Friday, July 16, 2010
Food for Thought
The business of Creative Thinking (incubation): is the business of using the mind’s deeper processes to work on solving life’s problems without the outer bench markers of “my ego” to assist in the process. Better said, it is getting past the habits of my own best thinking. The habits of my own best thinking were developed in “school of hard knocks”.
To be able to think imaginatively or creatively,
We have to be properly prepared by life.
When a creative person is prepared by experience, education and concentration; when the problem or the creative necessity is addressed, visualized, struggled with or studied; when all the relevant data is fed into the unconscious mind, now is the time to let go. Let the deeper part of you ... the non egotistical aspect ... do its thing. Don’t give it a time line, just let go of the problem and let the deeper part of you deal with the problem. It is what I call the idea processor ... incubation. It works out of sight behind the conscious mind.
The state of our consciousness and the mode of our knowing about our world are both conditions that are predetermined by our experience with our world (operant training). If that learning is coupled with our attempts to undo some of our original experiences to offset our original pain, then all this processing can limit how we can see our problem or the possible solutions to the problems. The greater unconscious doesn’t have this problem but the conscious mind needs to step aside and allow the deeper processes to go to work.
Once we have inputted all (the information and experience) we can about the problem then the next step is to simply let go ... get out of the way ... let the greater part of our thinking apparatus do its work. Once we have acknowledged that we have done what we can do now is the time for the deeper forces to do their work ... let it happen. Let the incubation begin. Go do something else. It will happen in its own good time but the answers or thoughts will filter through into the conscious mind. Maybe be the conscious mind will notice things in your surroundings ... things that were there all along to be seen but never noticed as part of the solution. Sometimes it will be a totally new, fresh and innovative way of doing things or thinking about things.
Robert Louis Stephenson wrote his books this way. He suffered night terrors and to get around them he developed a creative thinking mode of using what he called the “pixies” (imaginary beings) to go off into his deeper unconsciousness and bring back stories for him to be entertained by rather than the night terrors that disturbed him. One of the stories that came out of all this was Treasure Island.
Albert Einstein dreamt E=Mc2 ... he saw it written in the dust on a mirror in his mind ... he awoke and wrote it down ... then he proved it.
Brahms and Mozart all reported similar processes of hearing or seeing things in their creative mind’s eye. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of examples.
Dr Richard Morse Bucke a Canadian psychiatrist and best friend of Walt Whitman, discusses this concept in his 1892 book Cosmic Consciousness.