In his groundbreaking work, Solitude, Anthony Storr suggests that dissatisfaction with what is, or ‘divine discontent’, be an inescapable part of the human condition. [Solitude, 63] Our success as a species springs directly from this discontent, which drives us to employ our imagination. The more discontent => the more imagination => the more invention. As in Bernard Shaw,
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionists (1903).
Except that post-Freudian psychology suggests that ‘reasonable’ be replaced by ‘imaginative’, as we shall see. This short piece draws other strands toward Storr’s work, in the context of seeking recipes for encouraging inquiry and creativity among children and adults.