Synopsis (including table of contents, foreword, introduction, epilogue and a few chapters )of the manuscript titled:
CREATIVITY EXPLORED ......
in Gullivers footsteps
by James Henry Clemens
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!
"The consciousness of the observer must be altered,.....
reoriented toward the unbroken wholeness of which everything is a form.'
This book tries to come to grips with the elusive characteristics of creativity. My belief is that it will help the reader to make the enriching experience of the journey into her/his imagination. The metaphor which provides its framework is a great work of literature: Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift.
A book that is a classic children's story and at the same time a rather obscene tale, which Swift used to present his view of the world. He has used the imagination by means of which he could recreate that world in a form which teaches where argument fails and will mislead no one.
This great work of satire, in itself a masterpiece of creativeness, I have used to create the bearings in an unknown territory. When I was a child this book had a great attraction for me. Later when I studied English I again came across it. To my surprise I found that Gulliver had visited 4 countries instead of the three which my censored childhood version had presented. And again it did not fail to attract me.
In my attempts to teach creative thinking, it occurred to me that this book might serve very well to introduce yet another country, which too often left unexplored, the Unexplored parts of the creative Self.
It is a land visited by many solitary geniuses of the past and the present .
On our endeavors to enter this land we find ourselves, just like Gulliver, quite often shipwrecked on a foreign shore.Our ideas are sometimes described as childish, far out, unrealistic or a dream. This book aims to demystify this -often- solitary experience and show how it can be practically applied and shared with others.
Throughout this book I will use Gulliver's Travels as a metaphor to render difficult concepts comprehensible. Of course a metaphor is just that - a metaphor. It sheds light on particular aspects and obliterates others. It describes subjective experiences which can point in the direction of creativity and how to cultivate it. As incredible as it may seem basically creativity is a matter of input, processing and output.
What matters is how we let this process happen. It is a matter of stretching the mind -by yourself- so as to make more of your everyday experiences.
After the outline in the introduction each 'book' starts with a summary of one of Gulliver's travels, after which a number of concepts are presented which have more or less a connection with the particular visit. These concepts have been presented alphabetically to enable quick perusal.
I do not claim that by studying this book you will become a creative genius. However, I do feel that once you have considered the ideas, techniques and concepts, you may be able to feel no longer like an alien on your own planet. And what is more be able to stretch your own limits and boundaries. For, as many philosophers have said, life being just an illusion, it is worthwhile to increase your powers of illusion and find ways to realize them.
Eindhoven, the Netherlands
I think I have seen the Western mistake.
You are very able to distinguish things,
but you are unable to put all things together.
Your scientific conceptions therefore all have holes in them,
and numerous incomplete principles are set forth.
If you continue in this way,
you will never be able to repair this.
This is a book about creative techniques and how to cultivate one's personal creativity. It is not a book which tells you exactly what to do, rather it points at aspects that warrant interest and attention. The general framework is that of the voyage, the shipwreck and the new land. I. e. the need for new ideas, the search, the departure from the everyday routine, the new.
The concepts in each 'book' have a main theme; in Lilliput this is looking and seeing, in Brobdingnag this is the personal attitude, in Laputa some scientific and technical aspects are reviewed, Houyhnhm surveys some of the psychological aspects, finally in the last 'book' a number of creative techniques are presented. Developing creativity, for me, means developing the 'self'. Our creative self which is visible in our childhood but then still lacks the mature, balanced qualities. The paradox of our life seems to be that we first have to lose our naive 'sense of wonder' in order to recreate it later on. That is why I have given much attention to cultural aspects and explored the offerings of the East. For it seems that while Western culture offers much in the way of 'distinguishing' things, the Eastern cultures offer more in the way of 'putting things together'. The combination of the two would seem to offer most for personal development.
(1)To become creative the first step is to develop the creative attitude.
A paradox: by focussing on my 'self' I improve my view of the world and do not become self-centred but opportunity-centred.
