Book Review: The Origins of Creativity by Edward O. Wilson

Book Review: The Origins of Creativity by Edward O. Wilson

Ant-lover and Professor Emeritus of Evolutionary Biology at Harvard, Edward O. Wilson has been arguing for the unity and connectedness of all human knowledge for many decades.

In his latest book The Origins of Creativity, Wilson singles out creativity as humanity’s most important legacy which has allowed us to evolve and dominate other organisms on the planet, as well as being the seed from which humanities and the sciences have flourished.

Book Review: The Origins of Creativity by Edward O. Wilson

Wilson identifies several fields where the blending of knowledge would be particularly beneficial: anthropology, paleontology, psychology, evolutionary biology, and neurobiology.

He argues that this blending could reinvigorate philosophy and create a more enduring Enlightenment period. That nothing in science makes much sense without the humanities

“[Science] is rootless in their explanations of causation and they exist within a bubble of sensory experience.”

This book is rich, playful and provocative. Its exciting and delightful as Wilson takes us from the birth of hunter-gatherer societies 100,000 years ago and how creativity was literally the cradle of civilisation, helping people to foster innovation, language, metaphors, memory and group cooperation all required for advancement. He talks about the beauty of Nabokov and Fitzgerald’s writing and delves deeply into human archetypes.  

Wilson urges us the readers to break down the barriers between the humanities and sciences and blend them into one discipline to achieve an exciting ‘third enlightenment’. A message that is all the more relevant as we accelerate into the age of artificial intelligence, where traditional forms of human knowledge may be under threat.

This book is big in scope and exciting to read. It’s must-read for creative or scientific people or anyone with a curious mind. 5/5

Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

8 thoughts on “Book Review: The Origins of Creativity by Edward O. Wilson

  1. Sounds great!!!
    Reminds me a little of a book I’m listening to at the moment…’range’ — which argues against ever-narrowing specialisation and in favour of interdisciplinary collaboration and generalists


    1. That sounds interesting this book Range, are you going to review that one? I think you would enjoy this one too Jeremy


      1. I do that too with reviews, write things down when the insights are fresh, otherwise it’s easy to forget the emotional impact that the book had on you


  2. I have not read the book but I think the very early cave paintings were a huge step forward in the advance the advance of creativity and therefore the advance of civilization. Civilization demands that what is not there be able to be envisioned. Cave paintings were a huge step forward in being able to envision what is not there and a hence a huge step forward in the advance of civilization.


    1. Yes I so agree with you. Being able to perceive what is not there, as you say was a big leap forward for civilisation. Thanks for your comment and have a great weekend 🙂


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