All Children are creative by nature, or talent – this is an exception to the rule? What blocks the creativity and helping them to open up? What is the role of parents and the school? This is what we have talked with Alexander Alexandrovich Melik-Pashayev , doctor of psychological sciences, the chief editor of “The Art School”, the main researcher of the Psychological Institute of RAO.

Alexander, let’s first clarify the terminology. As you know, in psychological science, there are different approaches to the definition of what creativity and creative abilities. How would you define what is creativity?

Beyond that, as we understand this or that particular quality, human capacity, and, moreover, is the most important phenomenon of creativity is always this or that general conception of man: that he is is, how and where to go, what can and which can not, and so on. Sometimes the scientist does not realize is that is guided by one or another a priori representation of man, but, nevertheless, it affects the way that the man he sees what and how studying that pays attention and, in the final finally, it comes to what results. Initially, therefore, it is necessary to determine this.

I think – but it certainly was not my idea! – That the essence of man consists precisely in the fact that he – being creative. In contrast, perhaps, from the rest, its purpose is to being a creation, and to create, to be a creator, not just a “function” in a world that was created without him. Recall: in the creation of the Christian anthropology man is seen not only as a material act – the creation of clay, but also as an act of spiritual – people enlivened by divine creative spirit and carries it in himself. This confirmation can be found in some areas of psychology in pedagogical practice. Proof is that the work has a positive effect on a person creates his sense of the meaningfulness of their existence in the world. And also the fact that the therapeutic power of creativity is very high. In other words, creativity – this is a normal, healthy, natural state of man.


In this Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010 photo Kieron Williamson, an eight-year-old painting prodigy is seen working on a drawing in Holt, Norfolk in England. He's Britain's most talked-about young artist. His paintings sell for thousands of dollars and there's a long waiting list for his eagerly anticipated new works. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

It is generally believed that creativity – a property a few people, but, again, from my point of view – is the norm of human existence. It is only necessary to explain how it should be understood norm. It is often statistically understand: what is common, then fine, but that is rare, either below normal or above. This is justified when it comes to average growth, life expectancy, etc., and then – only in cash terms, and the rate may change tomorrow. And when it comes to domestic human possibilities, the approach must be different, value, when the norm is called not that common, but the best of the possible.

One wonderful psychiatrist who later became even more remarkable priest once said to me: “Where is the limit of normal – from a psychiatric point of view, it is not clear. Explicit rejection “abnormal”, it is clear, but otherwise nothing is clear. If, for example, I believe the correct one thing and doing another – is this normal? In psychiatry, there is no norm, and the norm of the Church is -. It holy ”

Statistically, very few saints, but the saint – is the one whom people can become, then this is the norm … With all the understanding that virtually no one had quite reached, it goes in that direction, “normal.”

And work for the creature that the Creator created the creator, – this is the norm, not some exotic oddity, not a property of certain great men and non-membership of some “creative” professions. It manifests itself whenever people live, in the words of Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, “from the inside out.” He said that normally we live, reacting, adapting, such as coping with what comes to us from the outside, that makes us alive. But it is important to realize that something in my life for a man that is born in him. That without it there would be no life. In the broadest sense, this is a need for creativity. And when it is not carried out, it blocked the person becomes ill, even though he can not understand why it is bad, and to seek relief is not there, where he could get it. Deprivation of creativity leads to all sorts of deviations and anomalies – and mental, and social plan. I would even say that a child growing up without creativity – is a potential patient or a potential criminal.

The patient is mentally?

Yes, mentally. Here and tendency to depression, and the phenomenon of the so-called depersonalization, lack of sense of its reality in the world, that I for some reason want this world, and for some reason he needs me.

Because effective therapy creativity, which I mentioned. But I repeat for each case: need therapy when a person is already ill, but why bring this up? There is not only treatment, but also prevention and work – the best it means.

We are talking about art, but creativity is possible, of course, not only in art or science, but also in different professions, and in the organization of their leisure time, in human relations, in the device of everyday life. It happens that it is not translated into durable products or discoveries, but it is still high creativity. For example, I know of people who did not honor his name by any works, but it was the genius of creative communication that have played in the lives of those with whom you come in contact, even more important than the works of great writers.

And what is the role of this therapeutic art is expressed? How it heals a person?