With this creative attitude (2) I will be able to analyze situations and see what is wanted.
(3) Then I can learn and fill my mind with facts.
(4) With the help of techniques I can search for ideas.
(5) The confidence so created will help me to let the facts simmer and incubate.
(6) The peace and quiet will let me see the new and original opportunities.
(7) finally I will manage to create an environment in which these ideas will come to fruition. By continually working on myself I will improve my environment by acting rather than by speaking.
The satisfaction of self-actualization will make me happy and give me recognition, not from without but from within.
It will be clear that this is not a 'passive' reading book, neither is Gulliver's Travels. Good literature puts into words what we often imagined, there is often recognition, a new awareness of what was hidden in our unconscious. Satire is an ideal way to show us our habits and routines bigger than life. It is a catalyst and can give us ideas. Exactly what Gulliver's Travels has done to me. No doubt all of us have a book or film which made a great impression and if this approach makes you aware of the potential of such a work of art, it has been successful. My purpose is to awaken the dormant desire in most of us to make something better of the way things are. Often we feel the need but do not see the possibility, as 'it's me against the rest of the world'. However, I do not think so, rather 'it is me and the rest'. What I have to think about is how I can set upon this. I know that I can change my environment and help others to change. I also am aware of the fact that I cannot change people against their wish. This has been the line throughout the book: to show aspects of creativity which may present new vistas for the reader worthwhile of further exploration.
It is not passive in the sense that you always have to do it yourself and there does not exist a foolproof quick method as the following Zen story may demonstrate.
The Taste of Banzo's Sword (Paul Reps, zen bones zen flesh)
Matajuro Yagyu was the son of a famous swordsman. His father, believing that his son's work was too mediocre to anticipate mastership, disowned him.
So Matajuro went to Mount Futara and there found the famous swordsman Banzo. But Banzo confirmed the father's judgement. "You wish to learn swordmanship under my guidance?" asked Banzo. "You cannot fulfill the requirements." "But if I work hard, how many years will it take me to become a master?" persisted the youth. "The rest of your life," replied Banzo. "I cannot wait that long," explained Matajuro. "I am willing to pass through any hardship if only you will teach me. If I become your devoted servant, how long might it be?" "Oh, maybe ten years," Banzo relented. "My father is getting old, and soon I must take care of him," continued Matajuro. "If I work far more intensively, how long would it take me?" "Oh maybe thirty years," said Banzo. "Why is that?" asked Matajuro. "First you say ten and now thirty years. I will undergo any hardship to master this art in the shortest time!" "Well," said Banzo, "in that case you will have to remain with me for seventy years. A man in such a hurry as you are to get results seldom learns quickly." "Very well," declared the youth, understanding at last he was being rebuked for impatience, "I agree."
Matajuro was told never to speak of fencing and never to touch a sword. He cooked for his master, washed the dishes, made his bed, cleaned the yard, cared for the garden, all without a word of swordmanship. Three years passed. Still Matajuro laboured on. Thinking of his future, he was sad. He had not even begun to learn the art to which he had devoted his life. But one day Banzo crept up behind him and gave him a terrific blow with a wooden sword. The following day, when Matajuro was cooking rice, Banzo again sprang up upon him unexpectedly. After that, day and night, Matajuro had to defend himself from unexpected thrusts. Not a moment passed in any day that he did not have to think of the taste of Banzo's sword. He learnt so rapidly he brought smiles to the face of his master. Matajuro became the greatest swordsman in the land.
Relearning creativity is very much like Matajuro's way of learning sword fighting. Much attention has to be given to seemingly unrelated things, it is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Banzo was a true master because he understood that the art of sword-fighting is not so much wielding the sword (having ideas) but defending (perspiration). You must also not want to see quick results for: 'A man in such a hurry as you are to get results seldom learns quickly.'
This book is an explorer's book and you never know what lies ahead. Still you can prepare for the unexpected by paying attention to details of everyday life and working on your creative powers now.
