April 12, 2019

Become More Creative

“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not. ”

― Pablo Picasso, Pablo Picasso: Metamorphoses of the Human Form : Graphic Works, 1895-1972

The creativity of the mind, is the manifestation of the creative force of the universe at large. It's our sensitivity to similarity and differences where one is able to perceive new structures in the world as well as in our mind. Our level of sensitivity to these differences or similarities defines the level of creativity we possess.

When a human being creates, she is open to perceiving the dynamism and movement of the world around her, while realizing that her own perception is intimately participating with the world which it perceives.

Why are children so curious? What inspires them and motivates them?

In a way, we are all like children, curious to learn of something fundamentally new, discovering new lawfulness in the world as perceived. The impulse to learn is not merely the learning of facts, the appeal is that of perceiving new relationships. How are things the same and how do they differ? Our perceptions of the world affect "reality" in our attempt to bring a coherent relationship between our thought processes and the world we are looking to interpret.

While everyone seems to agree that all human beings innately possess creativity, people generally struggle to understand how exactly to keep or cultivate it. There are a number of experts and a plethora of information in books, media, and internet discussing the various methods to promote our creativity directly, but I prefer to bring  attention to those who call to us to examine the cause(s) of why we might not possess it or why we often feel we have lost it. David Bohm is one of these interesting people, who in his book 'On Creativity', discusses confusion in the context of losing our creative powers.

Bohm differentiates between two types of confusion: There is simple confusion, which he describes as the problem of not understanding something, such as a math problem or directions to the post office.  Self-sustained confusion is when one's mind is trying to escape a conflict where it is described as a "deep intention to  avoid perceiving a fact due to inner conflict."

When a person is creative, they need to be able to respond to the ever-changing elements of the world and the challenges around them. In other words, we need focus, clarity and a mind free of distractions.

Sensory distractions can cause us to lose focus but it is the emotional distractions that are often more destructive, obscuring the mind, stealing our attention, particularly in the form of the never-ending chatter of our minds.

Inner Conflict

When we experience this conflict, our mind is confused between multiple perspectives or inclinations and is not able to focus.
This mindset can be described as wavering, volatile and scattered. Not having clarity leads to confusion, lack of awareness or both.

The human mind tends to want to avoid contradictions between what our reality is and a perceived desired state, so it will decide to wander.

"Either it continues to dart from one thing to another, or it reacts with violent excitement that limits all attention to some triviality, or it becomes dead, dull, or anesthetized, or it projects fantasies that cover up all the contradictions, or it does something else that makes one momentarily unaware of the painful state of conflict in which the mind is."

-David Bohm "On Creativity"

It is our minds inability to deal with the contradictory mindsets that prevent us from focusing our full attention which is often needed for creative work. 
Bohm, instead of promoting creativity directly, calls individuals to confront the contradictions that developed in the mind which contribute to the sense of confusion that prevents us from reaching our full creative potential. 

"We need to give patient, sustained attention to the activity of confusion, rather than attempting to promote creativity directly. Giving simple attention – a finer, faster process than confusion – is itself the primary creative act. "

-David Bohm "On Creativity"

He proceeds to describe creativity as a "form of attention":

"From such attention, originality and creativity begin to emerge, not as something that is the result of an effort to achieve a planned and formulated goal, but rather, as the by-product of a mind that is coming to a more nearly normal order of operation."

-David Bohm "On Creativity"

Creativity and discovery process

During this process, we remain open to ideas from the world around us and naturally discover other people that have perspectives and ideas that feed our interest. They take us on paths that lead to other paths. With each path our discovery of more people and exponential ways of pairing ideas and perspectives into what motivates and moves us.

We focus on sensing the world,  being hoarders of ideas, the impulse collection of the world and experiences around us turned into ongoing growth, seeking and perceiving connections between experiences and the various subject matter.

The less we draw lines between reality and imagination, the more smoothly one moves between the two worlds of sense and perception, external and internal as fluid as day turning into night. 

Creativity, therefore, has a dual aspect, inner and outer worlds interplaying. Additionally, we have to rely on our categorization (encoding) of information relevant to the topic, combination of relevant information and the comparison (similarity and differences) which is based on the use of past experience that is applicable to the topic.

Creativity Realized - the interdependence of creators and those influenced

Insight is an interesting beast,  that manifests itself suddenly, such as an understanding of how to solve a difficult problem. It is the work that leads up to an insight that directly causes it, since action stimulates inspiration more often than inspiration stimulates action.
Categorization of the information helps us make sense of things and define them according to language and ideas others should be able to relate to. Your insight, whether through the creation of a piece of art, writing or solution to a problem, cultivates interest and inspires others to perceive the world differently and take action on those ideas. The individual's ultimate realization of creativity is the process but the value is what the creator is able to pass on to others.

“Edison’s or Einstein’s discoveries would be inconceivable without the prior knowledge, without the intellectual and social network that stimulated their thinking, and without the social mechanisms that recognized and spread their innovations.”

Read about how we create...

― Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention

What are your creativity blockers?

Leave a Reply

This is MojoExpressions

Our community of strong women serves to provide inspiration and resources fostering personal growth, stress management, and self-mastery.
Sign Up
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram