Creativity Through Equal Dignity

Francisco Gomes de Matos, Director and Coordinator
An Applied Peace Linguist, Recife, Brazil, E-mail, currently also a Consultant to Associação Brasil América, a Binational Center. Please see an Interview with Francisco Gomes de Matos in the APIRS Newsletter (May 2005).

"Language can become a screen which stands between the thinker and reality. This is the reason why true creativity often starts where language ends." Arthur Koestler (1964), in his book The Act of Creation (in Ch.7, The Snares of Language). This quote was provided by Francisco Gomes de Matos.

HumanDHS is primarily grounded in academic work. However, we wish to bring academic work into "real life" as well. Our research focuses on topics such as dignity (with humiliation as its violation), or, more precisely, on respect for equal dignity for all human beings in the world. This is not only our research topic, but also our core value, in line with Article 1 of the Human Rights Declaration that states that every human being is born with equal dignity (that ought not be humiliated). We agree with Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, who advocates the building of bridges from academia as follows, "I have always believed that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential for public policy. It is possible to affect public policy without being an advocate; to be passionate about peace without losing analytical rigor; to be moved by what is just while conceding that no one has a monopoly on justice." We would like to add that we believe that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential not only for public policy, but for raising awareness in general.

People often ask whether it is "useful" to engage in a vision of equal dignity for all. Our response is that indeed, it is "useful." People who feel respected, who feel that they are treated in a dignified way, in a way that reflects a vision of equal dignity for all, feel more inclined to cooperate and offer their creativity in a cooperative spirit. People who feel humiliated are not motivated to cooperate with the humiliator. Under pressure, they will only offer a "minimum." Thus, in the case of a school or company, or any other social context, it is not "useful" to engage in humiliating pupils, or employees, or fellow human beings. Humiliated people might ponder as to how to invest their creativity in opposing the humiliator, rather than cooperating with him or her.

The work of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies is dependent on the creativity flowing from its members and supporters. Please see the HumanDHS Call for Creativity written by Trevor Ballance.

Vygotsky's work on creativity

In his book Imagination and Creativity in Childhood (1995/1930), Vygotsky [...] develops his theory of creativity. The book describes how Vygotsky regards the creative process of the human consciousness, the link between emotion and thought, and the role of the imagination. To Vygotsky, this brings to the fore the issue of the link between reality and imagination, and he discusses the issue of reproduction and creativity, both of which relate to the entire scope of human activity. Interpretations of Vygotsky in the 1990s have stressed the role of literature and the development of a cultural approach to psychology and education. It has been overlooked that Vygotsky started his career with work on the psychology of art.

Quoted from the Abstract of "Vygotsky's Theory of Creativity" by Gunilla Lindqvist published in the Creativity Research Journal (/loi/crj), 2003, Vol. 15, No. 2&3, Pages 245-251. Please see University of Karlstad

A Review of Ronald Carter's Language and Creativity
Francisco Gomes de Matos


Ronald Carter: Language and Creativity. The Art of Common Talk, Routledge, London 2004, xiii + 255 p.

A Review by Francisco Gomes de Matos

"Every language user is linguistically creative" is a truism, yet the literature on linguistic creativity is not as extensive as one would expect. Thus, a search for works published in English on the "creative aspect of language use" (to quote Noam Chomsky’s famous phrase from his book Cartesian Linguistics, 1966), would feature David Crystal’s Language Play (Penguin, 1998) and Guy Cook’s Language play, Language learning (Oxford, 2000). Interestingly, 27 years ago Don Nilsen and Alleen Nilsen published a pioneering volume for students of Linguistics: Play. An introduction to linguistics (Newbury House, 1977). In the 70s, creativity and language teaching were brought together in pioneering publications such as the newsletter Creativity. New Ideas in Language Teaching, published by the São Paulo-Brazil-based Centro de Lingüística Aplicada, from 1973 through 1979, and the book Jeu, langage et créativité. Les jeux dans la classe de français, by Jean-Marc Caré and Francis Debyser (Paris: Hachette et Larousse, 1978).

In a still conspicuously absent history of creativity in/and language education: a world view, it would be most revealing to share data on how users of languages exercise their right to be linguistically creative. In that respect, Ronald Carter’s new book is realistically up-to-date in that he relies on selected corpora of spoken English to substantiate his cogent point that "linguistic creativity is not simply a property of exceptional people but an exceptional property of all people" (Carter 2004:13).
Language and Creativity has a List of Illustrations (3 figures and 8 tables), 2 Epigraphs, Acknowledgements (note the author’s reference to the field of language and creativity (ibid.:xii), a Note on CANCODE The Cambridge and Nottingham Corpus of Discourse in English, an 11-page Introduction (featuring sections on The genesis of the book, Questions on a conversational extract, and The organization of the book), and 3 Parts:

I Background and theories (2 chapters),
II Forms and functions (2 chapters),
III Contexts and variations (2 chapters), 3 Appendices, 18-page References, and a 7-page Index.