Yesterday happened, tomorrow is just possible, but today is now.
In the fullest sense of the word it is an explorer's handbook, as we follow in the footsteps of the physician Mr. Lemuel Gulliver, a restless person who sees life as a journey.
The framework of this book is provided by Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. Therefore first a short description of the writer is given followed by an outline of the Travels.
Fear is the mind-talk that prevents you from hearing your intuition
Reaching this page has brought about a change. The book must have been opened. Some may have glimpsed through it, others may have started on page 1, And then again, others may have started here. The fundamental message about creativity in this book is: Dare to change. and if you find this difficult, practice when you have plenty of time. Then you will develop a creative attitude.
Painful at first, but rewarding in the end.
LIFE IS AN OPPORTUNITY, NOT AN OBLIGATION.
Change is inevitable, it is in every breath we take, it is also the essence of creativity. The opposite of willingness to change is conformity. When conformity is the guiding principle, the individual will try to behave as he or she thinks others will want him or her to behave. And if you always try to please others, the self gets no chance. The conforming individual willingly and knowingly adopts the habits and customs of the moment as the right ones and abhors change. The main problem (!) in problem solving is that it tends to promote conformity. Every solution usually creates at least two new problems because it is only interested in the short term.
How intelligence can kill you!
In an experiment twenty bees were put in an open bottle. At the end of the day all twenty bees were dead. The next day twenty flies were put in the same bottle and at the end of the day they were all out! This may be very surprising at first sight, for bees are the product of a thirty-million-year evolution process and highly intelligent. Flies on the other hand are insects that cannot pride themselves on such a background, yet they survive.
The bees are aware that they are in captivity (problem-setting) and see the solution (the light). They act on this information as all intelligent creatures do and choose the shortest way to the solution. Unfortunately the glass is invisible and so they die. The flies probably do not even know they are in captivity. They just fly (what else is there to be done with such a name?) and by mere coincidence they find the exit and perhaps are not even aware that they are outside. When offered the choice between bee and fly, it is my experience that most people tend to choose for the bee, before they have heard of the above sad story. It seems a useful and intelligent creature and for some an important motive is that it is armed with a sting. Besides, we are also intelligent beings and birds of a feather flock together. So from this viewpoint the choice is not so bad, yet with all their intelligence they do not come out of the bottle. In fact most intelligent people would follow the same procedure: setting the problem and looking for a solution. It is called convergent thinking and is part of the logical and intelligent thinking process.
and tends to make us unhappy with the results.
We can distinguish three forms of thinking:
Intelligent thinking: from problem to solution;
inventive thinking: after stating the problem alternatives are formulated, and
creative thinking: the situation is redefined or reformulated. I change my position and look from different angles.
When a high apartment block had been built the people were very annoyed by the long waiting times for the lifts. The problem was easy to define: not enough lifts. The solution would be to build more lifts, but this was much too costly. When the attention was diverted to the problem-owners the situation could be redefined: people were bored when waiting. So large mirrors were installed and, although waiting times had not changed, people were kept busy and no longer had a problem.
Creative thinking is a divergent process: . After describing the situation, different aspects in the situation are considered. An excursion is made, so that different angles can be viewed, something which the flies seem to be very good in. The creative attitude would therefore involve a combination of bee and fly: a bee that dares to fly, seemingly aimlessly, around.
Intelligent thinking is called vertical by Edward de Bono. By digging a hole deeper you do not get a new hole. And although many problem-solvers are aware of this, too many accept that digging is what counts. Where this leads to the story of the bees has shown. The creative thinker accepts that he/she has to move and change.
This seems to be the greatest difficulty: abrupt change. For we have to make choices between change or no change continually (see p. 108). And change affects the stability. When it is gradual change (You cannot step into the same river twice as the water continually flows on Herakleitos) we usually do not feel it as change, we adapt and there hardly seems to be a problem, until it may be too late. It is the abrupt, discontinuous change that frightens us (cf. crisis, p. 48) and draws all attention to the danger and creates fear. The rules seem then to have changed suddenly and we try to cope with old familiar rules in new, unfamiliar situations.
