Blog of Sara Jakša

Creativity and Jung's Functions: Eight Ways to be Creative

I know that when I am listening to the criticisms of the school systems, a lot of times the part that is mentioned is that it stifles creativity. Children are apparently more creative than the adults precisely because the school destroys the creative spark inside every one of us. I don't agree with this, but that might be because I don't consider the creativity as the ability to color outside of the line, but as a way to solve problems. This article on ego creativity and Jung's personality also agree with me, as they define creativity as 'impulse to solve problems'.

They also present the 8 different ways of creativity, based on which ever is the person's strongest function. While it is based on the ego related expression of the function, which would mean that there this is not a way how a person would be able to use all different modes of creativity. One can only use the ones, that are related to the conscious functions, which is most cases are at least the first two. So I, an INTP, can use at least the two based on the Ti and Ne function, while an ISFJ person would be able to use at least the ones based on Si and Fe.

So how to this creativity look in real life? Let us start with the judging functions, simply because it is the image of the perceiving functions that create what people normally imagine as creativity.

The Ti way of being creative is called analyzing. This is when people with logical analysis came to some new way of looking at the thing, that in hindsight seems a lot of times obvious, but a lot of times people simply don't think of it. The way how Gregory House from House MD is tackling problems is quite a good demonstration of it. He takes the information (draws is on the whiteboard) and then he finds out what fits, in some situation, by looking at the problem from different point of view. Other example is how the lay people imagine the scientist work looks like. A lot of time they are imagining, that these people brilliantly came up with the new insights based on their knowledge (but read the Kuhn's work about the paradigms, if you want to see why this picture is wrong). Some people also mention that Elon Musk solves problems by going to the first principles. If this is true, that this would also be a good example of how the Ti creativity looks like.

The extroverted version of this, so the Te based creativity, is more based on organizing the world, that is why it is called organizing. This is when people came up with system, sometimes genius system, to keep the things in order. They can be on the abstract level, like the elements in the periodic table or more in the real world, for example an organizational structure of the organization. There are a couple of examples of people that do this. The first that come to my mind is Lelouch Lamperuge from the Code Geass, and the second one is Kudou Shinichi/Edogawa Conan from Detective Conan. They are both quite creative and efficient in how they use different situations and people in order to reach their goals. A more practical example would be people coming with different frameworks, let this be in business, like the kaizen framework, or in information systems, like the COBIT, or COBISS system for libraries.

This is different for the Fe type of creativity, which is teamwork. While Te is based on organizing, the Fe is more based on how to get the people to work in a way to achieve more than they would be able for themselves. Looking from afar, they can look quite similar, but the process they are using is quite different. And example of Fe type of creativity would be, the most obvious, the coaches of different sport teams. Every movie, where they was an underdog team and they won on the end usually had the coach that used this type if creativity to get them there. The motivational speeches that these people are making are also quite famous. I sadly can not think of any other specific examples, but these are usually the people, where the team is the results of the creativity, not some other result. These are the people, where other people feel like they are part of the team and so on.

The last one based on the judging function, is the one based on the Fi function, the evaluating creativity. This one is based on the evaluating criteria, let it be moral, ethical, aesthetics or any other, and acting in accordance to it. So these can be the people that started the political correctness, people that fight of the protection of 'weak' groups, the people that started the French revolution at the end of the 18th century, or the ones starting the Russian revolution in the 20th century. The poets dealing with beauty can also be part of this. I can actually not remember a single specific example right now, except the usually ones, like Martin Luther King or Gandhi.

Now that we have finished the judging part of the function spectrum, let us turn to the perceiving ones. The first one is Se type of creativity, because unlike the article, I think this is what most people imagine when they talk about creativity (but that might be just my impression). It is called experimental creativity. They are the people that take the situation and things as given, and used them in the best way possible. It can be the audience and the word that is given in the impro theater, firefighters deciding about how to react in the stressful situation, or not just firefighters, but also solders, pilots and so on. I would say that Natasha Romanoff in the MCU is quite a good example of that. It is hard to give example, when there are a lot more people in real life that I know, who use it, than I can remember from the historical or fictional settings. Imagine a person that gets the best out of any kind of stressful situation. Well, these are these kind of people. Though, now that I think about it, based on my description, they don't seems like the pinnacle of creativity, but this is more based on me being that good in putting my knowledge into world, than them not actually looking creative.

The ones that the article claims to be most 'traditionally' creative are people using Ne. This creativity is called synthesizing. These are the people that see the idea and they can see how the idea could be used in a different setting. One example would be people like Kahneman and so on, who put the psychology concepts in the economics, with their prospect theory. Or, on the other end of the spectrum of being useful, the people that took quantum physics and decided that this is a good way to make people grow, AKA The Secret and other types based on this. I have this as two of my strongest creativity, and I can say how this looks like. I can be doing, watching and reading something, and then I would connect this to the different problem. I could use programming concepts in preparing for my economics exam, language learning to help me with the public speaking during Toastmasters or having idea from Toastmasters help me with suggestion for other people. It is sort of like associations of ideas, but since I also use Ti, it is association of usefulness of ideas for problem solving. It is quite fun. I guess people using Fi instead of Ti would be more directed toward moral, meaningfulness and people aspects.

The next one is based on the Ni function and it is called transforming creativity. This creativity is the one that allow people to see thought the world, to the potential, that is hiding in the world. It can be like in the fiction writers, like the Gene Roddenberry when he created Star Trek or like in Isaac Asimov, when he wrote his stories. It can also be seen in not only people that can predict what the future would look like, but also in people that can see the essence of anything in what is it now and what it could be. I am not that good in this one, and, to tell the truth, it scares the shit out of me. It can be seen in the fictional characters, like the Ra's al Ghull from Batman Begins or add the name of almost any character than had the talent to see what the world could be, for the better or worse.

And now we have the last one, based on the Si, and called the Knowing creativity. This one is based on the knowledge that already exist, the experience that the person already has, the memories, the knowledge banks that are full of facts and processes. This one would not be normally called creative in a layman sense of being creative. But since the creativity is a way to solve problems, I think it is just as creative as any of the above. It is not easy to remember all the possible ways you have had a contact with and decide which one is the best one for this specific situation, based on the amassed knowledge. If you ever met a person, that would bring forth from memory the solution for everything, these are these people. Even though I can not remember any fictional example right now, I would like to say that I really respect these people. Si-Te way of solving problems is powerful, and I am always surprised at the Si-Fe way of problem solving, because I am not that good (read: not good at all) at it.

For the end, I am adding the names of all the different types of creativity.

Function Name of Creativity
Ti Analyzing
Te Organizing
Fe Team-working
Fi Evaluating
Se Experimenting
Ne Synthesizing
Ni Transforming
Si Knowing