But creative people are often also paradoxical. They show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an individual, each of them is a multitude. Mihaly describes ten traits often contradictory in nature , that are frequently present in creative people. In Creativity, Mihaly outlines these:.
They work long hours, with great concentration, while projecting an aura of freshness and enthusiasm. These are the dimensions of thinking that most creativity tests measure and that most workshops try to enhance. Great art and great science involve a leap of imagination into a world that is different from the present. Creative individuals, on the other hand, seem to exhibit both traits simultaneously.
It is remarkable to meet a famous person who you expect to be arrogant or supercilious, only to encounter self-deprecation and shyness instead. When tests of masculinity and femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers.
It is impossible to be creative without having first internalized an area of culture. At the same time, I walked away from the book with the impression that the historical data from the various avenues of Mormon culture did not support the idea of four major paradoxes that permeated Mormon culture. Another strength of the book is its positioning of Mormonism particularly nineteenth century Mormonism in the larger American context: a reader cannot truly appreciate the role of, say, dancing in LDS culture unless she knows with what vehemence the neighbors were preaching against it.
Similarly, thinking about Mormon pageants in the context of passion plays is innovative and ultimately elucidating. If I sound somewhat conflicted in my evaluation to this book, your perception is keen. Paradox, indeed. Looking at other faiths that have these same tensions could tell you whether it was the tensions that were driving the art or not.
Thanks, Julie. Does he say anything about these or other paradoxes in the international perspective of the expanding Church? Thanks for the review, Julie. I think this is an excellent point.
My first experiences with Mormon culture were with material culture as well as community performance. Of course, I was always interested in literature, but there was no apparent reason for me to turn to Mormon literature with as much passion as I did. Like Julie, I got more from the earlier sections of the book, which introduced and explored the paradoxes, providing some good food for thought.
I too thought the second half of the book was weaker as Givens moved into offering crititiques of specific works. He seemed to lose the forest for the trees. Still, I found the book an interesting and challenging read, containing much to ponder.
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To be honest, I personally found Givens irritating in the PBS documentary, The Mormons , yet I heard some lauding his writing, so I wanted to see how he came across in print. The early part of the book, exploring his basic perceived paradoxes, is the strongest thus far. I was going to post a review on this a couple of weeks ago but someone else at Mormon Mentality beat me to it.
I had some of the same concerns as Julie did.
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The title of the book is People of Paradox. The subtitle is A History of Mormon Culture. The fact is, there are in fact two books here, one about the paradoxes and one about the history. They should each have been expanded and kept as separate texts. I am not aware that there was ever a plan to make two books out of this by either Bro. Givens or OUP, but it would have been a good idea. Actually let me take that back a bit. Perhaps you can comment Rosalynde about how he takes it. My understanding of post-structuralism is that there is always an excess in anything versus its representation.
But even singular ideas never are quite the truth. We find truth in examing oppositions because we encounter the lack in our ideas and the excess that escapes them. Thus justice is more than we can conceive of. This gets at the rhetorical use of paradox. The logical paradox entails us to recognize that our premises are incorrect and thus a correction of the ideas that form our premises. So we form a balance that is always somewhat unstable.
Books - Cornell University Press
Givens is far more concerned with context and contextualization, and in that sense is doing something very different. But virtually all the poststructuralist theorists, from Derrida to Foucault to Marcuse and beyond, despite their differing aims and methods, share a preference for analytical tropes of disruption and struggle versus the old historicist and textual projects, which were more concerned with the unities of texts and worldviews.
Gene used it as the basis for a theory of holy dissent; Givens seems to want to use it as the basis of an organizational system for a somewhat disorganized corpus of revelation. At which point, it is no longer a paradox logically speaking. I mean, it does not appeal to me that your proffered definition of paradox:. But hey, you guys can define words however you find useful.
If that defines a useful concept for you, then power to the tribe. So, based on that, those humanities use the word times as often in their articles. I guess you can decide for yourself if that is a love affair :. Indeed I think Derridean deconstruction is all about context and contextualization. But also is basic to the rejection of foundationalism which at its heart is a motif of philosophy and knowing as a passive act.
People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture
In a sense the more Nietzschean approach I mentioned to Ben is a manifestation of this. Nietzsche had, perhaps, a tad too naive near Stoic conception of centers of power. But the basic idea is there. To be is to be engaged in strife. Art then has a rather unique following from this. But an other strain the eternal progression that seems to demand strife. These two moves: strife and passivity seem a tad unanalyzed in Mormon thought. If Givens does such an analysis perhaps I ought take up the book. I am interested when you say the idea of a rhetorical paradox goes back to Aristotle.
Did Aristotle separate logical and rhetorical paradoxes, and then call both of them paradoxes?
I believe Aristotle was very influenced by this. These aporias or contraries are often the result of our inquiry.
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If anyone is interested in being bored more by me on this topic, I wrote about it relative to Socratic Method a few years back. I then discussed it relative to Peirce, Socrates, and Derrida.