It is, above all, it helps to gain a sense of the meaningfulness of his life. Of course, the child does not think so, yesterday my life was meaningless, and today makes sense. It just feels that he is not an empty space that he is, he is present in the world and leaves its mark in it, it means something, it – the author, even if you do not know this word.



It is, above all, it helps to gain a sense of the meaningfulness of his life. Of course, the child does not think so, yesterday my life was meaningless, and today makes sense. It just feels that he is not an empty space that he is, he is present in the world and leaves its mark in it, it means something, it – the author, even if you do not know this word.

In this Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010 photo Kieron Williamson, an eight-year-old painting prodigy is seen working on a drawing in Holt, Norfolk in England. He’s Britain’s most talked-about young artist. His paintings sell for thousands of dollars and there’s a long waiting list for his eagerly anticipated new works. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Another area in which creativity plays a therapeutic role – communicative. creative experience allows to prevent abuses in this area. It protects against alienation, leads into a normal, even related contact with other people and with nature. This applies not only collective forms of art, such as theater. Creating something individually, I can be understood and accepted by others. If you have children in mind, here it is very important the role of the adult, which organizes the communication of children about their work.

Farther. In art, it is claimed that, unfortunately, is not in demand in general education – our feelings. The feelings with which we understand the world, and a sense of the content of psychic life. Children now, alas, are focused on the built environment, which can not come into contact with reality, not hear it, do not see, do not touch – that is, to do all that just peculiar and interesting to normally developing young child.

And, of course, artistic expression enriches the emotional sphere, it demanded the intricacies of our relationship to the whole world, it blooms psychic life. The man with the artistic experience, looking at you will see not only the outer form, but the appearance in which shines the unique soul, visible destiny. It’s very important: to notice, to feel, to realize the spiritual life of the other. And his own.

How to fundamentally assess what is creative and what is not? Some researchers say that the work – is to create something original. Others have criticized this approach, noting correctly that in this case the most creative people – are small children and people with schizophrenia, because it was born in the heads of the most unusual associations, the most bizarre ideas. These researchers propose to evaluate creativity by how a person wants to be creative, that is, the level of motivation: if a person has at least a desire for some kind of creativity, it means that he already has the ability to …

I think the latter approach is largely justified. Formal criteria of creativity to find; it is impossible to specify why there’s work here, and here it is not. Evaluation is always based on understanding, on their experiences, on the judgment of the expert group – there’s nothing you can do about it, nothing more precise do not exist. Anyway, in art. However, there are guidelines.

I do not agree that the criterion of originality or creativity is, as they say, creativity, which usually bring together virtually with original solutions. In art, it does not work: a clear majority of the great works of art – it is the image of ordinary things, events, familiar aspects of reality. A bizarre and seemingly “original” can not bear any artistic value. Sometimes there is a coincidence, but it is rather an exception. Someone suggested a wonderful idea: what is easier than everyday objects image or description, the greater the power of the creative imagination, the author shows, putting it into an artistic image.

It seems to me, have no future attempts to explore the artistic creation with the help of artificial methods, where you have to show some kind of “flexibility” and “originality” are not related to artistry as such. In fact, many experts in the field of intellectual giftedness also believe that artificial, “sterile” creativity tests do not allow to predict a productive intellectual and creative development of the person.

Techniques to identify creative potential should be as close to the real work. For example, if we are talking about art, it is necessary to set the child a meaningful task of the same type, which decide the artists, but the technique should be built so that it does not need a lot to be able to lack of special training is “blocked” creative child initiative . And it is quite feasible.


Much more serious second you mentioned criterion. Indeed, the stable, the child nesituativnaya need to do anything may say more about the creative possibilities of the child than the results it has achieved to date. You never know because of what that something might go wrong? The reasons can be many: not the spirit, the experience of past failures, inappropriate word adults who once persuaded the child to his inability, incorrect assessment, including the positive, not the art materials, so who knows what else. I’m talking about children’s drawings, or that they do in the other arts.

If we talk specifically about the tests … When I was put in test conditions, and the proposed task alien to me, my bad results can not possibly indicate a lack of talent. I’m just not interested, not mine, I have no motivation to solve these problems. But if a child of their own constant need – and not because, for example, that his favorite cousin yesterday showed an interest – is committed to engage in some kind of art, and especially if it binds with it important for him to detention, it can do much more say about his creativity than luck and test failures.

Gifted child, too, can not be “measured”?