In his book: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas S. Kuhn calls these rules: paradigms. Websters Dictionary calls a paradigm: example, pattern. It is really a way of looking at things according to fixed and agreed rules, i.e. it is a way of conforming. Thus the Swiss watchmakers were unable to see the potential of the quartz watch, and when the oil crisis came American car makers were unable to head off the small, economical Japanese car.
Reformulating/reframing, the essential characteristic of creative thinking means playing with the rules (or examples, or patterns) and then see what happens. By redefining a situation you might even create new problems (e.g. when children use chairs to build a train), and that is exactly what logical intelligent thinking does not allow.
As Walt Whitman says: ...when I came to a crossroad,I took the one least used. Conforming people will take the well-trodden paths and create nothing new. Not because it cannot be done, but because it does not fit within their paradigm .
Creative thinking does not mean telling others how to change (when I point at others, there are three fingers pointing at myself), but taking the risks of change consciously.
It is a typical case of transformation. Everything is in constant change and when approaching the environment from this perspective it is wise to accept the following premises:
* Change is a constant process.
* In the long run everything changes into its opposite (after summer comes winter).
* Keep an eye for the totality of things; what are the rules? What has changed? Why is it changing?
* Be open to change and check your own routines (paradigms), changing them every now and then opens up new vistas.
* Combine intuition with logic and always look for at least one second-best solution.
* Never accept other peoples problems, look for yourself, not for solutions, but compare the present situation with : What is wanted?
For the analysis I recommend the SAP-model:
Never start with a problem, you get entangled in a process which can be described as: Start with a problem, stop with the solution, and prevent new problems by controlling everything.
SAP stands for Situation, Angles/Aspects and People/Paradigms.
#1 Analyse the complete situation.
Be open-minded and forget all you know. Describe the situation as extensively and detailed as possible.Make a mind map and use a metaphor, brain storm and mind storm.
#2 Analyse aspects in the situation; look at the situation from different angles.
Describe the different aspects that draw your or other peoples attention. In this way the facts will lead your looking and not the assumed problem.
#3 Analyse the people/paradigms in this particular situation.
Describe the positions of the people involved and what is at stake for them; why do they see things the way they do?.Describe the rules or patterns by which things are done.
The problems (another P) will come to the fore together with the opportunities in the same situation. Remember: the people who have made the problems, usually are the people who also know the solutions. But once they have called it a problem, they forget that they know the solutions as well.
This is what creativity is all about and what this book has tried to explain. There is not one dead certain road or way to do things. That is a dead end, it would just mean changing the paradigm. Every new situation dictates what to do. This requires the ability to balance between intelligence and coincidence, i.e. a bee that dares to fly.
Do not exalt the very gifted,
And people will not contend.
Do not treasure goods that are hard to get,
And people will not become thieves.
Do not focus on desires,
And peoples minds will not be confused.
Therefore, Evolved Individuals lead others by
Opening their minds
Reinforcing their centers,
Relaxing their desires,
Strengthening their characters.
Let the people always act without strategy or desire;
Let the clever not venture to act.
Act without action,and nothing is without order.
Although it is impossible to mention all the books that have taught me to find my way in the land of creativity, a few stand out very clearly. They have helped me launch myself, for the integration into ones personality is always a task for the individual.
A survey of some chapters
'Never do as others do'
in Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson
Minor details are often the source of major problems, as Gulliver finds out to his dismay. Is many little threads that hold him down when he awakes. The same point is taken up by Robert Pirsig in his book Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance. See also part 5, first entry. Often it is the minor details that break our necks in the stage of implementation. In an organism as big as an elephant a defective happening on a molecular level may cause a cancer and thus kill the animal. This may cause a discontinuous change (see crisis) although at first sight it may not be related at all.
