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mfa: [Intro] [Aesthetics] [creativity] [modeling] [tools] [Text] [ZeitRaum - Time/Space] "Isn't it amazing what you can do [create/respond] when you're angry?" -- Mm. Belcher (pr: "bell shay", artist/instructeur See also: [Imagination] (index entry) [Knowledge] (index entry) On this page: {Intro} {The Non-Linear vs The Analytical} {Learning Curves} {The Creative Process} {Classification} {Random Proceses} {Extremities and Boundaries}

Creativity -- Intro

There are natually enough many theories and such as to the nature of the "creative process" (of which we will explore subsquently). Naturally, the way in which we think (and we all think slightly differently -- even so-called identical twins) is at least as important as the what that we are creative. In understanding the ideas behind the icon-o-sphere, we see that there is a whole "range" to creativity. On the one hand, we might be fairly analytical (eg, scientific and systematic) listing out all of the possibilities of a given set of variables that have been identified as having something to with "the problem at hand". Note that this "problem" might be "what to do next as an artist", a "solution" to a problem (eg, a mathematical eqauation that is defying solving, how to get a certain thing manufactured so that it will work reliably, etc), of the problem might be how to deal with a situation involving other people -- always a difficult one. Alternatively to the *analytical* process, we might simply try to guess a solution, use an analalogy, or very commonly: Set the problem asside, and let our sub-conscious work on it for a while. Note, we often are "trapped" in a certain way of thinking about a problem and its "problem space" (area of application, environment, subject-matter, etc). Indeed as John Cage pointed out in terms of musical composition (patterns; eg, AAABBBCCC, ABABABCABABC...) "many are possible, few are tried". Indeed, as Franz Marc pointed out after hearing one of Arnold Schoenberg's early "atonomal" musical works, Can you imagine a kind of music in which tonality [that is adherence to any key] has completely disappeared? Schoenverg starts from the principle that the concepts of consonance and dissonance simply do not existl A so-called dissonance is simply a further-removed consonance. ... [The introduction continues] It is not difficult why Schoenberg's article should have been of such interest to Kandinski. The coposer's attack on the "arbitrary" ban imposed by academic teaching of harmony on the use of parallel octaves and fifrth in musical composition echoes the painter's utterances concerning academic "rules" in art. ... Schoenberg's remarks on dissonance are no less important. He suggests that dissonance "differ from consonances only in degree; thaey are nothing other than more distant consonances, whose analysis presents the ear with greater difficults, because of their remoteness but which, once analysis has brought them nearer, hve just as much chance of becoming consaonances as the more immediate overtones." [as quoted in the introduction to Kandinski's essay: "Footnotes to Shcoenberg's 'On Parallel Octaves and Fifths', Pp. 91-92.] These points bring up not only how we create, but how we use what we have learned (our previous programming, limitations, etc) and how we have to (or try to) "break free" and reach the next stage in the creative struggle. We know from "classical" theory of learning, that brains (all brains) are "wired" to make sense of the world. As per Jean Piaget pointed out there is a "hierarchy" associated with not only how we learn, but what we "can" learn at any given stage in our intellectual development. Roughtly speaking, he outlined these steps and tied them to the age of the child (and hence their CHRONOGICAL development). These are summarised here: Young Children are "naieve realists" -- placing complete trust in the appearances of things but they are unable to reason abstractly even about things right in front of them. Thus, some lemonade poured from a short, fat glass into a tall thin one must somehow now be MORE since tall things are assoiated with "more". Thus, they can not correlate the two variables volume and height (in 2 dimensions) at the same time. The next stage is "concrete abstraction" -- now able to reason about things having properties; as long as the properties are not "too abstract". Thus, they understand the some-what abstract property of the "constance of volume" and thus know (although may not completely understand and not be able to explain) why the lemonade is the same amount and it doesn't matter what the shape of the glass is. The next stage is "total abstraction" -- including the ability to manipulate sysmbolic items (Eg, algebra), as well as deal with second order (meta) logic problems. This includes the ability to understand analogoies, etc. THe finaly stage is when they are able to not only reason in abstract (and concrete terms), but also, to create new models of the world around them. [Adapted from "Pwychology and Life, 8th edition by Floyd L. Ruch and Phiilip Simbardo, Scott-Foresman, 