The author Manas Raychaudhuri is a distinguished alumnus of the Department of Psychology, Calcutta University College of Science and Technology. His distinctive researches in Creativity and Personality earned for him the “Doctor of Philosophy” (Science) of Calcutta University.
Dr. Raychaudhuri developed an applied bias to the field of research of his choice white working as a research Fellow in the Departments of Statistics and Psychology at the University of Calcutta. As a Psychologist with the Ministry of Defence. Government of India, his work was also oriented to applied fields like, psychometry, personality selection, ability and personality testing etc.
Currently engaged as Lecturer in the Rabindra Bharati University, Dr. Raychaudhri teaches psychology and aesthetics. He is also connected with various research bodies as honorary consulting psychologist. In these positions he keeps alive his interest in such clinical areas as, psychodianostics, counselling and problem-behaviour. An active contributor to technical journals of India and abroad, he is also a member of internationally-reputed academic internationally reputed academic bodies like, Society for projective Techniques and Personality Assessment Inc. U.S.A. He is an editorial-collaborator of the “Archivos Panamenos de Psicologia,” a South American Journal of Psychology.
I am grateful to the author for asking me to write out the foreword of this book. It has been both a rewarding and interesting experience.
The author is an experimental psychologist by training and has taken up for his study the phenomenon of creativity in the field of music. To be precise the special subject of his study is the personality of the musician. He has made a serious effort to find out its distinctive features and also the factors which shape it. This should no doubt prove a fascinating subject which should excite universal interest.
As the author says, it is an empirical study which has tried to trace out inductive explanations for the characteristic personality features of the musician. For collection of raw materials for his study he has not only investigated into the intra-psychic properties of the musician but also his socialising experience as an individual. For the purpose of collection of data, the test group and the control group were separately interviewed for testing conducted by the author himself. The subsequent rating was done by two evaluators who had considerable training and research experience as clinical psychologists. The data were collected on the following aspects of personality: (1) Emotional and Personality characteristics; (2) Intellectual characteristics, (3) Motivational structure, (4) Heredity and other forces including family, background, educational attainments etc. (5) Value system, that is ideal, philosophy of life etc.
The deductions made from these studies are interesting in many ways. While they fit in with general notions on the subject in some cases, they belie popular notions in others. Thus, it has been found that musicians conform to a common personality pattern but there is a wide range of variation within the group. It is confirmed that he has emotional breadth and has exhibitionistic needs. It is also confirmed that he has a rich and variegated phantasy life. On the other hand, the author points out that the data virtually reject “the biological inheritance theory” of creativity. In other words, heredity exercises little influence over it. It has been found that the typical creative musician is a child of parents with little or no musical attainment in them and few primary relations are musicians or musically oriented.
What I appreciate most is the strictly rationalistic attitude adopted by the author. He has taken all possible precautions to see that data are evaluated impartially and after that made his deductions strictly on scientific lines without allowing himself to be influenced by popular belief or any bias of his own. This attitude of strict impartiality is very much in evidence in his general deductions about success of the method adopted by him for study of such a complex subject as the personality of the musician. It is worthwhile quoting his own words on the point. He says, despite the best efforts of the modern genre of positivistic psychologists, the conditions dynamically operating behind the emergence of creativity in an individual still remain enigmatic.
The book thus provides materials which will hold the interest of both the specialist and the lay man. What is more important is that within the limitations indicated in the body of the book, it has brought about advancement of knowledge in an interesting but difficult subject.
Creativity is one of the few problems of psychology that seemed to have an abiding interest for thinking men over centuries. The creative person and his personality had long captivated the philosopher and traditional scholars. In all ages of human history, they had one thing or other to say to probe the mystery of the creative psyche. Needless to say, these early expositions were mostly representative of speculative theorizing and idealistic thinking. Besides a few penetrating incisions of the talented artist and intuitive thinker, regretfully many of the theoretico-speculative enquiries boil down simply to the reinforcement of the myth that creativity is essentially a function of psychological imbalance. What Nietzsche once expressed in a literary verve that “a man must have chaos yet within him to give birth to a dancing star” has to a large extent been attested by a majority of theoreticians. Though recent years have seen a renaissance of scientific interest in the creativity researches, most of our present knowledge about the psycho-dynamics of creativity is fragmentary. Parallel to the advances in the West, the study of creativity has suffered serious neglect in this country even up to the most recent times and it is this neglect that has provoked the present work.
