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The Courage to Create Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 1976
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What if imagination and art are not, as many of us might think, the frosting on life, but the fountainhead of human experience? What if our logic and science derive from art forms, rather than the other way around?In this trenchant volume, Rollo May helps all of us find those creative impulses that, once liberated, offer new possibilities for achievement.
A renowned therapist and inspiring guide, Dr. May draws on his experience to show how we can break out of old patterns in our lives. His insightful book offers us a way through our fears into a fully realized self.
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- Publisher : Bantam Books; Bantam Edition: December 1976 (December 1, 1976)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 173 pages
- ISBN-10 : 055302955X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0553029550
- Item Weight : 3.2 ounces
- Best Sellers Rank: #6,836,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #3,873 in Popular Psychology Creativity & Genius
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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The Courage To Create is one of the best books I have read this year. Like many of the great books that enter in my life at a particular moment of my individual journey, this book came to me during a timely moment of creation.
I am struggling to write #Book3YinYang. The major struggle is not about the creativity itself, it's to understand the "creative" as the subjective and objective entity.
For the first time, when I started writing in the creative zone with #Book1YinYang, I believed what people believe when the fall in love-- it will never last.
But as a career novelist, Now, I understand that Art is like any long term relationship.
It can't survive on Aha moments alone.
It is bound to have those days of agony when getting to work becomes a struggle.
But that is the beauty of pursuing the career as an artist.
You have to practice Yang-- method of creation.
You have to practice Yin-- the beauty of moments.
And only when both of them are applied, the Father and Mother are present, true creativity comes to life.
The argument of creativity in the book revolves around three elements – courage, unconscious and encounter. Each of these words assume a new meaning in this book, a meaning orthogonal to dictionary definition of these words, which makes understanding the arguments a bit difficult. What’s required from the reader is a forgetting of the essence of these words and an attempt to look at the arguments with ingenuous eyes; with a novel look the arguments would start to make sense. The reader would then realize what Rollo May means when he says that “A painter paints a picture with the same feelings as that with which a criminal commits a crime,” or that “Creativity is indeed to forge in a smithy in one’s soul the uncreated conscious of the world. It is difficult, perhaps so as the writers call it a battle with the Gods. It’s for this reason it requires courage to triumph into the unknown.” Amid many such quips and intelligent arguments, Rollo May ends his argument without proof or supporting examples with this assertion - “Creativity is yearning for immortality, hence a battle with Gods.” What a reader makes out of it is your prerogative. The quotes above are from the chapter on creativity and the remaining book talks about role of unconscious and encounter in creativity. The element of unconscious is explained by using an example from Henri Poincare’s autobiography. It can be summarized in many ways but is best left for the reader to read in the book. Similar to unconscious, the idea of encounter in creativity is elusive and therefore little attempt is made to define it but only explain it through relevant examples and assume that the reader will for his/her own opinion of the examples. This book although labeled as a text in Psychology may be closer to a text in Philosophy.
This book may leave the reader with an uncanny feeling of knowing a few concepts that she/he is not able to explain in clear words either to self or to friends. That shouldn’t come as a surprise as if it was difficult for the author himself to describe what he was trying to communicate, it is not surprising that the reader may be left with the same feeling. No wonder there are few meaningful and detailed reviews on this book.
Nevertheless, however much elusive the concepts in the book are, if methodically internalized could help anyone engaged in creativity process understand his/her own thought process.
I lack the words to do it justice! Read it!
Top reviews from other countries
"The book, even though it dates from the 70's, still seems quite current in how it portrays people and the world around us. Some parts of reality are a bit different now, but overall the main discussion throughout the book sounds valid and is very well thought through. Even though on the back it is classed as being on the subject of 'Psychology', I would personally have classed this book as being more along the lines of 'Philosophy'.
There were only a few parts in the book that I considered dated or odd, but these parts ended up leading to interesting points anyway, so I cannot fault them. I read the book in about a week, reading 10-20 pages at a time, the book having about 140 pages, at least in the edition I received.
Although I am an artist, I did find the author's psychoanalytic background to be very refreshing, not to mention the content was written plainly and with clarifications, so I would definitely recommend this book to other artists, regardless of what media they use, because the way the author approaches creativity as a whole is very methodical and may help us better understand our own processes of creative activity.
I think what will really stick with me, is the fact that this book acted as a confirmation of sorts for certain pre-conscious concepts I already had, bringing them to the front of my mind and giving me a chance to integrate these thoughts more fully into how I personally view art, the artist and the people who are not artists but nonetheless appreciate the arts.
I am not familiar with the author's other works yet, but after reading this, my interest for them has certainly been piqued."
Reviewed in India on August 20, 2021