“To control attention means to control experience, and therefore the quality of life.”
– Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Creativity—his own, others’, and that of life itself—has been the entry point into evolution for Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced “chick-sent-me-high-ee”). Truly an international renaissance man, born in Hungary, a graduate of the classical gymnasium “Torquato Tasso” in Rome, and an artist, Csikszentmihalyi earned his Ph.D. in psychology in 1965 from the University of Chicago, where he would eventually teach. Yet the bounds of psychology could contain neither his creativity nor his desire to find a greater order: “Somehow I always gravitated to the people in various disciplines—whether it’s psychology, sociology, anthropology—who saw a certain unity in their field, who were not what later became known as postmodern reductionists,” he explained, speaking on the telephone from his office at the Claremont Graduate University. [ Claremont is right next door to Upland and Claremont Graduate University is a straight walk of maybe a mile directly west of my home]. Influenced by Carl Jung and reading widely in religion, Csikszentmihalyi found himself intrigued by “people who kind of stepped back and tried to say, ‘What is it that’s going on in this messy and confusing pattern of human behavior over time?’ And I was influenced greatly, for instance, by Teilhard de Chardin, the Jesuit who developed this notion of evolution.” Even his current position as a professor at Claremont’s Drucker School of Management is a new evolutionary turn in a life lived with passion and curiosity.
From an interview with Dr. Csikszentmihalyi by Elizabeth Debold in EnlightenedNext magazine.