You’re in the third stage of creativity, illumination

Wednesday, 16 November, 2011

Creativity strikes me as being a spontaneous, random, process but it apparently has a number of definable stages, even if the sequence of such steps isn’t always predictable.

In the final stage of creativity, the left hemisphere reasserts its dominance. This stage is about challenging and testing the creative breakthrough you’ve had. Scientists do this in a laboratory. Painters do it on a canvas. Writers do it by translating a vision into words. The first key to intentionally nurturing our creativity is to understand how it works. I’ve found the stages often unfold in unpredictable sequence, and wrap back on one another. Still, keeping them in mind lets me know where I am in the creative process, and how to get to where I need to go.

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Working out the walking while talking the walk?

Friday, 9 September, 2011

There’s a lot to be said for walking but how exactly do you put the process into words?

Such a simple activity, this walking, which like breathing quickly loses itself in the implicit background of human processes, but try describing how to do it to a tree or a lamppost, or some other being for whom, “lift your leg, move it forward, put it down” does not suffice, and you soon lose yourself in questions that go way deep, questions like, what is the relationship between time and space, and, where am I in relation to the body I call mine.

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If ideas are boring, and worse don’t pay, how can they be ideas?

Friday, 19 August, 2011

Has information narcissism, an interest in only our own thoughts, and the actions of those close to us, put paid to the big thinkers – Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, Gore Vidal, and Betty Friedan, for instance – and their big, real, and actual ideas?

If our ideas seem smaller nowadays, it’s not because we are dumber than our forebears but because we just don’t care as much about ideas as they did. In effect, we are living in an increasingly post-idea world – a world in which big, thought-provoking ideas that can’t instantly be monetized are of so little intrinsic value that fewer people are generating them and fewer outlets are disseminating them, the Internet notwithstanding. Bold ideas are almost passé.

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Easy choices make for decisions that are surprisingly hard

Tuesday, 8 March, 2011

It seems some of us underestimate the time it takes to arrive at simple decisions, such as deciding which brand of toothpaste to buy, and once confronted with a variety of options, find making a choice surprisingly challenging and time consuming, making the whole process difficult, which it shouldn’t have been.

In essence, my basic decision-making flaw is that I tend to treat easy consumer decisions (toothpaste, floss, shampoo, laundry detergent, etc.) as if they were really difficult. Although I know that every floss will work well enough, I still can’t help but contemplate the pros and cons of waxed versus unwaxed, spearmint versus wintermint. It’s an embarrassing waste of time, and yet it happens to me all the time.

Something like this happens to me, but I usually get into knots trying to work the most efficient way of going about buying say a coffee, some wine, and hiring a couple of DVDs. It’s rocket science for sure.

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Withered and twittered away, creativity and problem solving

Wednesday, 24 November, 2010

First our attention spans were lost to the continual and distracting flow of information that the internet brings, now the desire to remain constantly connected to the electronic flow of data is threatening our ability to think creativity and without interruption.

There has been much discussion about the value of the “creative pause” – a state described as “the shift from being fully engaged in a creative activity to being passively engaged, or the shift to being disengaged altogether.” This phenomenon is the seed of the break-through “a-ha!” moments that people so frequently report having in the shower. In these moments, you are completely isolated, and your mind is able to wander and churn big questions without interruption.

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The inner talk show host distorts simple thought with chatter

Thursday, 19 August, 2010

Our (inherent?) tendency to over-analyse a situation can impede our ability to make simple – instinctive – judgements on just about anything, from preferences in varieties of jam, to the choice of which apartment or house to buy.

So here’s my new metaphor for human reason: our rational faculty isn’t a scientist – it’s a talk radio host. That voice in your head spewing out eloquent reasons to do this or do that doesn’t actually know what’s going on, and it’s not particularly adept at getting you nearer to reality. Instead, it only cares about finding reasons that sound good, even if the reasons are actually irrelevant or false. (Put another way, we’re not being rational – we’re rationalizing.)

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Forget Mr Spock, to mind meld you need only talk to each other

Friday, 30 July, 2010

It may be possible to mind-meld with others without having to resort to the Vulcan technique of doing so…

When two people experience a deep connection, they’re informally described as being on the same wavelength. There may be neurological truth to that. Brain scans of a speaker and listener showed their neural activity synchronizing during storytelling. The stronger their reported connection, the closer the coupling.

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Oh the despair we weave when first we practice to overshare

Wednesday, 21 July, 2010

Life isn’t all beer and skittles for those who are fast, loud, and short in their communication style.

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by brevity, over-connectedness, emotionally starving for attention, dragging themselves through virtual communities at 3 am, surrounded by stale pizza and neglected dreams, looking for angry meaning, any meaning, same hat wearing hipsters burning for shared and skeptical approval from the holographic projected dynamo in the technology of the era, who weak connections and recession wounded and directionless, sat up, micro-conversing in the supernatural darkness of Wi-Fi-enabled cafes.

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Attaining true free-will requires a considerable degree of focus

Monday, 5 July, 2010

No matter how open, independent, or free, we regard our thinking and attitudes to be, our thought is more restricted, and open to suggestion, than we believe.

Studies have found that upon entering an office, people behave more competitively when they see a sharp leather briefcase on the desk, they talk more softly when there is a picture of a library on the wall, and they keep their desk tidier when there is a vague scent of cleaning agent in the air. But none of them are consciously aware of the influence of their environment.

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Short term memories may be the most reliable of memories

Tuesday, 29 June, 2010

Each time we recall a memory we are subtly re-editing it. The more we recall something, the more the original memory changes, to the point, I imagine, that we eventually forget what actually happened.

A memory is only as real as the last time you remembered it. The more you remember something, the less accurate the memory becomes. The larger moral of the experiment is that memory is a ceaseless process, not a repository of inert information. It shows us that every time we remember anything, the neuronal structure of the memory is delicately transformed, or reconsolidated.

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