The Origins of Creativity - Edward O. Wilson

Staff Pick

By training and practice, Edward O. Wilson is one of the pre-eminent biologists of our time, and is perhaps unmatched in myrmecology, the study of ants. Luckily, Wilson has ranged far beyond his specialty, and as books like The Meaning of Human Existence show, Wilson is as much a philosopher as he is a scientist. He carries on this dual practice in his brilliant The Origins of Creativity (Liveright, $24.95), though he would say that science and philosophy are not parallel modes of inquiry, but exist along one continuum. This essential connection between the sciences and the humanities is the heart of the vision of a third Enlightenment that he outlines here. The two have always been linked, despite C.P. Snow’s diverging “two cultures,” forming parts of one mutually reinforcing coevolution, with language—the “supreme achievement, genetic in origin, cultural in its elaboration,” uniting them. Wilson’s own language is lucid, elegant, and irresistibly quotable: “the realm of science is everything possible in the universe, the realm of the humanities is everything conceivable to the human mind,” he says. And by utilizing these capacities to their fullest, we as a species can accomplish much, including solving the mystery of human consciousness and discovering “why we exist.” As apt to draw examples from film, literature, and music as he is from the natural world, Wilson, who has collaborated with the poet Robert Hass on The Poetic Species, is perhaps his own best example of the kind of wide-ranging, ever-inquiring mind he describes.

The Origins of Creativity By Edward O. Wilson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781631493188
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Liveright - October 3rd, 2017