Creativity is a guide -- She will not respond to demands


WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE CREATIVE PROCESS?

Creativity is a deeply personal encounter with a side of our human nature that only a few comprehend.  As was pointed out earlier, those fortunate individuals who have experienced it have described it as an epiphany--a moment of sudden intuitive understanding--a flash of insight. For those who have not experienced such a moment, the best comparison I can make is to equate it to the bliss that attends the surrender of love making.

If the reader will allow me to pursue this simile, I might be able to explain why creativity attends "the playful mood."  There may be other moods of our mental state to which creativity may respond; but, as yet, they have not been identified.  One thing seems to be evident; and, that is the notion that creativity avoids mental stress and those imperatives that we might impose upon upon "her" out of urgency.  While necessity may be the mother of invention, "mother" cannot be coerced into a state of pregnancy required for a full term baby. 

On the other hand, if we, as suitors, submit to her kind services in the trusting state that attends the playful mood, she will respond with those favors that reside in the intellectual pantry of our individual psyche.  The nature of my experience with this epiphany suggests that "the intellectual pantry", or toolbox of skills, lies as part of the subconscious mind.

It is my contention that the event of "epiphany" is a sudden bridging of the subconscious compartments of our brain with that of our conscious awareness. This would explain why the onset of the insightful event appears in a flash of time; this process may be akin to software context switching taking place in modern day computers when the central processor is instantly redirected to different portions of the memory bank.

Using the simple computer analogy, it appears as if the details of actual problem solving are being managed at the subconscious level.  When a potentially relevant insight is reached, the subconscious mind provokes an "interrupt request" to bridge the information over to the conscious portions of our brain.

PRIORITY PROCESSING OF INTERRUPTS

Those of us who design computers at the processor level know that "interrupt requests" are subject to some kind of priority process.  This is usually built into the hardware itself.  Only when there is no other process of higher priority is the interrupt request honored.

If we accept the simple computer analogy, it appears reasonable to presume that "the playful mood" has something to do with modifying the interrupt priority that controls "the information bridge" between the subconscious and conscious portions of our brains. In the playful mood, relaxing those concerns that occupy our conscious energies allows the subconscious mind access to our conscious awareness.  This conjecture would also explain the functioning of hypnosis as a tool for accessing the real estate of the subconscious.

INVOKING THE PLAYFUL MOOD

From those recorded experiences of innovative persons, it can be concluded that a setting can be devised for the optimal engagement of creative play. Simulation is one such setting; however, even simulation might not yield creative insights if the real-world stresses remain bearing upon our conscious thinking.  If simulation is to be "fruitful", it may require that the practitioner condition his conscious thinking to dismiss any real concern for the outcome of play.

When I invoke this methodology, I usually place myself in a state of mind believing that the outcome is of no real concern to me. Strange to say, this is the optimal mental state for an effective fighter pilot; because, for a fighter pilot to be truly effective, concern for his own survival must be subordinated to the task of defeating his opponent. In this way, the total mental resources of the pilot are focused on the task at hand--victory.

THE ROLE OF MEDITATION AND VISUALIZATION

Studying the problem at hand involves the collecting of data and information related to the problem domain.  For data and information to be useful, it is practical to meditate on the application of this information for the purpose of resolution. Resolving data and information involves breaking things up into their constituent parts or elements. The act of conscious meditation and visualization makes these parts more easily digested by the subconscious mind.

SUBCONSCIOUS PROCESSING

It may not be possible, nor is it necessary, to model the processes of the subconscious mind in order to arrive at a creative response to the desires of our conscious intent.  Let it suffice, for our needs, that these processes work on our behalf, for better or worse. On the other hand, the ends to which we apply these insights depends upon our moral disposition.

"Creative work is play.  It is free speculation using materials of one's chosen form."       Stephen Nachmanovitch
"To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play."      Albert Einstein