When people talk about talent, there is a terminological confusion. Is the term “capacity”, and many scientists believe that talent – it is a higher level of ability. But spend border between levels?

And there is another understanding. Abilities – it is an opportunity to learn something, it is the possession of some qualities that are necessary to successfully engage in a particular activity. A talent – it is not the ability to learn something already existing, but that allows you to realize the objective world, in the form of an activity or that idea, born in my inner world. Therefore, I believe that it makes no sense to speak of “creative genius”, because the talent – this is the gift of creativity, printing, human creativity. It is, alas, not always realized in life, but that is another question.

And whether there are criteria by which one can distinguish, for example, a good story from grafomanstva?

It is very difficult to do, but there is such a face, and it is quite thin in the psychological sense. If we say that the thing you want, in need of the arts, then graphomaniac this need can be enormous. But the need for what? Wonderful writer and thinker Mikhail Prishvin once wrote in his diary that the main thing in the writers’ work – this is how he put it, “to translate his life seriously in a word.” Man art most relevant to the content of his life not in the life of “acts out”, others, and transforming, transfers them to the so-called “second reality”, in artistic images. This – the main cause of his life. And graphomaniac other needs: it is not seeking to translate his only life in a word, he wants to create a literary form, write novels, stories, wreaths sonnets, haiku. He thinks it’s all about some “technology”, to beautiful rhyme, play traditional or modern form of any art, etc.

I’ll note only: to translate his life is in word or in some other particular form of creativity – that calling a few people. And to get a full experience and creativity can have all the children. Then they then will decide for themselves what they “translate my life.”


That is the key to true creativity is to learn to express their own individuality in art or life, your own experience?

Yes, you can formulate a first approximation. But, of course, the experience you need to convert into artistic images, which are separate from my personal life, and may be significant for others. Here the great role played by imagination. Incidentally, in this regard, the baby is not close to you mentioned schizophrenia, which create “something original”, and to the artists. You know, in science there were disputes: whether the child’s imagination is really rich, as it seems? Or it seems the rich only because he does not know what is possible and what is impossible? Many great scientists are inclined to believe that the child does not control his imagination, he does not feel the “resistance of the material” does not know that something is not feasible – and so it seems to us that his imagination so strong.

But, in my opinion, a deeper point of view, belongs to VV Zenkovsky, and it is. If the task of the imagination was handling images, the adult professional and general adult would certainly surpassed the child. But the essence of the imagination – not to operate, this is only his agent. The bottom line is that the internal, invisible and neobraznoe – feelings, hopes, values, emotions – converted to images. In this respect, a child who spontaneously and not constrained expresses in his voice, intonation, on the move, often in the figure, the world of his feelings, indeed, superior adult.

Many of us in childhood freely engaged in creative work, and then it’s gone missing. Is it possible to identify the main factors that block the creative abilities of the child? What affects more – social assessments (when you wrote a poem and showed it to someone, and no one liked it, and you have the next time you start to cautiously try) or internal qualities of a person’s will, commitment?

If we talk about the way a professional, it is the most important thing in the end the will to work. But we are talking about children and then adults strongly influence evaluation, and adults do not take this into account. For example, I was quite safe childhood, no one let me be creative, and I sometimes recall some individual words, intonation and estimates that were given to me in 6-7 years. They actually sink into the soul, there are hidden and can interfere. Including unconsciously.

These estimates tend toward two extremes. The first – when adults pejoratively evaluate creativity of their child or give it a value. This does not mean you have to admire the exaggerated – requires a positive and respectful attitude to employment creation, you need time, space and materials. If a parent says, “Please do lessons, then I’m allowed to engage your music”, it is wrong. Child Creativity requires unconditional respect. And, of course, if he does not understand in painting or music, it is not necessary to intervene to correct just because you’re older – it is better just to take an interest and to create the conditions.

The second extreme – the appointment of the child in the “talents” in the “actors” in the “poets” involving materiel and dating in order to “promote” him – to publish a collection of poems, have a baby solo exhibition, live performance, what he at first there is no need. Adults lay on the child’s ambitious hopes, but it is not my fault that they laid him! He was not asked to assign themselves a talent, but it grows under load. He knows that he invested money, effort, hope that it for this once in a special love; He sees adult journalists around the run, some old men applauded sleek lamps on it suggest – as here maintain a robust sense of self, as it does not get used? He feels obliged to comply with a standing ovation, which he did not ask.


