Paul Ricoeur and creative search

The origin of the creative act from a philosopher's perspective.

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Main illustration of the article Paul Ricoeur and creative search

One of the traits that distinguish human beings from other animals is its constant quest for extending the boundaries of what is known. Rational thought shows to the individual its needs and also its possible solutions.

According to Paul Ricoeur, when a human being is perceived as “in need” and imperfect, it discovers a wound, a lack of origin; this is, it becomes aware of its fragileness and that is exactly why it is driven to a relentless quest for reconstruction in every act, day by day.

“This idea of man being constitutionally fragile... is totally accessible to pure reflection and points out a trait of the human being”.

Paul Ricoeur¹

As mentioned, this ontological wound maintains the human being in a constant recreation movement. In the field of design we understand the creative act as a process, but in order for human intelligence to start it, a previous element is required: “imagination.” In this sense, creativity is “applied imagination” from which we recreate the world we inhabit; ideas in movement that change and shift the environment from what's more primal, like what we eat or dress, to the highest of artistic, scientific or technological processes.

From this perspective, creation has an inevitable ethical turn. The liberty of exercising imagination represents a social commitment, since it doesn't merely suppose novel ideas projected towards collective well-being or a simple playful experience; it has been used for acts of war, creation of social inequality and natural disasters.

In this sense, the creative act holds within itself a paradox: “control”, since creativity goes beyond the inspiring muse that disrupts all types of limitations. It is, above all things, a masterly technical-cognitive execution in service of originality for an idea, project, design or object, which must be inscribed from a critique turn that allows not only to question its novelty, but also its social impact. Therefore, the creative act, from an ethical approach, allows not only recreation by Ricoeur's philosophy: it also enables reconstruction of the flawed man and simultaneously, of the world.

The thoughts on creativity encompassed here do not distinguish any specific type of knowledge. The creative act is universal; the only difference lies in materials and elements using for the experimentation. From a personal perspective towards my activity, imagination in design is an endless bastion of shapes, where almost sculptural textures surpass the hesitating optic of its creator. The chromatic eye remembers the sounds of vertiginous experimental lines challenging conventionalism... everything from the perspective of the Other One that “I Am.”

Translated by Joel Alejandro Villarreal Bertoldi Córdoba

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  1. Ricoeur, Paul. Finitud y culpabilidad, Editorial Taurus Humanidades, versión castellana de Alfonso García Suárez y Luis M. Valdés Villanueva, Madrid, p.25

 

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