Analysis and groundwork must therefore always be considered at different levels.
It may also be those minor details which have our attention when we are looking for ideas. They may keep us from prospecting new vistas, because we know we don't have such or such a tool, or that it won't be possible anyway. Details should be given full attention during verification, they should never play a role during the stage of inventive search. However big they may be looming in our minds.
exploring the hidden potential
Visualizing means reclaiming your powers of imagination you had as a child. It may seem rather childish, but so what. It lightens up the dark recesses of our unconscious and heightens awareness. You will start using the space you have without interfering with other people's space.It is impossible to imagine just how much you really know, for everything you have sensed throughout your life has been recorded. Psycho-analysis tells us that the most formative years of our lives are the first three, paradoxically the time we seem to remember least. That we are unaware of what happened does not mean that we no longer carry the information. It just means that we don't remember. In our growth we seem to go through different stages of evolution, the atmosphere in the womb is very much like the sea(!), tapping from this hidden knowledge is what imagination is all about. Training your imagination by retrieving your powers of visualization is important. It helps you to see behind things, to become aware of the potential and opportunities. Factual looking involves the observing of the facts and dangers, imagining is a next step to create awareness of the -hidden- opportunities (cf. crisis). It means filling your 'living space' in a different manner, not by actively moving but by actively observing, while remaining still. You 'zero out', see there.
Find a peaceful place and sit down quietly.
First ask yourself some questions e.g.
What is my situation?
Why is it a problem?
When did it become a problem?
What is my role in this situation?
How did it become a problem?
Sit still and do not try to move for at least 10 minutes. Do not try to sort the information and images that will start to come. Watch them but do not act. Watch those thoughts as if you were a great lake in which stones fall down. The point is to let the stones (thoughts) land safely on the bottom of this lake. Then they may provoke new feelings and intuitions. After some minutes of tranquility you will have more ideas than time to realize them.
Hints to engage in active imagination:
Since gulliver travelled to Brobdingnag, you could imagine yourself to be Gulliver, a restless person, looking for new horizons. You are left behind on a foreign shore when your mates are chased by a giant. You run and find yourself in a gigantic cornfield. You are found and by behaving to the best of your abilities you are accepted as an interesting piece of vermin. Yet you are not seen as a human being. Visualize yourself in a cage, exactly like a small room. Small things which did not used to trouble you suddenly become very important. Defend yourself against gigantic wasps and rats as big as bulls. Start visualizing everything around you to exact scale. Exactly the way Swift described everything in detail. Then make your problem as big as the Brobdingnagians. However, it no longer is your main problem it is now their problem, because 'minor' things like cats and dogs become much more important. Regard it as Gulliver regarded his situation. Visualize your 'problem' from high above in your 'cage', fly over your problem, just look and do not try to find solutions!
Think of the way Gulliver managed and was finally picked up by a bird and thrown into the sea. Then your are picked up by a ship and return to your own country with a bounty of new ideas.
work and play
The finite game prepares the player against surprise,
the infinite game prepares the player for surprise.
The difference between work and play is one of the most destructive aspects of Western culture. Outgrowing this distinction may very well be the essence of creative thinking. Regarding work and play as something different creates a block. The Taoists regarded life as a comedy, Shakespeare as a play, and James P. Carse explains in his book 'Finite and Infinite Games' what kind of plays there are. Creativity is not outside of us but within. In the right environment it always comes out. Every child 'lives creatively', without wondering if what it is doing is work or play. At school this changes. There is playtime and -most of the time- work to be done. No wonder that many of us feel uncertain when there is nothing to be done. Daydreaming is called idleness, and we are not supposed to idle our time away. The question to ask ourselves is if we divide our time between fun things and boring things called work. How much do I feel that play is the reward of work? How deeply do I feel that work cannot be play nor play work?