But often there are evaluation exaggerated or even wrong: they stem from the vanity of incompetence arise under the influence of children’s charm, because of the good “learning” of the child – but for all that individual talent can not be. There is a phenomenon that psychologists call dyssynchrony development, when in some respects a child is temporarily ahead of the other children, and it’s easy to take for outstanding talent. In fact, it is simply an anomaly, unevenness in development, as is the case also with the development and growth of the body. Then everything is aligned, and it turns out that there are no outstanding data at the child there. Or, at least, they have not been developed. because he grew up in unnatural conditions, and in this life, and in the creative plan. It turns into a trauma for the parents and for the child. Former star becomes unhappy, experiencing a sense of unfulfilled lives. Sometimes it ends in terrible drama, down to personality disorders and even suicide.

It turns out that if parents are happy that their child – “prodigy”, they emphasize and his own, and the child, and not on the work of others as such, but on the child. Like, look at what he gave me beautiful …

Yes, and at the same time he – MY! Parents are deaf and blind to the very well-known when they are successes – and in fact the life of his child – unknowingly try to compensate for their own unrealized dreams.

Parental love and support must be shown not to drag the baby under the camera and on the concert stage, and in a respectful and positive attitude towards the child’s creativity, without prejudging its way premature. Give him the opportunity to try out and that and that. child’s soul will tell you in what way it can grow and develop.

However, nowadays it is becoming increasingly difficult because the possibility of so-called supplementary education narrowed. Previously, a child really could try more, to move from circle to circle, to give up something to go back again. This search time is very important. Now very few people can afford it.

Now these searches begin at 30 years, when people with higher legal education to understand that they are interested in law is very little, and start to paint, dance, photography …

Better late than never. But for an adult it is much harder! No wonder there is a concept of “sensitive periods of development” – periods of increased sensitivity to the perception of something. What you missed 7 or in 14-15 years, and then with difficulty gets. But sometimes it turns out.

What’s in this sense that schools can do, in your opinion?

In school, children are trying to learn something, something “useful” load and unintentionally jammed their own creative powers. Sometimes they make their way through all imposed, but most – are not present. School and positions itself: our job – to not raise talents, and give everyone a basic minimum knowledge, skills. But literacy is taken apart from the fact that people want to express – it is very questionable thing in art.

When the child awakens a desire to express their inner world in images, then you can help him develop his tools design plan. Of course, this is quite a delicate task, difficult to accomplish at a comprehensive school. But forcing the child what to do and how, when he himself is not necessary, we will kill interest. It is better to help him formulate his own ideas, which can be obscure to him, and when he starts trying to implement them, and he will not be obtained due to lack of funds, it is possible to teach and literary methods, and techniques of painting and musical expressive means. Because then he will see that he needs to materialize its own idea, that without it will not work.

Probably, it is still based on the fact that the teacher respects the child in his age, where he met him, did not consider “far inferior” due to the fact that it is small …

Oh sure. For example, a child can not do anything yet, do not know, but if I see him as a potentially creative unique creature, all my reference to it is constructed differently. If I assume that it’s born soul brought something into the world, and I have to give her the opportunity to find and express themselves – is one approach. And if for me it is still no one from me supposedly independent, that he will make – it is a different attitude!


What if a child or young person has some ability, some talent, but he lacks the discipline?

Discipline is also born from the motivation. It is often thought that the ability – is one thing, but the desire to do something – something else: “He has to have this ability, but have no desire to work.” Of course, in life anything can happen, and between the different sides of our nature often arise contradictions. But in general, as someone said, “genius of the most industrious.” The more that is inside me and is looking for symptoms, the less I have to make. The main thing is that the child felt that in this kind of creativity it can express what is born in his soul. Then the question of diligence will be solved by itself.

As for the influence of emotional balance? It happens because that person talented, but he has so much effort and energy spent on it, to somehow survive his internal struggle to deal with the internal problems that their work does not remain. It turns out that a creative person should be, so to speak, psychologically healthy?

It is not always so, but it should be. When they say that work is due to disharmony, with anxiety, even with the disease, and provide examples – is, in my opinion, a superficial approach. I think that creative people is especially important to have a spiritual and philosophical supports, because if you rely solely on their own strength, you are quickly exhausted. Talented people of art are much more open to different influences and impressions than a rational man, closed in itself, to do something for the algorithm. The talented artist, the more he feels the inner life of all – people, nature, feels deep layers of events, some neverbalizuemye side of life, its contradictions; it breaks the need to embody all this and at the same time excites own ability to feel and embody. If he does not have the support, help from above, he can not cope with their own universal sensitivity. Its load can withstand the spiritual core within. And if for me lies in the art as such, and it is possible to break. Fortunately, so far it does not always happen.