Members of the FIPLV network will be attracted by the section (alas too brief: 2 pages!) on creativity and the language classroom (note that a book titled Creativity in the language classroom was co-authored by Irene Stanislawczyk and Symond Yavener, Newbury House 1976), in which Carter reminds us that "it is not only in the teaching of literature and culture where research into learner’s exposure to more open-ended and creative aspects of language use is developed" (Carter 2004:213) but also for "expressing their social and cultural Selves" (ibid.:214). A look at the entry for creativity in the book’s Index will give readers an additional convincing reason for delving into this volume. Among topics dealt with are: degrees of creativity, ordinary language and creativity, psychological approaches to creativity, spoken creativity, creativity in writing, play and creativity.
The book’s comprehensive and up-to-date bibliography is enhanced with a 3-page list of CANCODE publications, 1994-2003.
In short, a must for language teachers and for all those who share the fascinating, challenging mission of educating/training teachers creatively for a world so much in need of creative change, especially of communicative peace through the use of languages.

Francisco Gomes de Matos,
Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil,,
Author of Criatividade no Ensino de Inglês (Teaching English Creatively), DISAL, São Paulo, Brazil (forthcoming)

Francisco Gomes de Matos


On the use of labels for cognitive-linguistic-cultural activities in language/communication textbooks/materials, Francisco Gomes de Matos, in his new book Criatividade: no Ensino no Inglês (A resource book for Brazilian teachers of English, São Paulo: Disal Editora, 2004), discusses the need to create new language.

Professor Gomes de Matos writes (in a personal message to Lindner, 12the December 2004):
"I feel the time is ripe for an in-depth label to be introduced, so as to remind creators of language education materials that language learners/users need to be challenged to engage in TRANSactivities, in creActivities.....which call for deeper intellectual investment and maximize what I call the humanizing force of language use (by upholding values such as dignity, human rights, justice, peace, planetary citizenship, solidarity, to name but a few of the fundamental concepts)."

Earlier, he wrote:
"I have dropped such well-established, traditional labels as chapters, lessons, units and coined CRI atividades instead. I guess in English you´d say CRE(a)CTIVITIES !"

Creative Creatures
Francisco Gomes de Matos

Are we truly deserving
Of being described
As creative creatures?
We can live all our days
In abundant, plentiful, or sufficient ways!

What about those without
Those who share survival
As a sustainable goal
And strive to keep alive
Weak in body, but strong in soul?

Creatures truly creative
Are all the world’s poor
Who face and solve problems
Only of hope being sure
While becoming media news

Creative we think we are
But how humanizingly so
If the things we create
The seeds we often sow
Seldom reach the poor?

Creatures painfully creative
Are all the world’s citizen-less
Born in poverty extreme
Teaching lessons in kindness
To the privileged on Earth

Humane creativity
As a term it exists
As a universal mission
A gap seriously persists
A challenge to compassion

Creatively the poor live
Aiming at one meal a day
Pretending to have a roof
Having so much to say
Wanting some land to stay

Creative creatures are we?
How humanizingly so?
It’s not enough to care
To say we’d like to share
The benefits we can sow

Let’s make this world anew
Rebuild it with a spirit true
So kindness will guide
Actions here, there, and afar
Let’s learn from the poor
For creative only they are!


Please note that the entire HumanDHS website is maintained by volunteers, since its inception in 2003, and this is mainly done by Evelin Lindner. Until 2012, she usually pasted interesting news into this Links section. From July 2012 until 2017, she tagged interesting information on From 2017 onward, you see Evelin's personal list of interesting web links on Twitter:

The System Improvement Process
SIP was developed to solve any difficult large-scale social problem. This includes the "excessive humiliation problem." Systems Engineer Jack Harich invites all researchers to study SIP (in a personal message, 15th January 2013).

