Innate Talent

At Aeon, Sam Haselby asks, is artistic talent innate?:

In reality, artistic creativity is extremely widespread, maybe even a human universal. Most young children would be capable of achieving advanced proficiency in several different disciplines (athletic, visual, performative/musical, mathematical, verbal), and culture is replete with examples of folk art, ordinary inventiveness (Etsy, patent applications) and creativity in many different dimensions (cake-decorating, graffiti). What is less common, perhaps, is the drive and persistence (“grit,” in recent terminology) to develop those skills to a level that will lead others to identify the individual who possesses them as having exceptional talent. Those we think of as most creative – take a list of recent MacArthur Foundation fellowship winners, or of living artists whose work is held in the permanent collections of major museums like the Guggenheim or MOMA – are often no more creative than their less distinguished peers; they are more driven, or more gifted at envisioning and executing the shape of a career, or sometimes just more fortunate in a right-time-right-place sense.

Grit, man. You gotta have grit.




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