Notes from a Conversation on the Brain and Creativity…
Intelligence is important, of course, but the brain circuitry employed in creative endeavors is running on a different track. In fact, its running on lots of tracks, stopping off and perusing various experience files with an entirely different motivation than our intelligence circuitry. This is heartening news, in my opinion: you don’t have to be a rock star physicist – or anywhere close – to co-create your reality. You just have to have a motivation. A bit of background, 1st:
A Positive Approach is Refreshing
‘In 2009, the John Templeton Foundation…put out a call for grant proposals aimed at investigators “conducting research aimed at gaining a better understanding of the ways in which the brain enables flourishing.” Qualifying projects had to “apply tools of neuroscience to positive psychological concepts”, and focus on one of the following areas:
- Virtue, strength, and positive emotion: What are the neural bases of the cognitive and affective capacities that enable virtues such as discipline, persistence, honesty, compassion, love, curiosity, social and practical intelligence, courage, creativity, and optimism?
- Meaning and positive purpose: How does the brain enable individuals and groups to find meaning and achieve larger goals?
- Decisions, values, and free will: How does the brain enable decisions based on values and how can decision-making be improved? What can neuroscience reveal about the nature of human freedom?
- Religious belief,prayer, and meditation: How do religious and spiritual practices affect neural function and behavior?
– source: Wikipedia
All That, Distilled
onbeing.org’s K. Tippett interviewed Rex Jung, a professor of neurosurgery, about the workings of creativity in our brains. Below are some of my notes and paraphrasings that you might find interesting…
- ‘creativity is something both novel and useful.’ There is a producer and a recipient.
- Different brain networks are involved with creativity than intelligence. The back and front lobes’ connectivity equals more intelligence. More is better. But less is better with creativity: Front lobes will slow down/allow a freer interplay of ideas and a broader range of roads.
- Another definition of creativity is ‘unexpected‘. This also connects to humour as the laugh is unexpected. Humour is an expression of creativity. It does not correlate to measurements of intelligence.
- Left brain equals logic/right brain equals imaginative is not true, in greatest part. Parts of both sides work in tandem for creativity to happen.
- Having too narrow of a view will stagnate creativity. You must be in a place where you interact with diverse personalities and disciplines. You must be forced to think outside your comfort zone, move out of the ruts in the road of your daily thinking.
- There’s the knowledge acquisition mode and then you have to go to quiet time to assimilate the knowledge creatively. Walk, meditation, exercise, feeding the livestock, practicing a skateboard move. Stop ongoing cognitive workings so meandering can happen.
How to cultivate creativity with purpose: some strategies:
1. Get some stuff in your head, raw materials, with which to be creative. 2. Practice practice practice. It takes time to change the structure of your brain. Pick one thing, get lots of experience. 3. Playfulness is an aspect. Bath, long walk, glass of wine. 4. A lot of rejection is usually the course for creative people. Creative people put out LOTS and lots of ideas that are not so great and get rejected. (So dont give up!)
Helpful? There’s much more at the link above.
Big Data Movement
One from TED – ‘As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there’s a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a “filter bubble” and don’t get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Eli Pariser argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.’ …and greatly cripple our creative faculties, too..
And Two on Personal Connections
Edge talk, the Science of Social Connections, dovetailed nicely for me with the deep writings of mystic Jenna Lilla about the bridge which manifests the mirror images of ego and soul. Plan some quiet time for her post; Edge speaker, Nicholas Christakis, effectively shows the scientific data that so naturally reflect some of her interpretations of Jung.
And the Astro…
Mercury square Saturn has been a recent pinger for all with many hearing the Hard Facts of a situation as it stands in its current manifestation, like it or not. Others came to a personal solid conclusion; no more fence-sitting. The good news that I am seeing and hearing is that most of you want to be put straight. It may not feel so nice, but its certainly true that you know better where you stand and thus how to proceed. And that does feel nice. As the sun moves through Aquarious, we are happy to expand our thought paths from a two lane bi-road to the super highway. This is a potentially highly-creative time and involves networking for the sake of our ideals. Venus moves forward in Capricorn on the 31st and I, for one, am looking forward to it.
I am finishing up a course on Saturn and its impacts as The Teacher archetype at pivotal moments in the individual’s life experience. I plan to incorporate some backward-looking illumination exercises into our Grounding Series for lots of ‘a ha’ moments that we can use as yet another tool for clarity in forward movement. Very cool!
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