By calling work play I do not change everything. But looking for the challenge or play in every activity changes a lot. We all know that if I do my work with fun I will do a better job, but what's more, people who do have fun in their jobs know that the work is not 'the product' of our activities, but the activity itself. It is like quality, the meaning of creativity lies in the activity and not just in the product. When we have fun in our work we will look better and see more. We shall be open and want to make much of it.
Distinguishing work from play is seeing life as a finite game; with fixed, unchanging rules, referees, winners and losers and a reward. In the finite game the players know what is expected and the surprise lies in the game itself.
The infinite game player knows that the game has ever changing rules, knows no end (every horizon opens onto a new horizon), the referees are not on the sideline but the players themselves and the reward is playing rather than winning. The infinite player does not want to score at the expense of others (no-win situation) but tries to create win-win situations. The players themselves are responsible for the game. The point is not to be better than others but to fulfill ones own potential: compete with yourself.
When the organization and rules are very strict things become very much like a finite game and people will respond accordingly, they will become dependent. They will come to feel that the reward for their work must come from others. When they experience freedom energy will be liberated and they will not need the reward from others, the reward will be in doing it and they will be independent.
If there is an infinite game life must be it, the only certainty is that I was born, am writing this and will die. For the rest nothing is certain! Though when you look around some seem to think otherwise, for example, in many meetings we see the finite player in action. He will want to score on debating points. Afterwards others will shrug their shoulders and things will continue as normal. Ego-tripping seems very much the line of the finite game. Innovative thinking is what is required if we want to evolve and develop. Creative techniques aim at changing rules and looking what will happen. This should be done with like-minded players so that 'win-win situations are created. When the infinite game is played well and creatively there are no losers.
jesters, fools and other senses
"What, art mad? A man may see how this world goes, with no eyes!
Look with thine ears: ......
The fool of King Lear
Every king with any self-respect used to have a court jester, some one to play the fool. We may ask ourselves why. In King Lear Shakespeare paints the bitter chronicle of a man's dark journey from ignorance to understanding. It is the fool who seems to foresee the impending disaster. Lear has to become blind in order to see.
In ancient times fools were used to make kings see the other side to a particular issue. The better they were able to do this, by using their wit and humor, the more they were appreciated. Probably one of the most difficult roles to play, as most people like to be told that they are right. Satirists nowadays often play the old jester's role, though who is listening? There is certainly a part to be played in the creative thinking process for the fool, albeit not an easy one (cf. roles & ...) .
It requires courage and confidence to dare express what one really sees. Too many people tend to advise the expected. A phenomenon also called 'group-think'. Group-think occurs when too high a price is placed on the harmony and morale of a group. 'Concurrence-seeking' drives out the realistic appraisal of alternatives. No conflict is allowed to spoil the group-feeling and group members become insensitive to the risks in the strategy most favoured.
In old age King Lear decided to retire and divide his kingdom between his three daughters, giving the best portion to the one who loves him most. Goneril and Regan declare great love, but Cordelia, his favourite, simply says that she loves him as a daughter should. Enraged, Lear banishes her. He turns a deaf ear to his fool's advice and pays dearly.
More recent examples of group-think are the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Falklands war, the Gulf war. Afterwards it was realized what and why things happened the way they did, beforehand a deaf ear was turned to critics or 'fools'.
They are complete strangers to imagination, fancy and invention,
nor do they have any words in their language by which those ideas can be expressed. 'The whole compass of their thoughts and mind,
being shut up within the two forementioned sciences'.
The specialist is a person who devotes himself to a special occupation or branch of learning. It is an individual who has very deeply studied a particular field and a good specialist knows all about the 'particular' field. The more expert he becomes the more he will get to know about less. The superspecialist therefore knows 'everything about nothing'.
Surgeons must be very careful
When they take the knife!
Underneath their fine incisions
Stirs the Culprit, - Life!