Forming a part of an extensive study on creativity, this clinically-oriented investigation has attempted to lay bare the differential psychologic, social-environmental and developmental variables that characterize the creative talent in music. In doing so, I have deliberately worked out a detailed survey of the literature on creativity, which is scattered in such diverse sources as, literary texts, memoirs, journals, biographies, philosophic, psychologic and psychoanalytic writings. Not only I have endeavoured in this work to provide the interested reader with a critical and comprehensive overview of such diverse material, but tried also to incorporate in my thinking and hypotheses the pertinent information that was available from the related fields. The first two chapters are introductory in character These will help the reader to understand the underlying attempt at arriving at a terminological exactitude and at defining the scope of the study. Chapter three outlines the design of the investigation where the problem and its basic ramifications into sub- problems have been stated. Chapters four and five give the quantitative interpretation of the gathered personality data and biographical information respectively. Chapters six and seven may be read together. We have tried there to limn our conclusions against the background of conclusions from other investigations in order to show how the present findings compare with other researches in this field. I wish to admit here that the ideas expressed in this work reflect many influences. I hope, in assimilating others views I have not distorted or blunted them.
Like most authors I am tempted to capture in print some of my personal experiences that have in many ways influenced the course of this investigation. This book represents an actualization of my desire to combine two major interests of my life viz., fine arts and psychology, into one single project. Long before I started studying scientific psychology, I was passionately committed to studying music and literature. As a research student at the Department of psychology, University College of Science, Calcutta, I had before me quite a lot of problems to choose from. My decision to undertake an empirical study on the creative musician emerged practically from a provocative conversation opened by Professor Shivkumar Shukla, M.S. University, Baroda, on the relationship between personality and creativity. Late Professor S. C. Mitra was kind enough to examine the potentiality of such a project. Of course, he could foresee and drew my attention to a number of formidable problems that I would have to face in such an ambitious venture. I finally decided to get started on this ‘not-too-smooth’ a project involving the difficult task of examining a group of creators well-known of their talents, whims and mood-variations. A three-and-half year term (1959-62) as “Senior Research Scholar” (Ministry of Scientific Research, Govt. of India) at the University of Calcutta made it possible for the research to come to fruition in a doctoral dissertation of the said University. It has, however, taken a few years more to complete further investigation and interpretation of data in order to arrive at this final form of a book. Because of these major revisions and alterations, the present volume is practically a new book—an almost re-written version of my thesis of 1962.
I like this opportunity of expressing gratefulness to my music preceptors—Professor Shukla, and Professor Usharanjan Mukhopadhyay with whom I had the rarest privilege of studying classical Indian music for several years. Particularly, I am indebted to Prof. Mukhopadhyay who taught me to appreciate the finer nuances of our tradition-bound musical language. Without his encouragement, I am sure, this work would have hardly ever materialized.
Also, the work could not have been completed without the active help of many other people. Most crucial was the co-operation of the musicians who gave so generously of their time and labour. They preferred to remain anonymous and the only thing I can say here is that I was remarkably fortunate to get an open access to their “private world” which in many cases resulted in genuine friendship providing the opportunity for studying the individual more intimately.
On the academic side, I have many debts to acknowledge. My deepest gratitude goes to my research-supervisor Dr. D. Ganguly whose qualities as a teacher, psychologist and above all a humanist and whose insistence upon scientific rigours have not only steered my extravagant thinking back onto right course, but exerted also a strong and continuing influence upon my professional development. His continuous review of the progress I was making has resulted in many basic improvements. The same can be said about my honoured friend Dr. Bernice T. Eiduson who has contributed to this work to such an extent that I have difficulty at this point in differentiating her ideas and contributions from my own.
