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Creativity and Civil Discourse

Diversity, creativity, civic discourse

Recently, much public discourse (as reported in the news) has been scathing and vitriolic. Individuals representing different sides of a debate have not prepared and delivered thoughtful support for their ideas, but rather have quickly escalated rhetoric to be critical and demeaning of the opinions and positions of others. This method of dealing with problems is not productive and does not encourage or support the development of creative solutions.

Society faces national and world problems that are complex. If such problems were easy to solve, they would not continue to plague nations. Moreover, those who want to develop creative solutions need to understand that angry denunciations and discounting speech does not lead to any type of solution, and name-calling and disparaging discourse is decidedly uncreative. Moreover, saying “ain’t it awful” has never solved a problem.

Creative solutions are only advanced when thoughtful individuals are willing to discuss problems and consider alternatives. Therefore, dialogue that encourages creativity needs to be revived, creative alternatives need to be discussed, and best solutions need to be implemented.

Creative individuals will seek to maximize a problem solution[1]. In order to maximize a problem solution, committed individuals need to be willing to consider diverse opinions without demonizing contemporaries. Dismissing others because they speak about issues differently or employ different methods to gain results will not support creative solutions. Instead, those involved in creative problem solving must show respect for the work of others and acknowledge varied opinions. Alternate perspectives come from individuals who have different lived experiences, and creativity is likely to be activated when diverse outlooks are integrated into a creative solution.

[1] Maximization is a type of decision-making that is characterized by a search for the best option. Best refers to the most advantageous set of circumstances for all concerned in any situation. Maximizing assumes that a thorough search of options will yield one best choice. This term is often associated with capitalism and used in the context of maximizing profit, but may also refer to any situation that may be optimized.

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