1971, P.144-5] Oddly enough, children display an amaszing amount of "creativity" in the way that they see the world. Part of this is that they do not have a large built-up pre-existing catalog of knowledge. Additionally, since their brains are still very plastic and developing, they are not yet hard wired into the "ways of the world". Of course, there are limitations to that creativity, since they are limited to the ways that they can "model" the world around them (as per Piaget, and others). But in one very special aspect, they are quite literally able to make a link between almost any two ideas. Thus, while playing with a toy car, they may suddenly make it fly like an airplane, despite the fact that they have probably NEVER seen a car that flies or an airplane that rolls around on the ground -- "logic" is expanded (created) as per the needs of the STORY being played out. In the same way, as people get older, they tend to become more codified (ossified one might say) and when asked to create a NEW story, they simply re-hash a story that they have seen before, making slight changes that are not really very creative at all. One could argue that it is unfair to criticise in this fashion since "everything has been done before" and the classic idea that there are ONLY 23 actually different plots (pick a number; 5? 12? etc). Still, writers continue to run the combinations and permutations and end up generating shelves and shelves of "new fiction". We should dwell upon this for a while. In the case of the so-called "Monty Python" we see the effects of a very creative process by highly creative individuals working apart, as partners, and as a unified team. At about the fifth season, John Cleese decide to leave the group, noting that when they had gotten to the point where you could identify this sketch as being a bit of this one from the second season and some of that from the fourth season, then it was time to quit. Later of course, they returned, this time working on new crative efforts (separately or in new teams), as well as the films. But, again, they ran into a lack of creative productivity. THus, like most processes: They move for a while, and then instead of being able to move forward, end up either stopping entirely or simply repeating their past glories in slightly different forms. We often talk about the "leaps forward" in the creaative process as being a result of a "paradigm shift". That is, re-casting what is known by either emphasising aspects that were previously given little attention, or using some means to "break through" the old way of thining. A good example of this is that of the world of the quantum. So strong was the idea of Newton's "predictable and analytical" universe that it wasn't until Max Plank made the break through that instead of being continuous, energy came in packets (quanta). In a like manner, Einstein finally made the break with Newtonian absolute time and space by imaginging his thought experiments of traveling on a trolley or in a motorcyle at near the speed of light and what would happen if he went AT or PAST the speed of light. In both cases, the scientists did NOT discard all that was previously known (a common mis-perception), but rather began to re-focus their attention on certain underlaying assumptions that "of course this is just this, and that is just that; the real problem is with this thing here" -- discovering that indee the "this is just this" was the problem all the time. Thus, part of the problem of creativity (and thus, the need for new models (like the iconosphere) is to "break free" of the complacency of the familiar and try to find new ways to look at old problems. An interesting example arose in the results of using pesticides to kill crop-eating pests. After a while, the insects would develop an immunity to the chemicals and their composition had to be changed or at least increased in strength -- not with-standing the findings of the late, great Rachel Carson that all of those pesticides were inding up inside of us! A modern (and very effective) solution is to not use pesticides at all, but rather to use Lady Bugs who have a voracious appetite for the crop-pests; a solution, that seems to hold long-term promise, since while many insects might develop an immunity to the latest pesticide, few can evolve quickly enough to develop and immunity to being eaten. Naturally, we should NOT forget the lesson of the introduction of rabbits and cane toads into Australlia to "solve" certain problems. In this case, tilting the balance of evolution out of all sorts of proportion by introducing very competitive species into an ecosystem that had long since "sorted it out" and was in balance -- despite the fact that the humans thought otherwise. Thus, part of the creative "problem" is not to just find A solution, but to find one which is emotionally, aesthetically, and practically satisfying. The evaluation of a "solution" naturally requires us to "take off our creating caps" and begin a close analysis of the problem, the various solutions, and their possible consequences. (We disucss this in a later section).

