Creativity And Consciousness

black holeCreativity and Consciousness

Adams, W.A. (July, 2014). Creativity and Consciousness. RoSE – Research on Steiner Education Vol.5 No.1 2014. ISSN 1891-6511 (online at http://www.rosejourn.com/index.php/rose/article/view/187/198).

In this article, I proposed that creativity is a natural phenomenon, part of the very structure and function of consciousness. It’s not a skill that’s learned, not a genetic talent, but part of the definition of consciousness.

In order to make that argument, I provided an analysis of the smallest unit of consciousness, the quantum of consciousness, so to speak. I drew that analysis from my 2012 book, Scientific Introspection: A Method For Investigating the Mind (see http://billadamsphd.net/) .

I described the tiniest, irreducible atom of consciousness as a repeating cycle. Imagine two circles,  a few inches apart. One is subjectivity, which contains our sense of self. The other is objectivity, a thing with no sense of self. The action is that subjectivity wants to “eat” objectivity, converting it into itself, a thing with a sense of self. When subjectivity does that, it is satisfied, for a moment at least. Then the cycle repeats. That is the smallest possible unit of consciousness.

Subjectivity reaches beyond itself, always searching for objectivity it can consume. That is what drives subjectivity, basically a kind of curiosity, a desire to know the other, to consume that which is alien. That is what makes it go. That drive is what makes us go. At bottom then, consciousness is creatively curious, motivated to enlarge itself by knowing whatever is alien.

The editors of the journal liked this idea, but said, basically, “How do you know all this stuff?”  So I had to write a section on methodology, explaining how I came to discover that creativity is at the foundation of consciousness. The short answer is, introspection.  I explain that introspection is a kind of empiricism, not incompatible with scientific empiricism. Scientific introspection, as I envision it, involves meditation for examination of the structure of consciousness. I extracted that material also from my book, Scientific Introspection.

The whole article is extremely compressed, jamming decades worth of research and a book full of writing into a few thousand words. Writing it was a difficult exercise in deciding what to say and what to leave out. I think the result is very dense, what the journal editor kindly described as “concise.” Somebody might read it. Somebody might understand it.

Writing this article was an exercise I’d like to take much farther: to translate my most theoretical and philosophical works, which are virtually impenetrable, into highly accessible creative nonfiction. I don’t think this article was successful in that regard, but showed me how far I have to go.


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