The poem by Emily Dickinson is exactly about this aspect of specialism. She is afraid that the surgeon 'a specialist' will be so absorbed by the 'particulars' that he runs the danger of forgetting that we need their help because we live. Similarly specialists may be so absorbed by certain 'particulars' that they entirely forget the environment. They may also have become so good that they become somewhat arrogant, assuming they know as much about other fields.
It does no harm to remind yourself that by solving particular problems in a field you know well, you may be creating bigger ones around it. Sub-optimization means that a particular part of an operation runs so well that it has little or no connection with the connecting parts. The perfect operation itself may thus become the problem. It is like constructing a perfect piece of motorway in the middle of a housing estate. The traffic experts are so involved with the motorway that they forget about the part before and after it: the bottlenecks have thus been created. So 'free-floating' like Laputa may have its advantages with regard to overview as long as one is aware of the dangers of specialism.
recipitur modo recipientis"
Everyhting is received in the eyes of the receiver.
To demonstrate the principle of the blind spot I would like to begin with the following experiment: close the left eye and look intently at the cross; hold the page at about forty centimeters ......
When the paper is moved gradually the black circle will disappear suddenly: discontinuous change. When I move I become aware of the change i.e. like Gulliver the creative person will want to move so as to become aware of change. In fact there is no change, but the different perspective causes the change. However if I don't move I will not be aware of the difference. By moving out of a particular field (or system) I can see the possibilities for
Creativity = changing others by changing yourself
The generally accepted explanation for this phenomenon is that the black spot is in that area of the retina when the eye nerve enters, and therefore insensitive to light. However, seldom attention is given to the question that we are continually walking around with a 'hole' in our perception. Our visual experience is a continuous one; we do not observe the ever present discontinuity. As Maturana observes: 'This experiment is so fascinating because it shows that we do not see what we don't see.'
The theory of 'structural determinism' therefore holds that 'instructive interaction' is an impossibility. You -the reader- determine the fate of this book and the information it holds.Structural determinism maintains that all living systems behave according to their structure (Maturana and Varela,1987). This implies that when a system or one of its aspect interacts with its environment, its structure or pattern will determine its reaction.
An example of such a closed system is the compact disc player. The information is digitally recorded on the disc and the sound is reproduced by reading this information. If a particular piece of information has been damaged, the player will check before and after and then produce a sound most likely to have occurred. The gramophone record produced all sounds, scratches. The CD corrects on basis of its own structure; its preprogrammed pattern.
This may show how very difficult it will be for me to obtain an 'objective' picture of the world around me. Objectivity is a variable thing. We construct our own world and reality. Yet there is no such thing as an absolutely correct picture of reality. As Watzlawick says: "reality is invented by us" Any viewpoint on which we agree as being the correct one (objectivity) is the result of consensus. It is hard if not impossible to convince someone, if he does not want to be convinced. What can be changed, however, is the field of perception. By moving, blind spots will be filled in. This is where creativity plays a major role; the creativity to find ways and manners to make people aware so that they want to change their position (see also flexible thinking)and thus can see for themselves.
'And what is good, Phaedrus,
And what is not good -
Should we ask others?'
Mind storming is a technique to call upon unknown sources of knowledge. Knowledge hidden in the unconscious. 'Unconscious' is a relative concept. When someone tells me about an event I cannot recall, I am unconscious of it. If he then presents information which makes it possible for me to recall the event, I have made it 'conscious'.
Mind storming is a technique to recall knowledge which is temporarily unknown. The technique is very simple and requires 'no more' than discipline to keep a promise made to yourself. This promise is to formulate twenty (20!) answers to one question. The question formulated should be unambiguous and clear. Twenty answers (!?) because you want to activate your unconscious. The first five will be simple to find, they are the obvious ones, you don't have to think for them. The next five will be less easy but not difficult. Ten to fifteen will be difficult and less obvious. The last five will be really difficult, however, you have to keep a promise. The last answers will be the most interesting since they come from deep down. By setting yourself a clear goal of twenty answers, no more no less, you will have created time. We always allow ourselves the time to do something if we have planned it. You are also making effective use of your resources: 'full resource management'.
creativity = when moving opportunities will present themselves
enlist your hidden powers,
you will be amazed.....
creativity = amazing yourself at least once a day
round table quality drive
"When I started the table, it was to stop anarchy.