The Non-Linear vs The Analytical

creative: ADD/AHAD, etc - brain storms analytical: must examine in the aristoltian way "law: Reason without passion" Jonathon Miller - The heart surgeon as heartless engineer. etc. but the test? where is that? dream castles hmmmm {

Creativity - Learning Curves

In the process of "creative discovery" one is often struck with the inadequency of what one knows in order to "solve" the problem at hand. Einstein often refered to this by the following "algorithm" (if i may so phrase, and para-phrase his thoughts here)... He would let the problem guide him as to what he should study. If he needed to learn how to manipulate tensors (a kind of 3 or 4 dimensional vector or a matrix (grid) of numbers) then that is what he would "go off" and study. As he then returned to his original problem, he might feel that he needed to study some aspect of classical mechanics (eg, a person swimming across a river as opposed to a person swiming up and down (against or with the current), etc). Thus, the lesson that we learn is that often the thing which is perplexing us is doing so, not in and of itself, but rather as to some *hidden* aspects of its nature. -[

Creativity -- Process

The most important thing to note is that the creative process is (like many things) cyclical. Let us say that we start off to "solve some specific problem". We might begin by brain-storming (randomly generating ideas). We then go to an analysis phase where we ANALYTICALLY evaluate each alternative in terms of aspects such as viability, practicality, short-comings, strengths, etc.

Creativity -- Classification

In this section: {
The Technological Step} {The Search for Patterns}

The Technological Step

In the normal process of describing "things", we find that we often wonder if the thing is all that it is, or that it might be something else. This is the essential "technological step" in the creative process. If we think about this for a moment, several examples come readily to mind... As a fire burns, it creates light (and a lot of heat and of course smoke, and ashes, and the crusts (charcoal) of the un-burned wood). This is the first step: Take the thing and examine it. It might be nice to catalog all of the things that we know about it as with the fire above. But, there are simply too many aspects to be considered in depth. That is the "cataloging" process is most commonly relegated to the so-called "brainstorming" process. But, there are mote to thse two aspects of observation/cataloging. We observe the thing and note its more prevalent aspects -- that is the most obvious aspects. This is cataloging. It is the basis of most of human understanding of the material world around us. That the process can be applied to the non-material aspects of existence is a clue to the power of cataloging. But an often over-looked aspect is the cataloging of the obvious (and non-obvious) aspects of what the thing is NOT. This is the so-called "negative catalog". Thus we might have: For example, a fire is not a cat, a mouse, or other animal, it's not a rock (or is it? is it perhaps a rock that burns -- i'm talking about the fire, not the oxygen or the wood), it's not a sign (or is it? we think of the Judaic tradtion of G-d being represented by a burning bush. Fire as knowledge, as power, as revelation), it's not a mountain (what about a mountain of fire? Even if we've never seen a volcano we could imagine it. This might lead us to: it's not a river (but again, with a lava flow, we could imagine a river of fire, also with all of the traffic along the main highways at rush hour -- all of the cars and trucks burning gasoline continuously reminds one a river of fire that extends all along the highway... etc. Thus, we see that the negative-catalog shares much in common with the process of brainstorming. Brainstorming is trying to just let the mind float free and un-tethered and un-burdened by the normal restrictions of linear thought. We note that everything is actually non-linear, it's just that in certain circumstances we follow a *logical* line of reasoning, carefully constructing one statement and then from that stepping to the next, and so forth until at last we have "proved" (to our satisfaction for the moment) something about the thing in question. The brainstorming process (especially with more than one person) depends upon the fact that different people do not think in the same way or about the same things -- or even Know the same things. Thus, in a brainstorming session, one person sez "Rock Hudson", the next person might well say "gay" or "sponge" (there are actually logical reasons for either response). This would then trigger the next person to perhaps say "aids" or "gore" (again depending upon their background and K-base (knowledge-base). I close with the idea that cataloging must necessarily be in-complete and probably an on-going process. While brainstorming and its shadowy twin, negative-cataloging, are necessarily open-ended and may in fact have no end in sight. Time will exhaust itself, and the process will terminate. The results are then taken into the analysis phase.

