed large portions of the funds owned by the Roman Catholic Church and many wealthy European families.
Medici wealth attracted great artists, sculptors and architects to Florence, including Brunelleschi, Donatello, Ghiberti, the Della Robbias, Filippo Lippi and Angelico, Botticelli, Paolo Uccello, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
The bank’s network helped support the Medici patronage of the arts. For example, Cosimo de’ Medici forwarded money from Florence through the Pisa branch so Donatello could pay for marble.