At the turn of the century more than six million patents had been registered with the US Patent Office. This has been following an exponential growth over the last two hundred years and is representative of the growth of technology in general since the dawn of human history. Technology is a product of knowledge and creativity, which in turn produces more knowledge and opportunity for creativity. Developments in technology have allowed us to become more creative.
The artistic legacy of humans throughout history shows how technology has brought about an increase in human creativity. The cave paintings discovered in Europe that were made about 30 000 years ago lacked the technology that was available during the Renaissance. A limited range of paints and pigments resulted in relatively simplistic, two-dimensional figures, compared to the sophisticated, three dimensional pictures of the Renaissance artists. Fine brushes and tools enabled these artists to produce fine detail far superior to the course drawings of the cave men.
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Comparisons of architecture also reveal the limitations to creativity experienced in the absence of technology. The ancient pyramids were impressive in terms of size however, their display of creativity does not compare to the cathedrals and mosques constructed in the second millennium AD. Here, the technologies at their disposal allowed people to construct buildings with such aesthetically pleasing arches and columns. Stained glass windows and mosaics are another demonstration of how technology increased creative expression.
Some scientific theories require a significant amount of human creativity. Many of these theories also relied on developments in technology. Einstein would not have developed his theory of relativity were it not for the finding of interferometry that the speed of light is constant. Likewise, Darwin’s theory of natural selection would not have developed were it not for the Beagle to transport him around the world.
Technological developments increase the avenues for us to demonstrate our creativity. Story-telling is one of the most basic examples of human creativity and technology has allowed this to develop into many areas. The invention of musical instruments gave rise to the lyric poetry of Greek lore. Later advancements in technology allowed story-telling via theatre and in modern times through film. In addition, the advent of paper and printing gave rise to literature. Most recently the Internet has led to the publishing of web pages which allow ones creativity to reach a much larger audience.
These days it is more common for people to watch television, listen to recorded music or play a computer game than to write, draw or play an instrument. It can therefore be argued that developments in technology have resulted in us becoming less creative. However, it is the vast amount of creative expression available for appreciation that is distracting individuals from pursuing their own creative past-time. We need to be wary to not let our own creativity lay waste. With today’s technology now is a better time than ever to express our creativity.
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