Creativity and Social Assessment: How to be here? If a child anywhere except family, not receiving positive feedback on their work? How, then, can support a child in that he continued to do what he loves?

Up to a certain age is, in my opinion, it does not matter – it is important to appreciate the parents, the closest circle of loved ones. Closer to adolescence, of course, it is important to social recognition. Here, in each case it is necessary to look at the specific situation. Well, if there is a wise teacher; very good, if a close circle there are people who are doing something in the area close to the child, and it can involve in it a little.

I do think that the optimal pedagogy, difficult to achieve under current conditions – is the growing involvement of the child in the real creative work in a particular area. As it happened in the workshops of the artists of the XVI century: a teenage apprentice gradually mastered one skill level, second, third – and from the very beginning, in some form and degree, has already participated in the real work of the master. A master at the same time, mind you, not engaged pedagogy in our sense of the word, he was just preparing myself assistants, but in a way they were involved in the work, made common cause with the real master. Similarly, scientists can draw teenagers to some supporting research. Archaeologist can take them with you, and if they find something on the excavation, then imagine what it would be for them to make a difference! And even if they find, they will help, and do a lot to learn.


And if a child is talented, he has something to do well, but he is (or at all) is not able to present to others the fruits of his work. Unable or unwilling to do this, and seeing that his work results are not claimed, he can throw it …

Again I say: if children are involved in the actual operation of professionals, it would remove the sharpness of your question. I remember, for example, as disciples of monumental real-deacon (and gorgeous!) Made out of the monastery refectory copyright mosaics depicting the Creation of the World. What more can you ask for a presentation? Unfortunately, this is an extremely rare example. The most common presentation of the children’s creativity is connected with the competition, the competition, the Olympics – no matter what size – international or intraschool. But not every musician should be both an athlete and win competitions. Not everyone is able to be your own “producer.” All these different things. There have always been and there are creative people who have distanced themselves from the competition, from the competition, who have no desire to win another. From my point of view, children’s art contests rather harmful to the moral, personal level and at best are useless in terms of individual creative development. There are also other opinions. But, oddly Treat competitions, Olympiads, they cover a small part of the children, and all are capable of creativity, and it is necessary for all.

What do you think, whether perfectionism – as a desire to make the most out of the best opportunity for me – to be useful in the works? Or is it harmful thing?

Difficult question. Of course, when you do something and you do not quite get what wanted and for which he worked, there remains a sense of dissatisfaction, of incompleteness, want to come back and do better. It is natural. But perfectionism can be a kind of disease, and a manifestation of pride. In the novel of Albert Camus’ The Plague “was a character – an eccentric writer who for many years ruled the same phrase, something like this:” A fine spring morning in the elegant Amazon magnificent horse galloping on the flowering alleys … Bois de Boulogne. ” Everyone thought that he writes or has written a great novel, but when he died, but thousands of varieties of this one, the initial phrase found in his archives …

But seriously, the absolute ideal of the artist, may never reach, because the idea that comes from God, always deeper and scale than what we can realize lossless. When the plan is clothed in earthly form, something is inevitably lost – otherwise impossible as it can not be a paradise on earth. I can not seem to Leonardo in the “Last Supper” or Rembrandt in the “Return of the Prodigal Son” made perfect, but most likely, they themselves did not think so.

It turns out amazing thing: on the one hand, in the works of important interest, motivation, will and discipline, on the other hand – is given by inspiration from above, it can not be adjusted as desired.

Impossible. I can only try to be ready for this, configure itself as a tool. And in the best moments of the creative person is “more himself”, and then he does not quite understand how it is to dare, what does have to do with what happened. This is what happens in any kind of creative work, and it’s called synergy, the joint action of God and man. It reminds us that we are not only creators, but, above all, co-creators, which the Creator entrusted the Garden of Eden to cultivate and gave power narekat names of entities that are not created by us. Those who have dealt with young artists and poets, recall striking cases when the child turned out to be more than myself, more than his age – but that’s a topic for special discussion!

Interviewed by Anastasia Hramuticheva