Emily Parker, Author of "Now I Know Who My Comrades Are"
Can true creative genius come out of authoritarian states, where censorship and repressive governments stifle creative expression?
Yes, but it tends to be “small c” creativity. That is, a sort of everyday creativity that you need in order to survive. I’m thinking of those extremely clever East Germans who sneaked across the Berlin Wall by hiding in the transmission of small cars. Or a young Chinese person today who evades the Great Firewall in order to log onto Facebook. These are creative acts, no doubt about it.

All creativity is, I think, a response to a challenge, and these authoritarian states are obviously challenging. But you clearly need a certain amount of freedom to transition from small c to BIG C Creativity. You don’t see a lot of innovation coming out of North Korea. Creative places operate in the sweet spot between constraint and comfort. Most authoritarian regimes exist outside that sweet spot.
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