The Valentine Peace Project
The Valentine Peace Project is a new social enterprise working to engage individuals, communities and businesses around the world in the work of peace.
This is their background (quoted from their website):
"The Valentine Peace Project started as a Los Angeles community project in 2005 and became a non-profit organization sponsored by Community Partners in 2006. In 2008 the Project continued in the Netherlands as a Dutch foundation. It is currently based in London and Amsterdam as well as communities in the US.
The Project began as a peace awareness vehicle around Valentine's day to publicly investigate and celebrate the many faces and greater potential of love next to the traditional Valentine expression. Hundreds of moving and heart-felt poems were received and February actions took place in Australia, Wales, Canada, the US, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Personal peace poems are tied as scrolls or wrapped around flowers to give away in public places. ... Dozens of schools and community programs participated and poems received from Yoko Ono, Marshall Rosenberg, David Whyte and Allison Crowe.
The Project evolves as an all year community peace brand- building relationships with ethical trade.Did you know many symbols or gifts of love come out of conflict?
We work on new symbols of international flowers; post-conflict agriculture; the artistry of peace and the voice of poets as well as communities behind our everyday traded items of love. The Valentine Peace Project (VPP) label will promote, market and design products which support the work of peace building everywhere.  We will also continue community action and education around the Day of Love - Valentine's day in February - and the International Peace Day in September.
We are all a piece of the conversation on greater peace in the world - from the 'activist' to the 'consumer' - from the citizen flower farmer and worker and to our local neighborhood vendor.  We can build trade and agriculture for peace. Like many poems we receive from pensive to provocative everyone has thoughts on peace and this project aims to be a vehicle for their wish. Join a dynamic global conversation via ethical supply chains or local products creatively working for peace."

Inclusion Promotes Innovation
September 12, 2007
by Jutta Treviranus

Inspiring TED Talk
Larry Lessig: How Creativity is Being Strangled by the Law
We thank Neil Walsh for making us aware of this talk!

X Prize Foundation
An X PRIZE is a multi-million dollar award given to the first team to achieve a specific goal, set by the X PRIZE Foundation, which has the potential to benefit humanity. Rather than awarding money to honor past achievements or directly funding research, an X PRIZE incites innovation by tapping into our competitive and entrepreneurial spirits.
The X PRIZE Foundation began a revolution in private spaceflight with the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE. On October 4, 2004, the Mojave Aerospace Ventures team, led by famed aircraft designer Burt Rutan and financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, captured the Ansari X PRIZE. The world took notice of this great achievement and the winning SpaceShipOne is now hanging in the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum.
The Ansari X PRIZE was modeled after the $25,000 Orteig Prize, offered in 1919 by wealthy hotelier Raymond Orteig, to the first pilot who could fly non-stop between New York and Paris. The prize was finally won in 1927 by an unknown airmail pilot named Charles Lindbergh. Lindbergh won the hearts of a nation, and his world-changing achievement spawned a $300 billion aviation industry.
X PRIZE competitions capture the imagination of the public and speed radical breakthroughs that can ultimately change the way we see ourselves and how we live on this planet. Stay tuned as the X PRIZE Foundation unveils new X PRIZEs to spark revolutions in the space, medicine, energy, automotive, education, environmental, and social arenas.
What inspires artists and designers to do the work they do? What environment do they work in? What lies on the other side of the monitor? presents personal insights into creativity, filmed by the artists themselves. No script. No instructions. Just a brief to show the world what inspires them, what books are on their shelves right now, where they work or simply talk about what's on their mind at that moment in time.
But this is not a one-way thing. This is all just part of the mix. Have your say on the forums attached to each video. Rant, rave, say what you want, just say something. Tell us who you'd like to see featured in future editions. Tell us and the world what inspires you to do the work you do.

International Center for Studies in Creativity (ICSC)
Dr. Sidney J. Parnes is a Professor Emeritus from Buffalo State College and the Founding Director of the International Center for Studies in Creativity (ICSC). As the first and oldest degree granting program in creativity in the world, the foundation of ICSC dates back to Alex Osborn's seminal work in creativity education in the 1940s and 1950s. Osborn, the developer of brainstorming and the originator of the Creative Problem Solving process, saw the need for a more creative trend in American education and business. It was this vision and dream that eventually led to the establishment of the Center for Studies in Creativity in 1967. An experimental study carried out on the courses offered in the late 1960s and early 1970s, showed that those courses significantly enhanced undergraduate students' creative abilities, as well as improved their academic and nonacademic performance. Osborn's dream was fully realized when Dr. Sidney Parnes and Dr. Ruth Noller established a permanent academic home for the Creative Studies Program at Buffalo State. Sid Parnes provides an invaluable foundation for identifying challenges, generating ideas, and implementing innovative solutions.

Alan Black
Alan Black is a creative workplace consultant and professional speaker. He specializes in the on-going development of creative thinking skills in ALL people in their workplaces and in producing creative ideas. His professional services include speaking, consulting and training in:
- CONNECTING - understanding yourself better in order to better understand and work with others (M.I.N.D. Design™)
- COORDINATING - leading styles and skills
- COMMUNICATING - one on one to large audience speeches
- COLLABORATING - teaming...leading to being a member
- CRE8NG™ - creative thinking & creative problem solving
As a creative idea consultant he offers three related services individually or through virtual teams assembled specifically for the client to:
- generate ideas for specific problems or needs
- facilitate idea generation by or with my client's people
- train my client's people in one to many techniques for generating ideas.