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“living well” as a discursive theme: a preface to further conceptual work
november 30, 2009, version


Everyone values good development, inquiring minds, and creativity. My interest in living well is especially related to those values, as well as wanting to appreciate human flourishing as fully as I can. In upcoming discussions (links will appear at the bottom of this page), I want to dwell briefly with important developmental aspects and characteristics of living well, especially relative to fostering inquiry and creativity. I want to appreciate aspects of development and life that facilitate love of inquiry and creative engagement.

A 3-fold heuristic sense of human interest:
experiential, conceptual, and programmatic

For the sake of delimiting my focus, it’s useful to consider the human interest three ways: (1) An experiential interest is about living as such. It’s just everything (one’s wholly felt lifeworld), which implicitly grounds (2) conceptual interest (“theory,” backgrounded for inquiry by appreciation of one’s lifeworld values), which engages (3) programmatic interest (“practice”). Theory and practice are highly mediated by the experiential lifeworld that grants value to our projects. I’ve been effusive about experience, in terms of flourishing, via other pages in this “living well” area. In upcoming discussions, I want to focus on conceptual interest. But this is not intended to slight the vital importance of programmatic interests.

Presuming the baseline value of systematic health care and education

It’s easy to relate the value of living well to an unmanageably large-scale interest in social quality of life, probably best focused in terms of the field of public health and an educational sense of markets and government. I’m not going that way here. But I believe I don’t underestimate the importance (which I will largely presume) of the domain of health care oriented by values of illness prevention and smart life maintenance (beyond the medical, remedial, traditional model of heath care). Also, I believe I don’t underestimate the importance of good education. I could advocate a rich sense of community-based human development; but that’s not my project here.

Is thinking about living well for the sake of inquiry and creative engagement suspect?—either a luxury or a distraction?

One common kind of attitude toward creative engagement is to dismiss conceptualization of it: Those who can do it get on with it; those who can’t theorize. In any case, one wants to know how those who do it do it. Indeed, leading theorists of creativity begin with recognized creative lives and ask exactly that: How do they do it? I’m familiar with this work, such that I’m interested in the background of “doing it” and wanting to identify structural aspects of flourishing in very engaged development and lives.

Of course, highly creative persons aren’t about embodying “creativity.” They’re about doing something excellently (actualized talent in the work) relative to domain mastery (re: domain of the work) that may be innovative (re: the domain’s field)—which is a 3-fold sense of creativity based in research which I’ve mentioned elsewhere. Innovation follows from the quality of the work, and the quality of the work follows from the development of the talent. (By the way, scientific engagement is just as potentially “creative” as artistic engagement—which may be obvious, but what sense of creativity-as-such comprehends both kinds of engagement? This question is immensely interesting to me.)

What best contributes to actualization of talent? What balance of nature and nurture? What are the features of a thriving infancy that prospect creativity? What are the features of growing up that lead to productive creativity? I won’t try to comprehensively respond to these questions in upcoming discussions, but those questions have been with me a long time and background what I will do.

The importance of inquirial / creative life for the world of ordinary responsibilities

Axial to good development and life maintenance (the baseline of living well that I’m largely presuming) is (a) a sustained desire to thrive, (b) sustained responsiveness to the appeal of independence (especially in terms of self-directed learning), and (c) capability gained to manage one’s life well. It seems to me that desire, responsiveness, and gained capability are keynotes to creative development (probably in that order). I want to highlight some features of development especially relative to these kinds of keynotes, which could also be indicated as: motivation to learn, engagement with one’s surrounds, and endeavoring. How might development and flourishing be seen to fit well into the character (even the nature) of creative promise and engagement, which is necessary for innovation, exemplary insight and originality? How wholly flourishing can one be? I have my own style of pursuing that, of course—which includes, by the way, deeply needing my sense of creative engagement to adequately appreciate good sense, conventional social efficacy, etc. Prospects for creativity and innovation begin in ordinary life, even though special opportunities may be required.

Creative life can easily seem ect responsible life also needs its creativity, so one should welcome inquiry into the charcentric or marginal to lives oriented by sober responsibilities. Buacter of creative development and prospecting a fullness of human flourishing. Inquiring into the conditions and foundations of human potentials which lead to innovation born of creative engagement is obviously important for practical interests of progressive organizational life. Conceptual inquiry into the basis and character of human flourishing complements that practical interest.

Flourishing of the smart child into early adulthood

conceptuality of a good life




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