It was a channel for brute force,
so that the people who had to use force could be made to do it in a useful way.
But the whole thing was a mistake....
It was a mistake because the Table itself was founded on force.
Right must be established by right;
it can't be established by Force Majeure..."
T.H. White in The Once and Future King
When the son of Uther Pendragon, became king of Britain his counsellor, the wizard Merlin, advised him to create a common goal for the undisciplined knights. At the time the country was torn by strife and instead of helping the poor people, the knights went round plundering and killing. Arthur then instituted the Knights of the Round Table: the first quality circle in history. All knights went in search of the holy grail. This grail, according to legend, had been brought to the shores of Britain by Jozef of Armithea and contained the blood of the Jesus. So instead of going around aimlessly the knights now went away with a goal. And they all returned to the round table to tell of their exploits, and while they were in search of this ideal, they became better men. The Grail was a symbol of Arthur's 'quality drive'. Quality is not created by talking about it and you don't find it by searching outside of you but it is inside each of us. We change our worlds by changing ourselves. It is the 'better self' that has to be cultivated. The difficulty is that like quality, creativity cannot be approached direct. It is only approached indirect. The knights became nobles because they served a noble cause and gave their attention to the everyday problems. In creativity it works much the same. It does not help to decide that "now I am going to be creative..." it is part of the everyday way.
creativity h The everyday mind is the way
In starting a 'creativity drive' it is important to pay attention to small details and the environment. To create an environment that allows creativity and clearly assigns roles to the people involved. But most of all it means looking for ways to become more creative yourself.
sources of creativity
Many of us find our heart only after losing our head
Humour, the ability and willingness to laugh about silly things is an important source. Just think where you have learned most, in classes with a grim atmosphere and strict teachers or classes with a relaxed atmosphere and teachers with sense of humor.
Fantasy, Get back the fantasy and imagination from childhood. The best realities have been started as silly fantasies. The imagination is as big as you have explored it, and behind the horizon there is more. A universe full of pictures and dreams.
Dare to go crazy. Besides our serious grown-up side there is a crazy side. It does not mean that you have lost all control of yourself, it just helps to regard situations in a relaxed manner. And when somebody or some idea is labelled as crazy, check carefully what kind of craziness you are dealing with.
Activate your sense of Wonder. Marvelling about things is a spontaneous reaction to something new. Quite often we do not see the new and original in a 'familiar' situation, because we do not really look. Perhaps the most precious gift children have is their sense of wonder about the seemingly everyday, normal things, like the strength of the fragile spider's web. When we were children everything was once new, and probably there is still so much new, if we just care to look.
Accept failure and do not be afraid to make mistakes. Instead find ways to use mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Townsend, once the successful CEO of Avis said that of every three decisions 2 were wrong on an average. Yet thanks to the openness with which things were discussed, the mistakes did not have to be made.
Accept people and situations they way they are. Creativity means accepting reality and then trying to change things for the better. Things that irritate us we may want to change and if it does not work we try to ignore them. Ignoring them does not make them go away. Accepting them and using them to improve myself is where creativeness can do marvels.
Use trust as the basis of your dealings with others. Consider your reactions when you meet a stranger. Distance calls force resistance. In team work trust in each other is necessary to dare to be creative. People with new ideas are very vulnerable. When you have trust in yourself, you will also dare to trust others.
Visit a patent office, you will be amazed by the number of ideas just waiting to be tried.
Ask questions. When something is not clear or you do not agree with it ask Why, what, when, where, who or how. Questioning people is a free way of getting new ideas. Questions create openness and tell me how others think. People who have all the answers do not help me much.