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Published for the First Time: a 1959 Essay by Isaac Asimov on Creativity | MIT Technology Review

The ideas here are interesting. Asimov’s central thought is that creative people tend to think out of the box.

I think this is true, but it’s worthwhile to define the the box. The hardest box to describe is the one you’re in. So perhaps Asimov, who by all accounts, was a brilliant, intuitive thinker, was nevertheless mentally constrained by the box of the 20th century’s worship of deductive science.

Okay, stop right there. Don’t panic. I am ever as much a fan of deductive science. But I do believe it has limits,  an idea that was anathema to the powers-that-be of the middle 20th century.

It’s anathema to today’s,  too, which is a big reason we can’t solve most of our global problems. We get so blindsided by details that we never look at the big picture.

We scoff at the people who do look at the big picture and see the myriad integrations of real world issues. When they offer solutions that take these issues into account, the immediate response is to insist “we need more studies.” This is doublespeak for “it would cost too much,” or “we’d have to change our way of life.”

I’m a big picture thinker, albeit without the brilliance required to be worthwhile.  I know that the way I see the world is not the way most people see it. I’ve often had my ideas scoffed out of the room. Big picture ideas are complex, and I often have trouble expressing what I see. But others can express them – people like Joel Salatin, Michael Pollen, Courtney White, Elizabeth Warren, and many others in many diverse fields… these people have the creative ideas that our world needs.

We only need the courage to implement them.

Here’s the article.