The condition of integrity is subject to the recognition of the significance of objects and resources resulting from human creativity. Creativity has long been a subject of philosophic and historical inquiry, and these discussions have resulted in various types of outcomes. The notion of a work of art as a major achievement of human creativity reaches back to the time of the Italian Renaissance. Because nature was understood to be God’s creation, observing nature as the way to perceive the original divine idea was the model for art.1 To fully appreciate the work of human creativity as a whole, it is necessary to understand that its significance depends on the “idea.” Identifying the elements that contribute to the unity of the whole is part of the process of recognizing the significance of a work of art. This was indeed the starting point for the modern theory of conservation of works of human creativity and the condition of their integrity. In 1922, the League of Nations founded the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation, chaired by the French philosopher Henri Bergson (1859–1941), a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. In his publication Creative Evolution (1911), Bergson argued that creative capacity endures in the universe as a “life force” (élan vital) that generates growth and diversification. Human cultural diversity is the product of such creative evolution.
The Report of the World Commission on Culture and Development: Our Creative Diversity (1994) considers the various dimensions of human culture, as it relates to economics and development. Human culture has traditionally been the driving force for economics. Modern world economics, however, is more closely associated with development. As a consequence, human culture is often sacrificed. In 2005 UNESCO adopted the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions to not only stress the integrity of all aspects of cultural expressions, tangible and intangible, but also to promote continued creativity. Indeed, cultural content is present in everything human beings have built and continue to build, design, or plan, and it is reflected in the concept of integrity.
Visit Project Muse for more articles in this issue.