I was equally fortunate in receiving encouragement and generous help from many scholars of whom I wish to single out Drs R. M. Allen, L. J. Bhatt, Y. Kataguchi, D. J. Nash, M. I. Stein, R. Taft and G.S. Welsh. My thanks are also due to the following individuals for various help and assistance: Shantiranjan Basu, Dr. Tarit K. Chatterjee, Mrs. Maitrayee Basu (nee Mukherjee), Amal K. Maitra, Chittaranjan Chakraborty, Dr Pranab K. Sen and Sasanka Bagchi (D.H.T.C., Bureau Library). The unique stimulation offered by my psychoanalyst-friend Somnath Bhattacharyya, during the period in which the data were gathered for the study was pivotal and is acknowledged with gratitude. I owe much to the revered Vice-Chancellor, Mr. Hiranmay Banerjee and the two Deans Dr. S.K. Bhattacharyya and Prof. R.C. Banerjee of the Rabindra Bharati University for their sustained interest in my humble venture. Improvements in the style and organization of the Mss. are due to many incisive editorial comments offered by Dr. S. N. Ghosh, Dr. Sitansu Maitra, Prof. B.R. De, Bijay K. Datta, Kamal Mukherji and Dr. Dhirendra Debnath. Mr. Tarun Das, my artist-friend, and Mr. Tarak Nath Dey and Mr. Anil Kumar Dey, two tolerant staff- members of the Express Printers (Pvt.) Ltd., have also contributed sincerely toward the successful publication of this book. Finally, my greatest personal indebtedness is to the first reader of all my manuscripts, whose appreciation had been of immense inspiration and encouragement to me.
“What, you ask, is my method in writing and elaborating my large and lumbering things? I can in fact say nothing more about it than this: I do not myself know and can never find out. When I am in particularly good condition, perhaps riding in a carriage.....or.... in a sleepless night, then the thoughts come to me in a rush, and best of all. Whence and how— that I do not know and cannot learn..... All this in-flames my soul... then my subject enlarges it-self, becomes methodised and defined, and the whole... stands almost complete and finished in my mind” (Mozart, in Holmes 1912).
So Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the greatest musicians of all times, in a letter narrates his own process of creation and, in so doing, he incidentally points to the elusiveness of the creative process which baffled rational thinking over centuries. The question “whence and how” perceptual flashes appear in one heighted moment to make innovation possible had puzzled not only the creative talent but also the layman. Poet Tagore has provided an enchanting lyrical parallel of the commoner’s wonder at the creative talent in the following lines: I know not how thou singest, my master! I ever listen in silent amazement.... Ah, thou hast made my heart captive in the endless meshes of thy music... (Tagore 1912). The artist, on the other hand, when asked to unfold the primum mobile of his creative spell often takes recourse to an obscurity and mysticism by saying that ‘it is a sort of inspiration coming from I-know-not-where, something proceeding from chance. We are certainly aware of the apparent inscrutability of the creative process. But the concept of “chance” and “serendipity” is hardly adequate to account for all the exactitude, selectivity and goal-directedness of creative insight involving an accurate sweeping vault of the mind into a novel product or unique idea. Turning to mathematician Henri Poin-care’s experience, we notice a similar surging of propelling forces that effectuate an instantaneous sensitization and an abrupt change of perspective making way for the emergence of creation. Poincare writes:
“For fifteen days I strove to prove.... Fuchsian functions..., tried a great number of combinations and reached no results. One evening, contrary to my custom, I drank black coffee and could not sleep. Ideas rose in crowds; I felt them collide until pairs interlocked, so to speak, making a stable combination. By the next morning I had established the existence of a class of Fuchsian functions.... I had only to write out the results which took but a few hours” (Poincare 1913).
The cryptic experiences captured in the above illuminating lines could well be shared by creative workers in such diverse fields as literature, painting, sculpture or science. But neither all of our creative talents are as self-searching and eloquent as Poincare or Mozart was, nor these memoirs serve to provide definite clue to the problem of creativity. Parallel to these historic-biographical records, a considerable amount of speculative and theoretical literature has accumulated with the passage of time. These speculative studies, despite their obvious limitations. have proved to be effective in calling out attention to the subject-matter of creativity as a central problem in human life. Of late, the scientific thinkers have come to recognize it as an important bio-social phenomenon worthy of investigation, which to a great extent determines the general progress and perpetuity of modern civilization. But what was the state of research in the recent past? A casual stock-taking glaringly reveals that a few decades back how sparse was the empirical and objective studies on creativity. Especially the psychologists and social scientists, who are professionally committed to explaining human nature with all its complexity and variety, showed deplorable lack of concern for the subject.
