Tan: DOI: 10.18536/jge.2016.

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Creativity and Confucius

Charlene Tan
Nanyang Technological University

There is a common perception that Confucianism inhibits or even imperils the development of creativity, leading to East Asians being less creative than their counterparts in Anglophone societies. But did Confucius himself oppose creativity? Was Confucius a creative genius, and if so, in what ways? This article aims to answer these two questions by exploring the words and actions of Confucius as recorded in the Analects. It is argued in this essay that Confucius demonstrated and advocated a moral and social conception of creativity that emphasizes evolutionary rather than revolutionary changes. Confucius supported incremental changes that were built upon the wisdom of the past and posited the need for everyone to engage in moral self-cultivation within a community. This article contributes towards the research on the cultural influences on creativity from a Confucian perspective.

Tan, C. (2016). Creativity and Confucius. Journal of Genius and Eminence, 1(1), 79-84. http://dx.doi.org/10.18536/jge.2016.