Creativity -- Analysis

Once we have our little lists of things about the thing -- probably a mix of properties, non-properties, aspects, components, uses, free associations, etc. Then, we can proceed to sift thru the various things until we find something that intrigues us; it's difficult to be creative about somethng that you find un-interesting or repulsive. We might approach the creative process in any manner of ways. We make up cards and place them on the ground and re-arrange them until something "interesting" shows up -- that is: a random approach. At the other end of the scale of actions, we might have some strict guidelines, algorithms, or procedures which we follow to examine the thing. This is the method by which an autopsy (post-mortem) must proceed: Systematically. It might be obvious that "the body in question" (Johnathan Miller, TV series) has a bullet that killed them, but if the ME (medical examiner) doesn't follow a set proceedure, something else might be missed. This is the basis of many of the Sherlock Holms stories: The police jump to the conclusion that just because a gun of austrian make is found beside the body of an Austrian Spy, and Lady Beryl is austrian, and has confessed to the murder, that she MUST be the murderer (murderess?) ("The Case of Lady Beryl", by Sheldon Reynolds, et al; vid). But, we know that from the CREATIVE POV (point of view), that if we solely follow an analytical approach, then we are bound to discover certain inherent aspects of the thing. And that if we use a more randomised approach, then we are much more likely to discover un-expected things. Both approaches are required at all times. But, due to the lack of energy or number of participants, not all of the possiblities are likely to be taken. (This goes back to the statment by the composer John Cage who said that while many possible patterns of music are possible (eg, AA, AB, BB, BA, AAA, AAB, ...) FEW are tried.) It is the worst thing (in terms of creativity) to pronounce a field of study as "closed" or "completed". Indeed as Will Insley reminds us: Just because something has been clossified as a "movement" (something that moves for a period and then stops), doesn't mean that the field has been exhausted.

The Search for Patterns

See also: -[
Randomness (Scientist: maths)]- -[Jazzist patterns]- One process of the creative process is to "let randomness form part of our being"; see link ABOVE. However, the patterns emerge since we are "pattern gathering machines". In the same way that "3 forms a pattern". Notice how this differs from something like "Heads & Tails" on a coin toss: There is NO pattern: All events are equal. However, it was of course Blaise Pascal noticed that there WERE patterns in gambling (dice and cards) -- thus, things might be random, but there were under-laying "laws" that brought order to the seeeming randomness. Thus, a person who is "probability wise" can know how to win at dice and cards -- as well as knowing when NOT to play. Further, these laws (once they were exposed to mathematical analysis) led to further revealed laws. One of the best known is in the game of "21" (Black Jack) and how "counting cards" could improve your odds tremendously - further a group of mathematicians quite litterly "took Las Vegas to the Bank" -- by going into group gambling strategies. Imagine the same thinking applied to "team playing" in chess or other "manu a manu" (Spanish: Man against Man ??sp??) games. But, by the same token, our purpose in creativity is to go beyond *mere* patterns in the chaos or the analysis of order and randomness. This again brings in our old friend "reasoning by analogues" (in addition to "deductive" and "inducutive" reasoning. Thus, for the visual artist we use "art history" as a pattern method to go beyond "mere" technical skills. For the musician, danser, and even to a certain extent the dramtist to use "established patterns" combined in new ways - again going back to John Cage's view that although many patterns are possible, few are attempted. With the advent of the computer (both in terms of text reproduction as well as visual and auditory reproduction) allows the artist to create very many "variations on a theme". For example, part of the genius of Beethovan or Chaikovski was that they could come up with many variations on the basic underlaying theme of a melody. Note that we must contrast that kind of creativity from that of Bach and the jazzists -- sythesising new areas of pure creation (almost totally NOT-thematic explorations) from a starting pattern (usually of very simple construction).

Randoness and Creativity

See also: -[
Quantum Reality]- (spiritualist entry) -[maps]- (spiritualist/philo) -[AR x AR (model1, model2) --> The Creative Art]- -^_6