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  • Published: 3 December 2018
  • ISBN: 9780141986340
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $22.99

The Origins of Creativity




The legendary biologist Edward O. Wilson offers his most philosophically probing work to date

'Creativity is the unique and defining trait of our species; and its ultimate goal, self-understanding,' begins Edward Wilson's sweeping examination of the humanities and their relationship to the sciences. By studying fields as diverse as paleontology, evolutionary biology and neuroscience, Wilson demonstrates that human creativity began not 10,000 years ago, as we have long assumed, but over 100,000 years ago in the Paleolithic Age. Chronicling the evolution of creativity from primates to humans, Wilson shows how the humanities, in large part spurred on by the invention of language, have played a previously unexamined role in defining our species. Exploring a surprising range of creative endeavors - the instinct to create gardens; the use of metaphors and irony in speech; or the power of music and song - Wilson proposes a transformational 'Third Enlightenment' in which the blending of science and the humanities will enable us to gain a deeper understanding of the human condition, and how it ultimately originated.

  • Published: 3 December 2018
  • ISBN: 9780141986340
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $22.99

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Praise for The Origins of Creativity

An intellectual hero ... A superb celebrator of science in all its manifestations

Ian McEwan

Darwin's great successor ... One of humanity's greatest and most intrepid explorers

Jeffrey Sachs

Wilson speaks with a humane eloquence which calls to us all

Oliver Sacks

As always, Wilson tosses off astonishing insights with charming ease (he's a master of the lyrically short sentence). These profoundly humane meditations on nature, creativity, and our primal yearnings will delight his longtime fans and provide newcomers with the perfect introduction to the career and ideas of one of our most distinguished living scientists--whose high-school nickname, I was enchanted to learn, was 'Snake Wilson

Jim Holt, author of 'Why Does the World Exist?'

From our senior statesman of Science comes this fascinating, eloquent, and important reflection on the vital kinship between the Humanities and the Sciences, the well of creativity fueling them both, and our need as a species to combine their truths to deal with today's demanding problems. It's a message that couldn't be more timely

Diane Ackerman, author of 'The Zookeeper's Wife'

With his trademark boundless intellect and elegant writing, Wilson argues that we need both the sciences and the humanities in order to understand the deep origins of what makes us human

Alan Paige Lightman, physicist, novelist, and Professor of the Practice of the Humanities at MIT

A meditation on how our genetic and cultural nature shapes our experience of the world, and how that in turn influences the form and content of our creative output ... A stimulating ride

Dan Jones, Nature

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