The present research is an humble attempt to close the lacuna of experimental studies in the corpus on creativity. It purports to explore the significant attributes of personality, social, environmental and development field-forces that distinguish creative person in musical arts. As an empirical study in creativity, this investigation seems to represent a recent burgeoning of interest in an area that was left fallow for many ages. The steadily quickening tempo of research in this area insinuates us to ferret out the differential personality ingredients characterizing each creative group, characteristics which are systematically related to their having talent in music or painting, for instance.
The personality of the creative artist, his intellectual, motivational and affective characteristics, the various background factors and milieu differences that presumptively trigger his creative endeavour and spur him on to a creative cycle have appeared quite enigmatic and intriguing and have been the object of considerable conjecture and speculation to the literary critics, artists, biographers, historians and philosophers.
The speculations range from the extreme idealism of Plato which conceived of a “divine frenzy and productive madness” in the artist (Plato, in Fowler 1914) to the relatively rationalistic assertion of Emerson (1903-1904) that underscored artists sensitivity, wholeness and perceptual capacity. The stereotype which envisions the artist as an aberrated person with psychological imbalance, who is ‘struck by a bolt of superhuman origin... and creating his masterpiece (Nash 1955) has been prevalent since the romantic periods of European history. The traditional art theories of India, too. adhere to an idealistic notion about art and artists. An ancient Indian treatise of the 6th Century A.D. for example, says that art conduces to fulfilling the aims of life, whose ultimate is Moksa (release or liberation) (Das 1912). A more or less similar pattern of thought is also seen in the Buddhist Scriptures conceiving art and artist as the Ultimate and an ardent follower of the Ultimate respectively (Foucher 1900). That Absolute or Brahman is the essential subject-matter of all art has been proposed by Sankara in Brahmasutra-bhasya (Govindananda 1835). These views idolize artists as the pupils of God or as visiting the heavenworld to learn there the music of the spheres (Coomaraswamy 1948). This metaphysical concept of art goes on further to regard the singer as a medium communicating between the mortals and the Divinity; sometimes artist had been pictured as a magician, where song was a kind of magic—the effect of music is a holy communion with the soul, a kind of Yoga (Ratanjankar 1957).
Thus, any attempt to study artist as well as his creation under controlled experimental conditions would be tantamount to offending the supporters of such early theories. That artists too are just another vocational group having the usual psychological assets and liabilities, and that they may also be studied like any other occupational group is, however, not well-taken either by artists themselves or by their patrons and impresarios. “The idea that objects of beauty as well as their creation and appreciation are subject to scientific scrutiny,” Eysenck attests, “appears abhorrent to most people, even as the idea that the physicist might study and analyse the colours of the rainbow with the objective methods, was abhorrent to their grandparents” (Eysenck 1957). The anxiety of the common people is that the “clumsy handling might crush the butterfly’s wings (Ibid).
Anyway, whatever idealism be associated with the artists’ being. We assume in this paper that some selective force in the form of a “personality structure” generally operates to motivate the individual into one or the other forms of artistic creation. As already stated, the aim of this work is to identify the personality and social-environmental correlates of artistic creativity. In view of the fact that to study all the possible groups of artist would be virtually an impossibility owing to the enormous time and labour it would entail, we have selected only a particular group—the musicians—for this experimental investigation. Still we may reasonably hope that the knowledge gathered from this modest sectional study may perhaps help us making at least certain generalizations in the wider problem of creativity.
It should be pointed out here that our endeavour not only attempts to outline the conformity and divergence in the personality characteristics of musicians—i,e., intra—group configuration, by using the experimental method of agreement—but attempts also a thorough and conclusive delineation of “musicians’ personality” by making inter-group comparisons between an experimental population of musicians and a controlled group of non-musicians. Moreover, this research also seeks to identify that group of selective factors from heredity, birth-order, socio-economic status, family-orientations, peer-relationship and other social-environmental factors which might prove crucial in determining the making of a musical artist.
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