The Concept of Creative Ecology

At times, life can seem like a perfectly tuned clock, with every gear rotating in its way, yet still in perfect harmony with others. Well, the human ecosocial systems theory holds a similar view of our everyday social environment. But what are the ecosocial systems exactly, and how do they relate to creativity and ecology?

Human Ecosocial Systems

According to this theory, interactions, and relationships among people, surroundings, and resources make for complex adaptive systems termed ecosocial systems, which give meaning to our lives. 

On a macro level, the primary interest of human ecosocial systems is to produce, develop, and share knowledge to ensure continuous improvement and development. On a micro level, every person has an environment; the person gives shape to their environment and vice versa. 

From an environmental viewpoint, this interaction between an individual and their environment is the focal point of the ecosystem. In other words, we develop, learn, and achieve every day by interacting with and perceiving our environment. 

Moreover, when the notion of ecology is applied to personal achievement, development, and learning, this theory sees every person’s purpose, goals, ambitions, and needs, and their physical and social relations with their environment, as interdependent and inseparable. 

Thus, human ecosocial systems theory represents a holistic view of life in which moments connect into achievements and experiences that are meaningful to us.

Ecological Perspective of Creativity

It is often suggested that necessity motivates innovation and creativity, but in the context of personal creativity, the motivation is different. We pursue and conceptualize ideas solely to use our intellect and imagination. 

Creativity, then, has both personal and social value. The personal reinforcement stems from our sense of achievement, while the social is rooted in our feeling like we’re contributing to something greater, and more significant than ourselves.

Our ideas and beliefs are a significant part of our ecosystems. And much like our achievements and experiences, they too have their ecology. As we go through life, we come across ideas and connect them with beliefs and ideas we’ve already procured, and sometimes, we generate ideas that are entirely new to us but not necessarily to the world. Therefore, the ecological concept sees creativity as being a product of various circumstances and conditions in our life.

The Influence of Spatial Context on Creativity

Moreover, it is suggested that creativity is a complex product of an individual’s behavior in a certain situation. The situation is determined and affected by social and contextual influences, which can either inhibit or facilitate creative actions. 

Similarly, every person is affected by different pre-existing conditions that preface the creative act. And while creativity presumes the creation of something new, every person draws on their already existing values, qualities, and abilities when expressing themselves creatively.

In this sense, the creative ecology primarily emphasizes the significance of spatial context; that is, environments and places, in personal creativity. This is apparent in the way creative individuals gravitate toward environments that expedite and support their creativity. Moreover, they can identify creative potential in their environment, and adjust it to create a new one in which they, and others, can realize their creativity.

Therefore, the ecology of creativity is an abstract concept that sees creativity, as well as our other actions, experiences, and achievements, as an amalgam of all situational and environmental effects – a product of continuous interaction between an individual and their environment.

[1] Jackson, Norman. “Concept of a Creative Ecology” [Online] Available at: http://www.normanjackson.co.uk/uploads/1/0/8/4/10842717/creative_ecologies_concept___project.pdf [Accessed on: 25 May 2020]

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