“Don't just be a consumer, be a creator. Somewhere inside you is a masterpiece waiting to be exposed.” As an exercise to find how this 'thing' called 'creativity' works, I venture out in this audacious journey to demystify creativity. The 4 nuggets that I jot down here is my very humble way to harness creativity. Perhaps you ask, "harnessing creativity? How very arrogant." After all, Buddha sitting under the Bodhi Tree doing apparently nothing is the grand master of creation that the planet has ever known.
Be insanely curious about anything and everything. As Arne Dietrich, Professor of Psychology mentions creativity can be deliberate and cognitive. That means you have to be perpetually on the lookout for information that is new and happening. Every 'bit of information' that is specially not part of your core discipline when combined with other knowledge nurtures the seed of creativity. As Professor Dietrich puts it, deliberate and cognitive creativity comes from the PFC in your brain. The PFC is responsible for focused attention and connecting the dots between information that you have stored in the other parts of the brain. When the nobel laureate, Professor Muhammad Yunus reversed the circle of "low income, low saving & low investment", into a circle of "low income, injection of credit, investment, more income, more savings, more investment, more income" he put together existing information in new and novel ways being extremely deliberate and cognitive in his creation.
”Prisoners who never wrote a word in the days of their freedom will write on any paper they can lay hands on,” says Dorothea Brande in her classic, Becoming A Writer. ”Innumerable books have been begun by patients lying on hospital beds, sentenced to silence and refused reading.” Furiously unplug while you’re incubating your project. Spend time with yourself in solitude. It is the fertilizer for your creative crop. Spend time on yourself doing something festive. Set an Artist Date for yourself. Visit museums and monasteries, hike through widerness, attend "lectures on the odd, the improbable, or merely interesting… participate in musical performances by traveling Tibetan monks"...or do that which brings you in touch with yourself. This creates a rich tapestry of new images, thoughts and perspectives that gets seeded in your subconscious, to be revealed when you are at emotional crossroads. This gives rise to what Professor Dietrich says deliberate emotional creativity.
“Those who do not know the torment of the unknown cannot have the joy of discovery.” The Art of Scientific Investigation, a must read by W.I.B Beveridge In this book, he explores the minds of the most famous scientists of watershed discoveries. His conclusion: serendipity, intuition, and imagination displays the habits of mind that produce good ideas." "[Intuition] is always in response to something.” When Frederick Kekule's (1829 - 1896) saw the dream of a snake coiled and biting its tail; in an intuitive flash, he realized that the molecular structure was characterized by a ring of carbon atoms. It is important to recognize that Kekule was immersed in the problem of how atoms combine to form molecules, and he was focused on benzene. Intuitive outcomes are prolific when there is a strong emotional focus and intention to solve a specific issue.
This "eureka" moment of a sudden flash of knowledge is what Professor Dietrich calls spontaneous and cognitive creativity. It involves the basal ganglia of the brain that operates outside your conscious awareness. "Out of box thinking" requires the conscious brain to stop working. By doing this, your subconscious takes the driver seat and the PFC is activated in connecting information in new and novel ways.
“The painter has the Universe in his mind and hands.” Leonardo Vinci.
Creative inspiration is mysterious. When the conscious brain and the PFC are resting, it is then possible for spontaneous ideas and creations to happen. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart sums it up very well.
”When I am… completely myself, entirely alone and of good cheer — say, traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep; it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly.
“Whence and how they come, I know not; nor can I force them. Those ideas that please me I retain in memory…[and] if I continue in this way, it soon occurs to me how I may turn this or that morsel to account…
All this fires my soul, and, provided I am not disturbed, my subject enlarges itself, becomes methodised and defined, and the whole, though it be long, stands almost complete and finished in my mind, so that I can survey it, like a fine picture or a beautiful statue, at a glance… What a delight this is I cannot tell! All this inventing, this producing, takes place in a pleasing lively dream.”
Amygdala is the seat of spontaneous and emotional creativity. These spontaneous and emotional creative moments are very powerful, such as an epiphany, or a religious experience. This type of creativity is not cognitive. But often skill (writing, artistic, musical) is needed to create something from the spontaneous and emotional creative idea. As Professor Dietrich mentions, you cannot design for this experience to happen. It is spontaneous!
"Each man comes into this world with a specific destiny: he has something to fulfill, some message has to be delivered, some work has to be completed. You are not here accidentally, you are here meaningfully. There is a purpose behind you. The whole intends to do something through you." osho
Your ideas and your thoughts will open up new worlds. Go Create!
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Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. Franz Kafka