Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Creativity. Theories – Research - Applications

2 Issues per year

Open Access
See all formats and pricing
More options …

The Big Question in Creativity Research: The Transcendental Source of Creativity

Anatoliy V. Kharkhurin
Published Online: 2015-05-26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ctra-2015-0014


In this commentary, I raise an etiological question, which has been virtually excluded from the horizon of contemporary scholarship. In spite of a long history of philosophical, mystical, and religious approaches considering the transcendent and/or spiritual sources of human creativity, mainstream creativity researchers have become gradually reluctant to acknowledge the supernatural influences in this human endeavour. This account is either disregarded altogether or re-interpreted in a way that substitutes supernatural connections with observable and measurable processes. On the one hand, the latter approach appears to fall within the premises of modern science and thereby earns substantial attention the scientific community. On the other, this could be one of the reasons why creativity research has reached its epistemological cul-de-sac. I argue that by retaining the source of creativity within an individual, one annihilates the whole constellation of personality traits and processes, which have transcendent characteristics. It is important to integrate the study of transcendent experience into the study of cognitive, personality, and environmental underpinnings of creative faculties. A possible direction for this change is offered by transpersonal psychology, which makes an attempt to resurrect an investigation of spiritual reality and integrate it in the study of modern psychology. At the end of the commentary, I sketch a transcendental model of creativity developed along the lines of a transpersonal paradigm.

Keywords: Transcendence; Transpersonality; Transhumanity


  • Campbell, D. T. (1960). Blind variation and selective retentions in creative thought as in other knowledge processes. Psychological Review, 67, 380-400.Google Scholar

  • Csíkszentmihályi, M. (1988). Society, culture, and person: A systems view of creativity. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), The nature of creativity: Contemporary psychological perspectives. (pp. 325-339). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Frankl, V. (1966). Self-transcendence as a human phenomenon. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 6, 97-106.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Garberich, M. D. (2008). The nature of inspiration in artistic creativity. (3348106 Ph.D.), Michigan State University, Ann Arbor. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I database.Google Scholar

  • Glăveanu, V. P. (2014). The Psychology of Creativity: A Critical Reading. Creativity. Theories – Research – Applications, 1, 10-32; DOI: 10.15290/ctra.2014.01.01.02Google Scholar

  • Gruber, H. E. (1988). The evolving systems approach to creative work. Creativity Research Journal, 1, 27-51.Google Scholar

  • Guilford, J. P. (1950). Creativity. American Psychologist, 5, 444-454.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Hartelius, G., Caplan, M., & Rardin, M. A. (2007). Transpersonal Psychology: Defining the Past, Divining the Future. Humanistic Psychologist, 35, 135-160, DOI: 10.1080/08873260701274017.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Kaufmann, G. (2003). What to measure? A new look at the concept of creativity. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 47, 235-251.Google Scholar

  • Kharkhurin, A. V. (2014). Creativity.4in1: Four-criterion construct of creativity. Creativity Research Journal, 26, 338-352; DOI: 10.1080/10400419.2014.929424.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Lajoie, D. H., & Shapiro, S. I. (1992). Definitions of transpersonal psychology: The first twenty-three years. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 24, 79-98.Google Scholar

  • Maslow, A. H. (1964). Religions, Values and Peak-experiences. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press.Google Scholar

  • May, R. (1975/1994). The courage to create. New York: Norton.Google Scholar

  • Miller, M. E., & Cook-Greuter, S. R. (Eds.). (2000). Creativity, spirituality, and transcendence: paths to integrity and wisdom in the mature self. Stamford, CN: Ablex Publishing Corporation.Google Scholar

  • Niu, W., & Sternberg, R. J. (2006). The philosophical roots of Western and Eastern conceptions of creativity. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 26, 18-38.Google Scholar

  • Rank, O. (1932/1989). Art and artist: creative urge and personality development (C. F. Atkinson, Trans.). New York, NY: Norton.Google Scholar

  • Runco, M. A. (2014). Creativity: Theories and themes: Research, development, and practice (2 ed.). Boston, MA: Elsevier Academic Press.Google Scholar

  • Runco, M. A., & Albert, R. S. (2010). Creativity research: A historical view. In J. C. Kaufman & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of creativity (pp. 3-19). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Wallas, G. (1926). The art of thought. London: J. Cape.Google Scholar

  • Ward, T. B. (2007). Creative cognition as a window on creativity. Methods, 42, 28-37.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Wilber, K. (2000). Integral psychology : consciousness, spirit, psychology, therapy. Boston, MA: Shambhala.Google Scholar

  • Yalom, I. D. (1980). Existential psychotherapy. New York, NY, US: Basic Books.Google Scholar

About the article

Received: 2014-10-24

Revised: 2014-12-20

Accepted: 2014-12-21

Published Online: 2015-05-26

Published in Print: 2015-06-01

Citation Information: Creativity. Theories – Research - Applications, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 90–96, ISSN (Online) 2354-0036, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ctra-2015-0014.

Export Citation

© Anatoliy V. Kharkhurin. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in